Ghost Stories Music

Haunting Songs

Spooky October

Music is huge part of my life-that’s no surprise to anyone who reads the Blind Pig on a regular basis. My Spooky October wouldn’t be complete without a post about scary songs. Halloween parties often play songs like Monster Mash, Ghostbusters, and Thriller but I’m talking about songs that are truly spooky.

I divided the haunting songs that came to mind into 3 different groups. I’m sure there are songs I didn’t think of-you can help me out by adding to the groups-or coming up with a new group.

Group 1

Appalachia is famous world wide for it’s murder ballads. A few of the oldest most horrific ballads originated in the British Isles and were brought here by the first Scot Irish settlers. I’ve wrote about the phenomenon before-how something so horrible could attract listeners year after year-generation after generation-including myself.

Here’s a list of murder ballads-each title is a link to a youtube video-be forewarned the songs are not for the faint at heart.

Group 2

Other songs that came to mind-seemed to reach across several genres of music-bluegrass-county-and even rock.

Group 3

Growing up in a Southern Baptist atmosphere the Devil and his host of demons are wrapped up in most of my fears. Those fears were supported by more than one religious warning song. You know songs that tell a story of what will happen if you stray from the straight and narrow. To me-these are the scariest eeriest songs. An interesting combination of spirituality and fear being intertwined so tightly you can’t really tell them apart.

Hope you enjoyed my list of haunting songs. So what song do you think is spooky?

Tipper

 

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16 Comments

  • Reply
    Kathleen
    November 3, 2009 at 12:55 am

    I have always loved the song The Long Black Veil….sad and spooky. And it might not be mentioned, but Ghost Riders In The Sky, scared me when I was little. I could just imagine the devil’s herd running through! LOL. Blessings,Kathleen

  • Reply
    Carolyn A.
    October 31, 2009 at 11:40 pm

    You just know I love the songs that Pap and Paul sing, and their rendition of Tom Dooley is at the top of my list. I had forgotten about Swamp Witch; thanks for bringing that back to me. Hotel California is hauntingly beautiful, but Paul singing Long Black Veil was spectacular. Thanks Tipper, this was a great musical post and I enjoyed it very much. Happy Halloween! xxoo

  • Reply
    Marie
    October 31, 2009 at 11:40 pm

    Hey! I was waiting for Long Black Veil, and there it was. . .

  • Reply
    Shirley
    October 29, 2009 at 4:42 pm

    I grew up listening to the Louvin Brothers version of In the Pines on The Old Camp Meeting Time radio program every morning. And if I remember correctly, it was in The Coal Miner’s Daughter.
    Hotel California is one of my all time favorites, but The Long Black Veil is just such a sad song. Linda Ronstadt, Grystal Gayle and Dollie also did one about a little casket that I really liked.

  • Reply
    warren
    October 29, 2009 at 12:12 pm

    I am not sure if it is spooky, but I get chills whenever I hear “When Johnny Comes Marching Home Again”. Actually, I am not sure if that’s the name, but I think you prob know the song…chills every time

  • Reply
    MissFiFi
    October 28, 2009 at 10:50 pm

    “O Death” is one of my all time favorites and I have the movie “O Brother Where Art Thou” to thank for that. I am sharing your post with everyone I know because this music, morbid or not, is hauntingly beautiful.

  • Reply
    Sheila Bergeron
    October 28, 2009 at 8:22 pm

    Well, I like the ones sung by Pap and Paul, and Oh Death by Ralph Stanley.(actually I like them all) To me none of them were relly scary. I guess I might fear death some cause I know the costliness of it and the pain and sorrow it may cause my family.

