13 Graveyard Grooves for Halloween

It’s mid-September and stores are stocking their Halloween goodies. Meanwhile I’ve already decorated! And if you haven’t started decorating for or thinking about Halloween yet, then perhaps this little playlist will get you in the spirit? For the last few years I have been sharing music from my ever growing Halloween playlist, and this year I selected a few tunes with a focus on cemeteries.

Image of a yellow ghost rising from a tombstone. Another tombstone sits in the distance. A large orange crescent moon with a face sits to the right. Text reading "Atomic Redhead Presents Graveyard Grooves 13 Halloween Songs you can Dig" sits on the left.

“Graveyard Boogie” by Buster Doss

I love a good spooky country song, and “Graveyard Boogie” certainly fits the bill, as it is a parody of the iconic song “The Freight Train Boogie.”

“Walkin’ Through a Cemetery” Claudine Clark

Claudine Clark had a hit with “Party Lights” in 1962, but when she followed with this spooky number her career hit a wall. I personally think it’s a great tune that really wants to make you dance.

“Marble Orchard” The Graveyard Five

The Graveyard Five was a Bay area band that actually only had four living members. The fifth member supposedly laid in a coffin that was brought on stage during their performances. Released in September of 1968 “Marble Orchard” was on its way to success when the lead singer ruined a large stack of copies in a fire during an LSD trip. LSD furthered the failure of the band when the lead singer destroyed the band’s equipment amid a mental breakdown brought on by a bad LSD trip, and as a result the band broke up.

“Graveyard” Leroy Bowman

Here the singer regales that the local graveyard is a really hopping place where the residents would love for you to join them.

“Dig Up Her Bones” The Misfits

Obviously nearly any song by The Misfits works for Halloween, and they have previously been featured in my Halloween music posts. “Dig Up Her Bones” is one of my all-time favorites by them.

“Graveyard Rock” Tarantula Ghoul

Tarantula Ghoul’s real name was Suzanne Waldron, and she was a horror hostess (akin to Vampira or today’s Elvira) for Oregon’s KPTV from 1957 to 1959. She also cut two songs, this and “King Kong.”

“Curse of the Hearse” Terry Teene

Fans of Knott’s Scary Farm may be familiar with this song, as an in-house version was created for the announcement of the Forsaken Lake scare zone a few years back, but its origins go much further back. While the direct origins of “Curse of the Hearse (also known as “The Hearse Song) is up for debate, some of the earliest portions of it come from a poem found in the Matthew Lewis novel The Monk from 1796. The song itself was apparently sung during World War I, with the possibility it was sung earlier during the Crimean War. Since World War I it began to be featured in song books. Terry Teene’s version from 1961 is perhaps the best known version. In addition to his singing career, Teene also performed as a clown, and even taught others the act of clowning.

“Graveyard Cha Cha” The Three Ds

This spooky doo wop tune gives the listener a peek at the colorful characters at a local graveyard.

“That Little Old Grave Robber Me” Don Hinson & the Rigamorticians

If you want to introduce a swath of new songs into your Halloween playlist, I highly recommend buying the album Monster Dance Party by Don Hinson & the Rigamorticians, as it has a lot of fantastic and fun stuff. “That Little Old Graverobber Me” is a Dean Martin parody, it also features a swell Peter Lorre impersonation.

“The Graveyard Shift” The Ghouls

Much like the previously mentioned Monster Dance Party, the entire album Halloween with The Ghouls is also perfect for your Halloween playlist. This number done in a spoken-word style is about what goes on during the graveyard shift at the cemetery.

“Hearse with a Curse” Mr. Gasser & the Weirdos

Akin to the “Surfin’ Hearse” by Jan & Dean (previously mentioned in my first playlist post), a surfer uses an old hearse for his board buggy. Mr. Gasser and the Weirdos was a put together band filled with top-notch studio musicians that brought the works of the legendary Ed “Big Daddy” Roth to life.

“Murder in the Graveyard” Screaming Lord Sutch

Screaming Lord Sutch was featured last year with his number “Dracula’s Daughter” and this year he’s back with this number that describes a grizzly murder in a cemetery and the police who arrive on the scene. As mentioned previously, Sutch was eccentric to say the least. His performances were theatrical and horror themed, and if you want to see him in action you can see him performing “Jack the Ripper” here. In 1970 he released the album Lord Sutch and Heavy Friends, what was once called “the worst album of all time” even though it had, as the title implies, quite a few heavy hitters, including Jimmy Page, Jeff Beck, and Noel Redding. He also was involved in politics, founding the Official Monster Raving Loony Party.

“Graveyard Tree” The Koffin Kats

The Koffin Kats quickly became a favorite band of mine in college, with their intense psychobilly spooky beat. Here the singer falls in love with a girl in a hearse.

Want more spooky tunes? Check out other annual Halloween playlists!

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