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The Spooky History Behind Your Favorite Halloween Songs

It’s that time of year again — where monsters mash, graveyards smash, and it’s okay to ghost somebody. Spend your time getting your costume ready and forget about crafting a playlist, because here are some top picks of the all-time best Halloween-themed songs to help rock your party tonight.

“Thriller,” by Michael Jackson


Perhaps the most heavily-played pop song in October, “Thriller” destroyed the charts in the early 80s. Unlike most singles at the time, Jackson chose to release a music video in a short film format before hitting the charts. Jackson chose John Landis, director of An American Werewolf in London, to direct the now-legendary zombie mini-flick. And that mini-film made a mega impact: Thriller is the world’s best-selling album of all time.

“Ghostbusters,” by Ray Parker Jr.


If you’ve been to a skating rink at any point in the last 30 years, then you know this song. This spooky and funky number was written by Ray Parker Jr. to be the title track to the first Ghostbusters movie. The song spent 3 weeks at #1 on the Billboard charts and was also nominated for “Best Original Song” at the Oscars in 1985. Huey Lewis was originally approached to do the music for the movie, but declined. After the success of the film and the song, Lewis sued and settled a plagiarism case, claiming it copied too much from his hit song “I Want A New Drug.”

“Tubular Bells,” by Mike Oldfield


“Tubular Bells” is most commonly known as the theme song for The Exorcist, but there is much more to the story. Released in 1973, Tubular Bells was the very first album that Virgin Records ever put out, and it was met with amazing critical reception in the UK. After hearing the record, the film’s director decided to scrap the film’s soundtrack and feature the album’s title song. Mike Oldfield, the song’s composer, didn’t want event to see the The Exorcist because he thought it would be too scary.

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