20 Classic Rock Songs That Will Scare You To Your Grave
via Alice Cooper Official / YouTube
As Halloween approaches right around the corner, so are our desires to watch spooky films and listen to some spine-chilling classic rock songs. Because, where’s the fun if you don’t want to spread the good ol’ creepy shudders? Below, we’ll dive right into these 20 classic rock songs that will scare you to your grave. Get ready for some screaming!
“Volumina for Organ” (1962) – György Ligeti
György Ligeti made sure to fill our thoughts with terrifying ones as he created a 15-minute song full of dissonance and pure chaos.
“The End” (1967) – The Doors
This epic 12-minute Doors song is bursting with rock psychedelia that only the genius of Jim Morrison could create. It’s a tale of saying goodbye to childhood innocence, per Morrison’s interpretation.
“Knoxville Girl” (1956) – Louvin Brothers
One of the well-known Appalachian murder ballads is “Knoxville Girl,” a tale of two lovers where the man (unapologetically) murdered his girlfriend. Louvin brothers Ira and Charlie harmonized the lethal feeling that the song provides.
“What’s He Building?” (1999) – Tom Waits
A combination of creepy sound effects and subdued questions “What’s the building there?” Tom Waits sounded worried yet suspicious.
“Threnody to the Victims of Hiroshima” (1960) – Krzystof Penderecki
Scholars often cite this piece with the use of sonorism, avant-garde contemporary music in the 60s. If you’re ever familiar with this one, that’s because it’s been used in movies such as The Shining and Children of Men.
“Frankie Teardrop” (1977) – Suicide
There are just so many songs to give you the chills alright, but absolutely no one could top Suicide’s “Frankie Teardrop.” Even from their band name, it isn’t the answer.
“Careful With That Axe, Eugene” (1969) – Pink Floyd
From the room of psychedelic sounds do we find ourselves interspersed inside Pink Floyd’s “Careful With That Axe, Eugene.” It’s a frenzied mess.
“D.O.A.” (1971) – Bloodrock
This one-hit-wonder group gave some pretty unforgettable gruesome songs. “D.O.A,” tells us a story of a man in first-person point of view, as he tells us he’s dying.
“Song of Joy” (1996) – Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds
Perhaps one could assume that Nick Cave’s songs are almost all creepy. Don’t be fooled by the title, “Song of Joy” tells us about a man musing about his dead wife named Joy, who had been stabbed several times and stuffed inside a sleeping bag.
“I Love the Dead” (1973) – Alice Cooper
“While friends and lovers mourn your silly grave/I have other uses for you, darling.” Alice Cooper sure does have a lot of spooky songs up his sleeve, and this is an ear-catching one.
“Down By the Water” (1995) – PJ Harvey
The lead single of PJ Harvey’s To Bring You My Love, “Down By the Water” talks about a tale of an old witch who summons her dead daughter from the river she downed into.
“Hamburger Lady” (1978) – Throbbing Gristle
One of the highlights from Throbbing Gristle’s D.O.A: The Third and Final Report of Throbbing Gristle, “Hamburger Lady” is obtained from the written testaments of Blaster Al Ackerman who cared for a woman who was a burn victim.
“Dead Joe” (1982) – The Birthday Party
Goth Rock legends The Birthday Party howls a not-so-ordinary song about a car wreck that happened somewhere around Christmas. Its eeriness is striking.
“Nebraska” (1982) – Bruce Springsteen
Springsteen isn’t the man for horror songs, but his eerie track “Nebraska” was highly exceptional. It tackles the killing spree of Charlie Starkweather.
“The Murder of the Lawson Family” (1930) – Carolina Buddies
This murder ballad is a standard in any Halloween event and it’s a crime if you don’t listen to it. Legend says that it’s about the real murders of Charlie Lawson to his family, killing his wife, 6 of his 7 children, and himself (the other child was saved from running an errand).
“Legend of Wooley Swamp” (1980) – Charlie Daniels
The tales between three young men who murdered an old man to steal his money could make you shiver. Not only that, but the old man got his sweet revenge when the trio died to their impending doom.
“Avalanche” (1971) – Leonard Cohen
“Avalanche” remains to be one of Leonard Cohen’s creepiest songs. There’s no wonder this song deserves a spot on your Halloween playlist.
“One” (1989) – Metallica
Metallica is mostly rummaging through most of the 80s, but it was only until their song “One” that the band skyrocketed to fame. The track was said to be inspired by the movie Johnny Got His Gun, who woke up one day only to find out that most of his body was severely damaged from a landmine— but he could still feel and think.
“Farmer In The City” (1995) – Scott Walker
Scott Walker’s “Farmer In The City” was his experimental take on his career, with the burgeoning weirdness present there.
“25 Minutes to Go” (1998) – Diamanda Galás
Diamanda Galás’ cover of Shel Silverstein’s “25 minutes to go” is absolute horror indeed.