This is Halloween
I love the film The Nightmare Before Christmas. I always looked forward to the Halloween show of my old college radio show, because it was the only time of year I could get away with playing the soundtrack. That’s why it pleases me so when, I look at the music charts I use at work, and see “This is Halloween” climbing the list of most-played Halloween songs. The charts actually list three distinct versions that are in rotation. The first one, credited to “The Citizens of Halloweentown,” is the version from the start of the film that we all know and love. The second one, credited to the song’s composer Danny Elfman, is actually an early demo version that Elfman recorded, and has been released on several Elfman compilations. (Elfman has called this release mildly embarrassing, as it’s just him messing around with his keyboards and singing all the parts.) And, for the film’s 3D re-release in the late-2000s, Disney got Marilyn Manson to cover it.
The Devil Comes Back to Georgia – Mark O’Connor and Friends
We all love “The Devil Went Down to Georgia,” but did you know it has a sequel? In the early 1990s, champion fiddle player Mark O’Connor conceived a sequel in which the Devil challenges Johnny to a re-match, and this time, the prize up for grabs is the soul of Johnny’s infant son. O’Connor’s sequel was a country music event. O’Connor performed Johnny’s fiddle solos, with Marty Stuart singing Johnny’s parts. For the Devil, original “Devil Went Down” performer Charlie Daniels did the fiddle solos, with Travis Tritt singing the Devil’s parts. And Johnny Cash is our narrator.
March of the Martians – Harry Brueur
When released in 1969, the album “The Happy Moog” was a bargain bin release, billed as a “Moog synthesizer album for children.” But one track, “March of the Martians,” has particular significance for Canadians of a certain generation. For you see, “March of the Martians” was used as the theme song for the cult classic kids show “The Hilarious House of Frightenstein.”
Transylvania Twist – Bobby “Boris” Pickett
In the perennial Halloween classic “Monster Mash,” Dracula laments, “Whatever happened to my Transylvania Twist?” Well, capitalizing on the success of “Monster Mash,” Bobby Pickett produced a whole album of Halloween novelty songs, and he was sure to finally give us the Transylvania Twist. I love it, because it sounds like every cheesy made-for-TV sound-a-like circa 1964.
It’s a Monster’s Holiday – Buck Owens
Over in my day job, I’ve been trying to track down more Halloween songs to fill out the music library. And it’s been tough. While there’s a lot of great country classics concerning ghost stories and such, nothing has the recognizability of a Monster Mash. Finally, someone pointed me towards Buck Owens’ "It’s a Monster’s Holiday", and I was like, “This is it! Our country music Monster Mash!”
And that's it! Happy Halloween, all!