So I’m still on this music kick I started last Tuesday, and this time I’m doing the list I originally had in mind. This was a tough one to keep to 10, so there will no doubt be a Part 2. There are also a few artists I purposely kept off the list. For example, The Cramps, The Decemberists, and all have enough horror-y songs to warrant lists of their own. Here then are my Top 10 Terror Tunes. Cuz alliteration.
#10 Iron Man (Black Sabbath, 1970)
Ah the Ozzy era of Black Sabbath. Need I say more?
#9 The Court Of The Crimson King (King Crimson, 1969)
This song isn’t particularly horror-y, but it’s got some eerieness to it. Plus there’s this:
The yellow jester does not play
but gently pulls the strings
and smiles as the puppets dance
in the court of The Crimson King.
That just gives me King In Yellow/Carcosa vibes (not to mention I’m watching S1 of True Detective).
#8 Spookshow Baby (Rob Zombie, 1998)
It was tough to decide between this, “Foxy Foxy,” and “Sick Bubblegum.”” Sick Bubblegum” was close (and the Skrillex remix ain’t terrible neither), but this one edged it out ever so slightly in that it’s a more directly horrorish.
#7 The Colonial Wing (10,000 Maniacs, 1985)
10,000 Maniacs is one of my all time favorite bands, and Natalie Merchant’s voice, mwah. This song in particular always reminds me of a some specific areas of The Carnegie and Smithsonian museums. If you’ve been through either, you’ll understand once you give this a listen.
#6 The Quiet Room (Alice Cooper, 1978)
As songs about suicidal ideation go, this one is surprisingly empathetic/sympathetic and, weirdly, kinda touching.
#5 The Number Of The Beast (Iron Maiden, 1982)
I mentioned these guys last week. It’s my second favorite song from my favorite Iron Maiden album. The first is “Run To The Hills” which, while horrific in subject matter, doesn’t tick enough creepy boxes for this list.
#4 Strychnine (various)
I’m familiar with 4 versions of this song. In reverse chronological order, The Fall (1993), The Fuzztones (1984), The Cramps (1980), and The Sonics (1965). The Fall is, eh, okay. I love Deb O’Nair on organ for The Fuzztones. I also love Lux Interior’s vocals for The Cramps. But hands down The Sonics’ original is still the best.
#3 I Put A Spell On You (Screamin’ Jay Hawkins, 1956)
Way back before there was Marilyn Manson, King Diamond, and Alice Cooper, Screamin’ Jay Hawkins was gettin’ brought to the stage in a coffin. Swoon. I dig this song so much! There’s also a little known Creedence Clearwater Revival cover from 1968, and the 2014 Annie Lennox version is damn fine.
#2 Timothy (The Buoys, 1970)
Ya gotta love a one-hit wonder, especially if it involves cannibalism. Man this song freaks me the fuck out! It’s a charming, catchy little ditty about 3 guys trapped in a mine cave-in. When they get rescued, only two guys are left. The “narrator” blacked out and can’t remember what happened. The violin chords significantly ramp up the creepy factor. I actually won’t listen to this song again.
Comfortably Numb, One Of These Days- Pink Floyd
Eldorado, Fire On High- Electric Light Orchestra (this was some of the stuff Gary Greenwald played backwards on his dumbass show The Eagle’s Nest so’s he could “reveal” them thar Satanic message what were carved into the vinyl)
Fire- The Crazy World Of Arthur Brown (not so much for the song as for Brown himself. And that horn secton though)
Hotel California, Witchy Woman- The Eagles (though it’s tough to hear an Eagles tune anymore and not think about A- “The Blue Jean Committee” from S1 of Documentary Now and B- Dude saying “Man, c;mon. I had a rough night, and I hate the fuckin’ Eagles, man.”)
#1 Country Death Song (Violent Femmes, 1984)
As is often the case, it’s a tough decision between #2 and #1. This one wins because I enjoy it. I don’t enjoy “Timothy.” There’s a number of bizarro Violent Femmes tunes like “Gimme The Car,” “Never Tell,” and “To The Kill,” but this one towers above the others. It’s the delightfully folksy tale of a poor guy with a wife and daughters. One night he takes the youngest to a cave, pushes her into a bottomless pit, then goes home and hangs himself. It might should bother me that I love this song, but whatcha gone do?
And with that, the flood gates are open! Let your favorite creepy tunes pour into The Comments.