6 Enduring Halloween Songs Not Played On Mainstream Radio

Here are six (6) enduring Halloween songs not played on mainstream radio. One has a surprise ending. Do you know which one?
Six (6) Enduring Halloween Songs Not Played on Mainstream Radio. "Trick or Treat, Trick or Treat; the Bitter and the Sweet." ~Siouxsie and the Banshees

Earlier this month I mentioned I might create a Halloween decoration scene using a skeleton and some other odds-and-ends. Well, I didn’t take the time to find the accessories at a thrift shop. However, at least I did set some decorations outside – the corn stalks, pumpkins (unadultered), and squash – even though it looks more like a Thanksgiving holiday decoration scene.

Overview

So, I thought I’d add a little more to the Halloween (Hallowe’en or “Saints’ evening”) spirit1There’s a connection with All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day. by providing six (6) Halloween songs for one’s party playlist and that are generally not played on mainstream radio.

In selecting these six songs, I also considered the videos that complement the songs – and this factor doesn’t come into play2Pun intended. for just radio. Also, note, the videos I link to in the sub-headings below incorporate animation, tributes, and such that are worth watching.

Lastly, at least one of the six songs has a surprise ending. Do you know which song it is?

Six Halloween Songs

No. 6 – “Bela Lugosi’s Dead” by Bauhaus

Released in 1979, the song refers to the Hungarian-American actor Bela Lugosi, who established the modern vampire image and is famous for his role as Count Dracula in the 1931 Hollywood adaptation of Irish author Bram Stoker‘s 1897 gothic horror novel Dracula. Lugosi died in 1956.

The video is a tribute to the movie and will probably compel a few people to watch the original movie on a dark, chilly, rainy evening. It does mix vocal lines from the movie with the song (for the purists out there).

No. 5 – “Turkish Song of the Damned” by The Pogues

Released on the band’s 1987 album, If I Should Fall From Grace With God, the song was inspired by a song by English punk band The Damned that had something about Turkey in it. The lyrics of the song express the idea of coming home to an old friend from hell.3 Per a commenter to the video, “One observation, when the song drastically changes at the end, that is a traditional Irish tune called ‘The Lark in the Morning.’ It has been theorized that MacGowan [singer/songwriter] placed it at the end of this song to signify that the sun has risen and maybe, just maybe, the haunted sailor was able to fend off his dead shipmates until daybreak.”

The video includes an animation by Roel Seidell, “an illustrator from the Netherlands and a long-time Pogues fan, [who] made a graphic adaptation of [the song].”

No. 4 – “Every Day is Halloween” by Ministry

Released in 1984, the song has been described by some as having been adopted as the anthem of America’s disenfranchised Gothic community. This refers to how “goths” would tend to dress a bit differently (mostly wearing all black).

The video is somewhat of a creepy shorts of cartoons set to the music. Also, note, this is a dance tune.4I point this out because, in the past, I’ve been accused of not playing enough dance music at fun gatherings and parties (when I’m actually permitted to man the playlist or DJ booth).

No. 3 – “Dead Souls” by Joy Division

Released in 1979 as a B-side to the band’s single “Atmosphere,” some suggest this song puts forth that the “souls” of people who died centuries ago are calling out to the writer [Ian Curtis, singer and lyricist] here and now. Another point of view is that Curtis named the song after the 1842 novel of the same name by Russian author Nikolai Gogol.

The video is a tribute to the song and Polish artist Zdzisław Beksiński. If you visit the video, read the few blurbs the video creator, Rayanne, wrote about the similarities and darknesses of Curtis and Beksiński.

No. 2 – “Halloween” by Siouxsie and the Banshees

Released in 1981, the song has different meanings to different people.

The night is still
And the frost, it bites my face
I wear my silence like a mask
And murmur like a ghost
"Trick or treat"
"Trick or treat"
The bitter and the sweet

Here’s one interpretation found in the comments section of SongMeanings:

My source for that [the lyrics] is something that happened to me when I was very young, understanding reality for the first time, if that doesn’t sound too… (pause) I suddenly realised when I was about six that I was a separate person. Suddenly I knew I was around instead of just being a part of things. And once that happens you realise that you’ve lost something like an innocence.

Steven Severin (bassist/lyricist), Sounds, 07/03/81

The video incorporates clips/stills from various horror movies; most of them I don’t recognize.

No. 1 – “Subway Song” by The Cure

Released in 1979 on the band’s debut album, Three Imaginary Boys, the song’s inspiration is as follows from SongFacts:

According to Christian Gerard, author of The Cure FAQ, this eerie track from the band’s debut album was inspired by a subway underpass in drummer Lol Tolhurst’s hometown of Horley, England. Through hushed vocals, lead singer Robert Smith tells the story of a young woman and the danger that lurks behind her on a late-night journey home.

The video is a work-in-progress and is worth watching and listening to in its entirety.

“Subway Song” Video

“Subway Song” by The Cure – Animated

According to the artist, Jim Sweet, he began making the video in 2007 by “using a pencil – paper – a scanner – paint shop pro – Flash 5.” He last updated the unfinished work, apparently, in 2020.

Closing Words

What do you think of when you listen to these songs or watch the complementary videos? What are your favorite, perhaps alternative or underplayed, Halloween songs?

Footnotes

  • 1
    There’s a connection with All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day.
  • 2
    Pun intended.
  • 3
    Per a commenter to the video, “One observation, when the song drastically changes at the end, that is a traditional Irish tune called ‘The Lark in the Morning.’ It has been theorized that MacGowan [singer/songwriter] placed it at the end of this song to signify that the sun has risen and maybe, just maybe, the haunted sailor was able to fend off his dead shipmates until daybreak.”
  • 4
    I point this out because, in the past, I’ve been accused of not playing enough dance music at fun gatherings and parties (when I’m actually permitted to man the playlist or DJ booth).

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