Question of the Week: What’s the scariest song you’ve ever heard?
Local Spins’ Question of the Week (Oct. 15, 2020)
Halloween is fast approaching. What’s the scariest song you’ve ever heard?
This week’s winner of Local Spins merch: Email subscriber Justin Stover, who responded to the Question of the Week and was entered into a drawing for Local Spins merch. Sign up for email updates and the weekly newsletter here: https://localspins.com/subscribe-local-spins-mailing-list/
THE READER RESPONSES:
Joel Schultze – The Cure, “Subway Song” and Nick Cave, “The Kindness of Strangers”
Marty Pospiech – Seasons In The Sun.
Stephen Aldrich – Judee Sill’s “The Donor” (even the title is creepy). Also, Artie Shaw’s freekshow, Nightmare, from back in 1938, effectively used in Martin Scorsese’s, The Aviator, every time Howard Hughes goes into total meltdown.
Hugo Cruz – Either “Rhythm Of The Heat” or “San Jacinto” by Peter Gabriel – and they’re back to back on the same album.
Paul Wyatt – Black Sabbath, “Children of the Grave” – the 5:00 point of this one
Kim Masters – Sarah Jarosz’s version of Decemberists’ “Shankhill Butchers.” When she does it in her little girl voice, it’s even creepier!
Vernon James Reaume – “The Storm” by Wojciech Kilar (from “Bram Stoker’s Dracula” soundtrack)
Matt de Heus – Wagner : Bridal Chorus – Here Comes The Bride
Brian Haik – Scariest? I’ve never been scared by a song before, but if I had to pick my favorite Halloween song it may be Halloween, by Siouxsie and the Banshees
Jack Leaver – Bloodrock, “DOA.” And “Once Upon a Daydream.” I almost forgot about this one. It was a B-side, and what a wonderful one. Listen to this dark tale and let yourself drift on the creepy synth. And this is some creepy fun, the darker side of “Last Kiss”: Jimmy Cross, “I Want My Baby Back (1965).” And Bobby Vee, “The Night has a Thousand Eyes.” A happy sounding song, but the first time I heard it, I took the lyrics literally and it freaked me out. In the middle of the night somewhere on the road, laying in the back of the family station wagon staring up at the stars through the rear window. My Dad always kept the radio going; I couldn’t have been more than five years old. I met Bobby Vee as an adult and told him the story.
Stef Loy – That Siouxsie record listed above is soooo good. I thought of Cowboys by Portishead as outright creepy good.
Andrew Szumowski – “LOA House,” King Diamond. King Diamond, in general, might be the overall best Halloween band imho.
Mark Svekric – The Residents, “Would We Be Alive.” Honorable mention to Ligeti’s “Requiem.”
Matthew Farage – Anything by Puddles the Clown
Michael J Vizard – ‘Fire’ by Arthur Brown
Paul Magnan – Music in ‘The Exorcist’ movie.
Johnny Stash – When I was a child, “The Funny Farm,” which may or may not be the name of the song was terrifyingly thrilling to me. I still enjoy it quite a bit but when I was young it always sent chills through me.
Chad Michael Wedeven – Johnny Stash They’re Coming To Take Me Away, Ha Ha!! by Napoleon XIV
John Loader – Side Two “Tubular Bells,” when I saw the devil standing in my room. (I was pretty high). “Lullaby”, the Cure. I don’t like spiders.
Timothy Smith – Shannon McNally, “It Could Have Been Me.” Here are the lyrics: Hey Joe, have you seen my friend Flo? I was with her last night – I thought it was all right for her to go. Put her in the car, guess she didn’t get very far, ‘cause they found her shoes and her purse by the off ramp. Don’t know why she stopped but I am sure she had a reason; some creep took it as chick open season. It doesn’t look good, no it doesn’t look good…I doubt she’ll get up and walk out of those woods. But it could have been me, oh, it could have been me And that strikes me like a baseball bat across my knees. One night my car broke down on the turnpike, I was stuck in Northeast Pennsylvania. It was after midnight and it was gonna snow, I didn’t have nowhere to go. I thought to call for help, but when the cars passed me by, my cries fell silent. For how many times has the devil walked among us, wearing the face of the savior? So I headed out alone, not sure whether to stay in the light where I could see, or in the darkness where they can’t see me. Because it could have been me, oh, it could have been me. And that strikes me like a baseball bat across my knees.
Michael Packer – “Little Red Riding Hood” by Sam the Sham and the Pharaoh’s (saw them live in concert)
AJ Dunning – Jerry Goldsmith’s score for “The Omen”
Dan Lynn – Lords of the New Church – “Dreams and Desires”
Julie Bernat Swanson – “Stillborn” by Michelle Shocked. Haunting beyond measure.
