There are a lot of Halloween compilations out there, and a lot of them are sneaky, and don't include the original artists. On the cover of The Monster Mash Rock 'N' Roll Party, it says, "Featuring Great Artists Including Bobby 'Boris' Pickett, Lesley Gore, Chubby Checker, Sha Na Na, Jan 'N' Dean and others."
But then in small print on the back of the CD it says, "This album contains new stereo recordings featuring the featured artists except (3,4) which are the original recordings." So what exactly does this mean? It sounds like the original artists went in and did new recordings. But it could also mean that portions of the original recordings are used, and either cleaned up or added to.
"The Monster Mash"
"The Monster Mash" is the classic Halloween song by Bobby "Boris" Pickett. It's probably the most famous and most popular of all the Halloween-related songs. It was originally released in 1962. The version on this compilation does sound newer, cleaner than the original. But it's still the song everyone knows and loves.
"It's My Party"
It's unclear why "It's My Party" is included on a Halloween compilation. After all, Lesley Gore is crying because her boyfriend left the party with another girl, not because he was devoured by zombies or werewolves or something.
"Doin' The Zombie"
"Doin' The Zombie" is one of the two tracks that are the original recordings. This song is a disco-dance-rap tune by Chubby Checker. Yes, the same guy who had everyone doing "The Twist." For Halloween he has everyone do The Zombie. Perfect.
This is Sha Na Na's version of "Witch Doctor," and it's totally fun. This is the second of the two tracks that are original recordings. And this is the track that really makes this compilation worth owning.
"In The Midnight Hour"
"In The Midnight Hour" is one that is not all that closely related to Halloween, but is still a fun party song. And this Martha Reeves version is not heard all that often. The most popular version of this song is by Wilson Pickett. But Martha Reeves did a great job with it.
"Haunted House" is a strange song by Jumpin' Gene Simmons (and no, that's not the Gene Simmons from Kiss). It starts off like a normal Halloween haunted house story, with these lyrics: "I just moved in my new house today/Moving was hard but I got squared away/Bells started ringing and chains rattled loud/I knew I'd moved in a haunted house."
But then it gets weird. Check out these lyrics from later in the song: "In the kitchen my stove was a blazing hot/Coffee was a-boiling in the pot/The grease had melted in my pan/I had a hunk of meat in my hand/From out of space there sat a man/On the hot stove was pots and pans/'Say that's hot,' I began to shout/He drank the hot coffee from the spout." What is that about? Well, this is also possibly the only song to contain the word "haint," which means "ghost." The line is, "Ain't no haint gonna run me off."
"Dead Man's Curve"
Is "Dead Man's Curve" really a good song for Halloween? Surf music just doesn't sound like anything that should be played on Halloween. There is nothing the least bit sinister about surf music. Again, it's not like he comes back from Dead Man's Curve to feast on his family's brains. (Now that would be an interesting song.) "Dead Man's Curve" is a good song, but it just doesn't belong on this compilation.
"Li'l Red Riding Hood"
"Li'l Red Riding Hood," on the other hand, absolutely belongs. It's one of the coolest songs associated with the holiday. And it's by Sam "The Sham" And The Pharaohs, the band known for their awesome tune "Wooly Bully." Here is a taste of the lyrics: "Hey there, Little Red Riding Hood/You sure are looking good/You're everything a big bad wolf could want."
"Spooky" is another classic rock song, this one by The Classics IV. And here's one that actually mentions Halloween in the lyrics: "Just like a ghost, you've been hauntin' my dreams/So I'll propose on Halloween." This version has some nice work on horn.
CD Track List
- The Monster Mash - Bobby "Boris" Pickett
- It's My Party - Lesley Gore
- Doin' The Zombie - Chubby Checker
- Witch Doctor - Sha Na Na
- The Purple People Eater - Sheb Wooley
- In The Midnight Hour - Martha Reeves
- Haunted House - Jumpin' Gene Simmons
- Dead Man's Curve - Jan 'N' Dean
- Li'l Red Riding Hood - Sam "The Sham" And The Pharaohs
- Spooky - The Classics IV Featuring Dennis Yost
This compilation was released in 2000 by St. Claire Entertainment Group. It might be a good place to start when selecting songs for your Halloween party, but there are several other classic Halloween songs, as well as some newer, lesser known Halloween songs to choose from.