by Julian Spivey
As we welcome October with its cool breezes, and - now socially distanced - festivities, we often think of scary movies, pumpkin patches and killers in masks. Rarely, if ever, do you hear anyone say what they’re looking forward to most about the season, is the music. Granted, Halloween music has nowhere near the mega-market that Christmas music has, but it seems that quality trumps quantity in this particular situation. With songs like Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” and Stevie Wonder’s “Superstition” Halloween season is a heavy hitter when it comes to music!
That’s why we’re celebrating 31 Days of Halloween Hits here at The Word for the entire month of October. Every day we’re going to bring you a great song that fits right in on your Halloween playlist. Some are songs specifically written for the holiday, but others are great selections you can listen to year-around but have a great theme for the spookiest of all holidays. Some of these songs you’ve certainly heard and some are lesser known that we hope to familiarize you with.
OK, so it seems many of my favorite Halloween playlist songs revolve around psychopathic killers … so, of course, “Psycho Killer” by Talking Heads is going to make the cut. It has to, right!?
Led by frontman David Byrne’s unique vocals that really give “Psycho Killer” an unnerving feel, the song, off the band’s 1977 debut album Talking Heads: 77, was their third single but really the song that put them on the map and helped usher in New Wave music.
“Psycho Killer” is the inner-thoughts of a serial killer as he’s telling possible victims they better “run, run, run, run away” in a gleeful manner. The song was originally written and performed as a ballad, but the decision to turn it into this funky, New Wave sound with one of music’s all-time greatest basslines by Tina Weymouth really transformed it into one of the most influential tracks in pop music history, as the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame included it (and two other Talking Heads) songs on their list of the “500 Songs That Shaped Rock and Roll.”