Janet Lee Zahn – Sister Madly, by Crowded House
Scott Stefanski – “O Fortuna (Carmina Burana – Carl Orff)” – André Rieu
Greg Poltrock – This one has ALWAYS creeped me out: Black Mass (Electric Storm In Hell) – White Noise, U.K, 1969
Tommy Erickson – Honestly, when I was a kid, the Fresh Prince/DJ Jazzy Jeff song “Nightmare on Elm Street” used to scare me with the Freddy clips.
Rick Powell – Peter Gabriel, “Intruder,” studio version. Not too scary, but skin crawlingly ultra creepy.
Tom Slendebroek – “Heaven Tonight,” Cheap Trick.
Mark Swanson – When I was a kid, “I Am the Walrus” scared the shit out of me, especially the ending.
Jim Weiler – “How much is that Doggie in the Window?” by Patti Page
Mike Dodge – Three that I can think of. “They’re Coming To Take Me Away.” In the ’60s, the old section of Sunshine Hospital (it’s Kent Community now) was in my back yard and I would hear the sirens when people would get loose/escape. With that connection, as a 5-year-old kid I think the song scared me more than the actual escapes. Next is “Tubular Bells.” When I was about 12 years old, I would have dreams about possession/the Devil with that song playing in the dreams, Freaked me out every time I heard it. Lastly, The Beatles’ “Revolution 9.” As teenager, I’d listen to the “White Album” on headphones, while stoned of course. It scared me every time.
Vernon James Reaume – I was going to say “They’re Coming to Take Me Away” is one of the scariest tunes. Another scary one is “The Hearse,” Oscar Brand version. Screamin’ Jay and John Zacherle are my favorite spooky music makers, but as far as SCARY goes I’d have to go with “The Storm” by Wojciech Kilar from “Bram Stoker’s Dracula.” It’s terrifying to listen to, especially on a late night drive.
Timothy Smith – Sufjan Stevens, “John Wayne Gacy, Jr.”; Charlie Daniels Band, “The Legend of Wooley Swamp”; Slayer, “Angel of Death”
Chad Michael Wedeven – When I was a kid, “In The Year 2525” by Zager & Evans scared me: it reminded me I was gonna die, and made the future sound very not good. These days, “Steady, Steady” by The Crane Wives is terrifying. “Bad Bad Things” by Andrew Jackson Jihad gave me nightmares.
John Olszewski – Iron Butterfly theme.
Justin Stover – Tom Waits, “What’s He Building.” I think all of Tom Waits songs have a spooky vibe underneath them, even the love songs I often think are actually written about a ghost or something. That particular song is just really unsettling and it gets scarier as it goes on and the noises in the background are almost a little bit hard for me to listen to at night, and I honestly don’t get that scared at this point. I saw him perform live and everything he does in person is sort of humorous, so it wasn’t as scary live. I prefer with headphones.
John Serba – Slayer, “South of Heaven.” This is the eeriest guitar riff I’ve ever heard. Freaked me out when I was 14, still haunts me now. Lyrically, it’s not the band’s usual cartoony Satanism, but reflections on an evil world, divine punishment, apocalypse. And of course, Black Sabbath’s “Black Sabbath.”
Don Clapham – I’m not genuinely scared by any songs, but I am a bit creeped out by “Dogs,” “Pigs” and “Sheep” on Pink Floyd’s “Animals” album.
Lee Chase – Twilight Singers, “Esta Noche”
Steve Damstra – “Tubular Bells” by Mike Oldfeild for sure!
John W. Hartel – I don’t ever recall any music scaring me. Some creeped me out. Ozzy Osbourne often could compel that feeling. Pink Floyd had many lyrically “scary” songs but the music never imbued the sense of fear, for me at least, I loved it.
Michael Dause – Anything by Swans tbh
Joe Chamberlin – Bauhaus – Bela Lugosi’s Dead
Pete Bruinsma – Maybe this? There’s a scream at the end. The Moontrekkers – Night of the Vampire
Josh Giebel – Screamin’ Jay Hawkins – Feast Of The Mau Mau (1969)
Marisa Aguirre – “Strange Fruit” by Billie Holiday is the scariest song there ever was or ever will be.
Brian Kelly Rampenthal – Alice Cooper- Welcome to my Nightmare!
Matt Plichta – “Escape (Pina Colada Song),” Rupert Holmes
C.T. Revere – Peter Gabriel’s “The Intruder”
John Sinkevics – From the “Halloween” theme to Screamin’ Jay Hawkins’ “Whistling Past the Graveyard,” there’s a lot to choose from. I have my own fairly obscure “scariest songs” list: John Cale, an incredibly terrifying “Heartbreak Hotel,” “Fear is a Man’s best Friend,” “The Jeweller”; Peter Gabriel, “The Intruder”; Iron Butterfly, “In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida”; Pink Floyd, “Sheep,” “Careful with that Axe, Eugene”; Lou Reed, “The Bed” (or heck the entire “Berlin” album); Tom Waits, “What’s He Building”; Alan Parsons Project, “Fall of the House of Usher” (and several other tracks on “Tales of Mystery & Imagination: Edgar Allen Poe”); Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, “Red Right Hand”
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