The genre of paranormal songs is an interesting one. You just never know which band or artist is suddenly going to throw one into the mix. Paranormal songs don’t really fit any particular music type, so you will find you don’t have to be a Goth or into thrash metal to enjoy them. Here’s my pick of paranormal songs.
1. Thriller – Michael Jackson
If anyone were to take a guess at which would be the first on my list of paranormal songs, it would surely be this one. Thriller literally did thrill the world, taking us by storm with the wonderful song and amazing video.
2. Don’t Fear the Reaper – Blue Oyster Cult
Not only a slamming rock track, but this one is surely an automatic shoe-in for any list of paranormal songs. Despite the dark imagery which references the Grim Reaper and Romeo and Juliet, it is actually a message of peace. And, it’s surprisingly catchy too!
3. Subterranean Homesick Alien – Radiohead
Radiohead have always been a little bit off the wall and rather kooky. True to that style, and with an homage to a Dylan classic, this spacey jam sees Thom Yorke dreamily wishing to be captured by aliens and taken aboard their spaceship.
4. Little Ghost – the White Stripes
On the aptly named 5th album from Jack and Meg White – Get Behind Me Satan – Little Ghost is a charming ditty about someone falling in love with a ghost and wondering how old the ghost is. A bit of a departure from the usual White Stripes stuff, this one even features a mandolin.
5. Ghost Riders (in the Sky) – Johnny Cash
One of the oldest songs with a paranormal theme, this one is actually about demonic cowboys telling the protagonist cowboy he better mend his ways or else. Imagine the four horsemen of the apocalypse with Stetsons and spurs if you will.
6. Monster Mash – Boris Pickett and the Crypt-Kickers
No-one said that paranormal songs have to be dark and scary. Monster Mash is a really fun song and is actually a spoof on the various dance crazes that were popular at the time it was written (1962). It became a number 1 hit in the UK in 1973, 11 years after its first release. Its success also inspired Bobby “Boris” Pickett to write a whole album of monster-themed songs.
7. This House is Haunted – Alice Cooper
The man of all things weird and wonderful brings us a ghostly tale of woe that will definitely appeal to all lovers of the paranormal. If you’re a rock chick, you’re going to love the electroplasmic blast of guitar towards the end.
8. Hotel California – the Eagles
Surely one of the most famous songs about ghosts ever. With a tune as spectral as the story of a hotel haunted by spooky souls, this song may well give you goose pimples the first time you hear it. You can check out… but you can never leave.
9. Devil Went down to Georgia – Charlie Daniels Band
Combining the tradition of blue grass storytelling and a haunting yet upbeat violin, this song is a variation on the theme of a Deal with the Devil. Johnny faces that ultimate question and I won’t give away the story. You’ll have to listen to it to find out if the Devil gets Johnny’s soul.
10. Witchcraft – Frank Sinatra
Another of the oldie but goody paranormal songs. Ole blue Eyes is at his most bewitching in Witchcraft – a song that earned him a nomination for record of the year in the first ever Grammy Awards in 1959 (he lost out to Volare.)
11. Ghostbusters – Ray Parker Junior
Ok, so it’s a bit cheesy, but Ghostbusters has become a bit of a classic and like it or not, you can usually find yourself joining in when you hear it. It would hard to say which has more enduring appeal – the movie for which the song was the theme tune, or the song itself. Who you gonna call?
12. Ghost Town – the Specials
Way back in 1981 in strife-ridden-Thatcherite Britain, The Specials were a Ska band who enjoyed great UK chart success. Despite the title, this isn’t one of the paranormal songs about weird and spooky happenings, but a political statement summing up the mood of the times. It makes this list though because the doom-laden lyrics and deliciously spooky synth sounds makes it perfect for a ghostly theme.
There are some very odd ditties that I would have loved to include but I think I may have been pushing the theme of paranormal songs a bit far – but there really are some great ones out there. How about Ding Doing – The Witch is Dead from the Wizard of OZ? Tee hee. What are your favorite songs with a paranormal theme?