October 31, 2019 by Don Russo
There’s one time a year when it’s okay for anyone to be creepy–in fact, it’s encouraged! Not only does Halloween bring out the spookiness in your friends and family, but some of your favorite artists also indulge as well. While these songs might not fly in June, there’s something about these songs that chill your bones just like the October air. Or they’re just dang fun. Regardless, when it comes to Halloween music, no era comes close to the contributions of the 80’s. Not convinced? Check out our list of the five best moments in 80’s spooky music history!
“Somebody’s Watching Me by Rockwell”
This paranoid anthem was released in 1984 when the dancey-pop sound of Michael Jackson was all the rage. One would be forgiven for thinking this song belongs to the King of Pop–the chorus features a cameo vocal from the man himself. However, what this song will forever be remembered for is the creepy subject matter, and the delightfully haunted music video, which features floating heads, ravens, graveyards, and even zombie mailmen.
“Thriller” by Michael Jackson
Speaking of the King of Pop, any list of scary songs would be incomplete without this creepy-crawly classic. Released two years earlier, this song and video absolutely set the tone for the 80’s Halloween treatment. Featuring zombies, werewolves, and ghouls, the Thriller music video had a massive cultural impact. In fact, it was the first music video inducted into the National Film Registry. If that wasn’t enough, the end of the song features a spoken-word piece from legendary horror actor Vincent Price!
“Halloween Theme” by John Carpenter
The opening track on the official film soundtrack for the legendary slasher film, Halloween, this song is instantly recognizable for many folks who lived through the 80’s, and may even make their hair stand up on end! The creepy synth composition was created by the composer and director John Carpenter. There is something to be said for a horror film director getting the opportunity to make their own score. In this case, the song was a hit, capturing the creepy essence of Michael Myers and his iconic slow stalk.
“Ghostbusters Theme” by Ray Parker Jr.
Further proving our point that this era was the time for great Halloween tunes, this mega-hit theme song accompanied the biggest mainstream celebration of ghostliness in history–Ghostbusters. With its wild saw-wave synth riffs and organ, it’s like a funkified Phantom of the Opera tune. Incredibly fun and unmistakably 80’s, this song succinctly defines the role of your local neighborhood Ghostbusters. After all, who else could you call?
“Psycho Killer” by The Talking Heads
Rounding out our list is the creepiest and crawling of all–Psycho Killer. With a bass line that thumps, you can almost hear the footsteps of a stalker, or perhaps that’s your heartbeat? Either way, David Byrne’s unforgettable croon, (“Ay-yay-yay-yay-yay!”), left its mark on music history, as well as cementing the Talking Heads’ place in creepy music canon forever.