I’m all over the place in terms of my taste in music. I grew up in a house where music was on a lot of the time. My parents influenced a lot of my taste in music: my dad with Motown, horn-based rock like Chicago and Blood, Sweat, and Tears, and Kenny Rogers (among other things), and my mom with everything from classical to Broadway to ABBA/Blondie/Billy Joel to a whole host of things. (She and I still point each other to cool music, which is the greatest thing ever, because most of the time it’s the same band or song.)
When I was in elementary school, up until 5th grade we lived in middle Tennessee. Our favorite radio station was 106 WLAC FM (according to the station ID tagline, it was “Nashville’s Classsssssss FM”). (Sadly, WLAC is a talk radio station, and 105.9 is now WNRQ.) On Saturday nights, they had a program called “Big Chill Saturday Night”, where they played music that came from the era featured on the Big Chill soundtrack. Typically, Saturday nights meant the stereo was cranked to 11, blasting oldies. Being the musical sponge that I am, I grew to love these songs. My mom and I taped some of the shows, and into my adulthood I listened to the old shows, smiling at the DJ’s voice talking about the weather. (Apparently we only taped them during the summer, because the forecast was always hot.)
“But, Stacey,” you say, “what the heck does this have to do with Halloween?” Patience, gentle readers. I’m getting there. At the intersection of “Big Chill Saturday Night” and Nick at Nite reruns of The Addams Family and The Munsters lies a song like “Spooky”. Apparently the song started its life in 1967 as a saxophone instrumental by Mike Sharpe (written by Sharpe and Harry Middlebrook, Jr.). The Classics IV guitarist, James Cobb and producer Buddy Buie put lyrics to the tune, and in 1968 the band recorded it. The vocal version landed at #3 on the Billboard charts.
I remember hearing this song as a kid and loving the line, “Just like a ghost you been a-hauntin’ my dreams/So I’ll propose on Halloween”. (Also, I’m a fan of the cool of the evening when everything gets kinda groovy.) It’s a fun song with a ginchy vibe, and it belongs on any cool Halloween playlist. Here’s their version, if you’re not familiar:
The track has been covered by everyone from Andy Williams to Phish, but the best cover comes from Dusty Springfield. It was featured in Guy Ritchie’s Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels. I’m sure every cover has its merits, but Dusty’s smoky voice and the cool bongo/organ groove sends me. Give it a listen, and tell me you don’t hear this playing in the background of the coolest mod Halloween party ever.
See? Awesome, right? You can’t go wrong with either of these versions (though Dusty gets more play on my iPod). When creating your Halloween playlist this year, “Spooky” should be a part of the mix.