  • Reply
    Paul
    October 28, 2009 at 6:45 pm

    Hey Tip,
    It’s probably too late to tell you this, but the “Long Black Veil” has an interesting story: It was written by a man in a Nashville publishing house/recording studio, but he only wrote the words. He took it from his office, down the hall to the office of Felice Bryant. She was half of the husband-wife combo that wrote almost all of the Everlys’ big hits (like “Wake Up Little Susie”). They also wrote “Rocky Top.” Anyway, the guy who wrote the words said, “Here’s a story I just wrote in rhyme, but I don’t have a tune. If you think it’s any good, put a tune to it. If you think it’s garbage, just trash it.” He came back in a little while and she sang the song for him while accompanying herself on piano. They both were pleased. He said, “I hear that Lefty Frizzel is in the building. Let’s see if we can catch him before he leaves–we can pitch him this song.” They did, and Lefty recorded it there in the building just about an hour after hearing it for the first time. The male song writer (whose name I can’t recall) said that the song turned out better that way because the record company didn’t have time to overproduce the song with strings, back-up singers, and such. Anyway, if you want to use this info, I’m sure you can find out the name of the male song writer. I saw them tell this story on a documentary.
    Paul
    P.S. My favorite part of the recording is that if you turn the volume up really loud, you can hear Lefty clear his throat a couple of beats before singing the first line.

  • Reply
    Paul
    October 28, 2009 at 6:41 pm

    Hey Tip,
    I thought you might find the story behind “Long Black Veil” interesting: It was written by a man in a Nashville publishing house/recording studio, but he only wrote the words. He took it from his office, down the hall to the office of Felice Bryant (spelling?). She was half of the husband-wife combo that wrote almost all of the Everly Brothers’ big hits (like “Wake Up Little Susie”). They also wrote “Rocky Top.” Anyway, the guy who wrote the words said, “Here’s a story I just wrote in rhyme, but I don’t have a tune and I don’t know if it’s any good. If you think it’s worthwile, put a tune to it. If you think it’s garbage, just trash it.” He came back in a little while and she sang the song for him while accompanying herself on piano. They both were pleased. He said, “I hear that Lefty Frizzel is in the building. Let’s see if we can catch him before he leaves–we can pitch him this song.” They did, and Lefty recorded it there in the building just about an hour after hearing it for the first time. The male song writer (whose name I can’t recall) said that the song turned out better that way because the record company didn’t have time to overproduce the song with strings, back-up singers, and such. Anyway, if you want to learn more, I’m sure you can find out the name of the male song writer. I saw them tell this story on a documentary.
    Paul
    P.S. My favorite part of Lefty’s original recording is that if you turn the volume up really loud, you can hear Lefty lightly clear his throat a couple of beats before singing the first line.

  • Reply
    Mary
    October 28, 2009 at 6:19 pm

    Those are great lists, Tipper! There do seem to be a lot of old spooky murder ballads.
    One that came to mind for me was Long Black Veil. Also the old Irish ballad Demon Lover. I know that Tim O’Brien has done several old murder type ballads, but their names escape me at this moment!

  • Reply
    Trainwreck
    October 28, 2009 at 11:49 am

    Howdy! I am all about the music as well. My life revolves around it. There are so many songs that seem to fit my life. Makes one feel normal.lol Loved the song.Highwaymen, yes I like that song too, it is a bit haunting.

  • Reply
    Fishing Guy
    October 28, 2009 at 10:57 am

    Tipper: You did a wonderful job of making the list. All I could think as Paul was singing was he should try out for Nashville Star’s next season.

  • Reply
    Janet
    October 28, 2009 at 10:51 am

    Sorry, I don’t know much about haunting songs, but you seem to have quite a list of them to listen to. I have an album dated 1956 by Paul Clayton called Folksongs and Ballads of Va that I plan to listen to when I get a chance. The words and history of each song is inside on a booklet, it sounds like a few of them are haunting.

  • Reply
    Lanny
    October 28, 2009 at 10:10 am

    Enjoyed my music this morning, thank you so much for all the different musical treats. But I gotta say they sure aren’t date songs eh?!

  • Reply
    Fencepost
    October 28, 2009 at 8:39 am

    Great song for your Spooky October. I’ve sang that song for years.
    Here’s one to add to your list…The Night The Lights Went Out in Georgia.
    And my favorite Halloween song….The Monster Mash. I just love that song!

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    October 28, 2009 at 7:50 am

    Great job, Paul. I have always found Long Black Veil to be a haunting song.
    Mostly I don’t like Haunting songs because they tend to stay with me for a few days after I hear them.
    I have one addition to your second group, “The Highwaymen” and I believe it was by Willie Nelson, Chris Kristoferson, and Johnny Cash. This spooky song I actually like.

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