This week, HERC cleared all the other music from his iPhone and loaded it with nothing but Halloween mood music: movie and TV soundtracks, scary songs, atmospheric songs, other people's playlists, remixes, mash-ups, and tons of unheard stuff he's been saving all year for the month of October.

The next four Saturdays will be special Halloween-themed Saturday Shuffles and special holiday rules apply: The goal is to listen to up to 13 songs in a row (instead of the normal five) and rate each song with one of two Halloween themed ratings: Shuffle Survivor or Shuffle Victim.  "Survivor" means shuffle will continue (up to 13 song max) whereas "Victim" will stop shuffle dead in its tracks.  Basically, it's a pass/fail system.  Half of the 666 songs HERC loaded are new to him so the odds are good that there will be Victims.

Is everybody ready?  Here we gooooooooooooo!

"Ghost Town" [Extended Version] - The Specials
12" EP [1981]
Spooky!  This one has been on pretty much every Halloween mixtape and disc HERC has ever made and it is a good a song as any to kick off the Halloween Shuffle. If anything bad can be said about this song, it's that it is heard everywhere during Halloween season.  And most people don't realize it's social commentary, just like The Clash's "London Calling".  

"Dear Prudence" - Siouxsie And The Banshees
Hyæna [1983]
Originally a non-album single that was later grafted onto Hyæna album.  Beatles covers can be hit or miss and this one hits.  HERC might have missed it as potential Halloween song had it not been on someone else's playlist.  

"Bad Things" - Jace Everett
Jace Everett [2005]
This Chris Isaak sound-alike was tapped to be theme song for HBO's True Blood, a favorite show of Mrs. HERC's although HERC himself does not partake of it.  Many of the songs played over the ending credits of the show qualify as Halloween music.
HERC doesn't have to watch the show to hear the music; same rule applies to Sons Of AnarchyGlee and Nashville.

Hellbilly Deluxe [1998]
HERC came to this song when it was heard on The Matrix soundtrack.  HERC's aversion to zombies (they are not scary, they're lame!) makes an exception for the music of Rob Zombie. His films, however, are banned from The Hideaway. 

Duets [2002]
This version of the Wizard Of Oz song is new to HERC's ears.  Turns out the song's composer, Harold Arlen, recorded it with Babs for his 1966 album Harold Sings Arlen (With A Friend). Streisand in a Halloween mix?  Definitely a treat.

"Ashes To Ashes" - David Bowie
Scary Monsters (And Super Creeps) [1980]
From an album that fits the Halloween mood nicely with an appropriate title as well.  Scary clown image on cover of single? Check.  In HERC's Hall of Scary Things, an entire wing is devoted to clowns.  Just to review:  Zombies? Laughably unscary.  Clowns? Super scary.

Green River [1969]
The second scariest movie HERC has ever seen - and one he watches every Halloween - is 1981's An American Werewolf in London.  The film's wonderful moon-themed soundtrack includes this song which used to be just a country-tinged sing-a-long in HERC's head but is now a harbinger of doom.  Same goes for the jazzy "Moondance".

"Flyin' Saucers Rock & Roll" - Robert Gordon
Robert Gordon With Link Wray [1976]
Hyped as the next Elvis, Gordon released this cover of the 1957 rockabilly novelty hit on Private Stock Records, home to several mid Seventies hits.  According to legend, the label's owner failed to pay his storage bill and all the label's master tapes were lost when they were auctioned off.  As a result, every single Private Stock CD is mastered from vinyl.  Weird.  This song is not as good as the original but it's still a SHUFFLE SURVIVOR.

"Happy Halloween" - The Blanks
[riding the wave] [2004]
Another new one to HERC's ears.  It's a capella with a twist.  He didn't make the connection until after he looked it up but HERC knows The Blanks - they're Ted's a capella group from Scrubs. Bonus points for including versions of "Speed Racer", "Underdog" and "Six Million Dollar Man" theme songs on the album.  The latter is definitely going on the Halloween playlist.

Smells Like Children [1995]
Another cover version.  Taken in a whole new direction by Manson.  The song's music video was recently voted scariest music video of all time by Billboard and HERC will never watch it. Just like Titanic or Avatar.  He doesn't even listen to Manson's music outside of Halloween.

I Put A Spell On You [1965]
Simone's cover of the Screamin' Jay Hawkins Halloween classic slows it down to a jazzy shuffle and then uses her voice to add a quiet menace rather than the over-the-top, out-of-his-head possessed performance Hawkins delivers.  Very effective and perfectly paired with the already mentioned "Moondance".

They're Coming To Take Me Away, Ha-Haaa! [1966]
HERC fell in love with this song upon it's 1973 release and later inclusion on the K-Tel album Looney Tunes. The original single's B-side was the song played backwards and even the label was printed in reverse except for the Warner Bros. Records border.  Insanity would make a good theme for a Halloween playlist.

"(Ghost) Riders In The Sky" - Johnny Cash
Silver [1979]
Woo-hoo! Made it to lucky number 13 and thus the end of our shuffle for today.  Yet another cover version - that makes 6 out of 13 - but this one is pwned by Cash.  Many people even think it is his song originally but that distinction belongs to Burl Ives, who first recorded it thirty years prior.


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