We’ve reported on several Christmas reissues being released in the lead-up the yuletide season. And when it comes to holidays throughout the year, Christmas certainly reigns supreme in terms of the quantity of music devoted to it. However, some other holidays and occasions throughout the year have music devoted to them. One of the more popular ones is Halloween which is coming up this weekend. To provide a soundtrack to your Halloween parties or trick-or-treating, Legacy Recordings, in association with Universal, has recently released Now That’s What I Call Halloween!
This 18-track compilation is the first in the long-running Now! series to feature the music of Halloween. The Now! line started in the U.K. back in 1983 and came to the U.S. in 1998. The main line of the U.S. series, which collects together current Top 40 hits, is set to release its 56th volume this Friday. The brand has been extended in the U.S. and U.K. by having entries devoted to Christmas music, ’80s music, country, Disney classics, and several other categories. (Also out on Friday is a volume dedicated to songs from Disney princesses. Other recent editions focus on ’80s New Wave songs and country Christmas tunes.)
The Halloween entry is a fairly eclectic affair featuring songs from the 1960s up through the 2000s and spanning several genres of music. You’ve got pop from the 1960s like Bobby “Boris” Pickett’s Halloween classic “Monster Mash” and Donovan’s hit “Season of the Witch.” There is even some vocal jazz represented with Nina Simone’s 1965 take on Jay Hawkins’ “I Put A Spell on You.” (The compilation does feature some songs which seem to be more in the Halloween spirit than strictly about things associated with Halloween or the horror genre.)
Classic rock from the 1970s shows up, too, with Blue Oyster Cult’s “(Don’t Fear) The Reaper” and Warren Zevon’s “Werewolves of London.” Moving into 1980s pop/rock, the Now! album has “Devil Inside” from INXS, the Specials’ “Ghost Town,” Rockwell’s “Somebody’s Watching Me” and “Dead Man’s Party” from Oingo Boingo. As things get into the 1990s, two songs come from the relative opposite ends of the musical spectrum. “O Fortuna” is a 13th century poem set to music in the 1930s and is heard here in its 1994 recording by Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra and Chorus. Then, the CD has the hard-rock “Dragula” from Rob Zombie in 1998.
Film scores are also represented by John Carpenter’s “Halloween Theme” from his 1978 slasher film, Mike Oldfield’s “Tubular Bells” featured in the seminal film The Exorcist and a cue from Danny Elman’s score to the 1988 Tim Burton comedy Beetlejuice. The Burton/Elfman connection is represented again by “This is Halloween” from their animated The Nightmare Before Christmas. Tying into the movie theme, Run-D.M.C. is featured with “Ghostbusters” and from DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince have their humorous take on the Nightmare on Elm Street films “Nightmare on My Street.” Soundtracks from television aren’t left out either with Jace Everett’s “Bad Things” which was the theme to the HBO show True Blood and is the most recent selection on the compilation.
As with any collection of this nature, there are of course favorite Halloween songs which aren’t featured. But the selection here is diverse and strong enough to provide an interesting soundtrack to your festivities. If you’d like to some music to help you celebrate Halloween this weekend, you can click the Amazon link below and we’ve got the full tracklisting!
- Halloween Theme – John Carpenter
- Dragula – Rob Zombie
- O Fortuna – Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra and Chorus
- Tubular Bells (Theme from The Exorcist) – Mike Oldfield
- (Don’t Fear) The Reaper – Blue Oyster Cult
- Devil Inside – INXS
- Bad Things (Theme from True Blood) – Jace Everett
- Werewolves of London – Warren Zevon
- Ghost Town – The Specials
- Dead Man’s Party – Oingo Boingo
- Monster Mash – Bobby “Boris” Pickett and the Crypt-Kickers
- This is Halloween – The Citizen of Halloween
- Season of the Witch – Donovan
- I Put A Spell on You – Nina Simone
- Beetlejuice: Main Title/End Title – Danny Elfman
- Ghostbusters – Run-D.M.C.
- A Nightmare on My Street – DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince
- Somebody’s Watching Me – Rockwell