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In the Mix with Live Music Listings in Pleasant Hill, Martinez, Walnut Creek and Concord

Oct 01, 2018 06:14AM ● By Paul Cotruvo

Paul Cotruvo

In the Mix

What makes a Great Halloween Song?

By Paul Cotruvo


I cannot believe how fast this year is flying by. Is it really fall? Although, if I judged the seasons by Target or Walmart, I would be buying Halloween candy in July and putting my Christmas tree up in August. But it is a great time of the year. Football season has started, baseball playoffs are in full swing, and the Warriors are about to start making another run at a championship. And yes, it is also time for a little thing called Halloween. That’s right, time to DVR “It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown.” Yep, nothing says Halloween like spending the entire night freezing to death in a pumpkin patch! But, I digress. Anyway, not only will you be deciding on what costume to wear, but I think you need to start thinking about some great Halloween music to put on your favorite device. I started to make my playlist and pondered what would make the ultimate final list? What makes a great Halloween song? Does it have to always have to be about zombies and ghosts? Serial killers and politicians? Absolutely! And if it has a good beat, then even better!


Here are my top 10 selections for Halloween:


1)        “Monster Mash” by Bobby “Boris” Pickett. So yes, I am old and know this song is somewhat lame, but it brings me back to my childhood, and I do think it still holds its charm today.

2)        “Psycho Killer” by Talking Heads. “Qu'est-ce que c'est fa fa fa fa fa…” Just a nice, upbeat “creepy” tune. The title says everything you want to know.

3)        “I Put a Spell on You” by Screamin Jay Hawkins. Hold on to your seats because Jay's about to take you on a ride. Timeless!

4)        “Dead Man’s Party” by Oingo Boingo. “Waiting for an invitation to arrive/ Goin' to a party where no one's still alive.” This would be great tune for your Halloween dance party.

5)        “Thriller” by Michael Jackson. What can you say about this classic? This video changed everything!

6)        “Ghostbusters” by Ray Parker, Jr. Say what you will, but I know you know every word of this one. “I ain't afraid of no ghosts.”

7)        “Don’t Fear the Reaper” by Blue Oyster Cult. Isn't spooky at all until you consider the lyrics are told from the point of view of some death-friendly dude trying to induce his gal to join him and not "fear the reaper."

8)        “Highway to Hell” by ACDC. Pure, straight ahead in your face rock and roll! (Add Hells Bells for a nice 1-2 punch as well)

9)        “Werewolves of London” by Warren Zevon. Personally, I find the lyrics to this song brilliant! My favorite line? “I saw a werewolf drinking a pina colada at Trader Vic's. His hair was perfect.”

10)      “Tubular Bells Part 1” by Mike Oldfield. This is the theme song from the movie The Exorcist. Perfect creep vibe to this tune. Just do not serve split pea soup when listening. You’ve been warned!

And to add just one more in the “creepy” vein, “Somebody’s Watching Me” by Rockwell. The word paranoia comes to mind.


I’m sure you have your favorites, but these would be a great addition to your playlist, whether you’re having a party or just handing out candy to the ghosts and goblins that evening.


On another note, Pleasant Hill Chamber of Commerce will be throwing the 16th annual Art, Wine and Music Festival on the weekend of October 6 and 7. It’s always a fun event that features two days of free music. Some of the artists appearing will be Frankie G., The Big Jangle, East Bay Mudd, Lumberyard, and Dave Martin’s Houseparty. Go to for further information.


Quote of the Month:

“I'll bet living in a nudist colony takes all the fun out of Halloween.” ~~Anonymous


Paul’s picks for October:

October 6: Wendy DeWitt, Armando’s, 707 Marina Vista, Martinez, 8pm

October 6:  Stung, Dan’s Bar, 1524 Civic Drive, Walnut Creek, 10pm

October 6 and 7: Pleasant Hill Art, Wine and Music Festival, Saturday, 10am to 9pm, and Sunday, 10am to 5pm.

October 19: Nancy Wright, Armando’s, 707 Marina Vista, Martinez, 8pm

October 27: Billy Schaub, Rocco’s Pizzeria, 2909 Ygnacio Valley Road, Walnut Creek, 8pm

October 27: The Reluctant Heroes, Back Forty, 100 Coggins Drive, Pleasant Hill, 7pm

October 27: The Big Jangle, WiseGirl, 1932 Oak Park Blvd.,Pleasant Hill, 9pm

October 27: Mad Karma, Dan’s Bar, 1524 Civic Drive, Walnut Creek, 10pm

October 28: Armando’s, 707 Marina Vista, Martinez, 4pm