When you ask people about Halloween songs, inevitably you hear things like “Ghostbusters”, anything from Nightmare Before Christmas, “Monster Mash”, or “Thriller”. There are several songs devoted to those full moon furries, werewolves.
Warren Zevon, “Werewolves Of London”
First up is this classic from the ’70s. An interesting fact about this song is that it contains one of the most prolific misheard lyrics in music history. Many think the line is “Aoooooooo, werewolves of thunder,” including my own mother. I love this song for a lot of reasons. From the piano opening to the nods to London attractions, it’s always a welcome sound on the radio. Notable lyrics include tales of a little old lady being mutilated (I love that word) and the werewolf grabbing some beef chow mein.
“You better stay away from him/He’ll rip your lungs out, Jim/I’d like to meet his tailor….”
Mike and the Bots from MST3K, “Where Oh Werewolf”
This is my favorite lycanthropic ode. Taken from Season 9 of Mystery Science Theater 3000‘s send-up of the horrible movie Werewolf, this song features Mike, Tom Servo, and Crow as a girl group. The song is a parody of mid-century girl group “Leader Of The Pack” story songs, and it is hilarious. The lead singer (Mike) reveals that “Steve’s a werewolf, but he’s my guy” and “No one can stop us ’cause it’s true loove” (he had to rhyme with “disapprove”).
I know how it goes with MST3K. Some fans are Team Joel, while others are Team Mike. I love both, but Mike was the first one I was exposed to, so he’s my favorite. (Plus, I love Pearl.) If you’re Team Joel, check out this song, and hopefully it will show you why I love Mike.
Sam the Sham and the Pharaohs, “Li’l Red Riding Hood”
Okay, so technically the protagonist of this ditty isn’t a werewolf, per se, but he is a Big Bad Wolf, so I’m counting it. Recorded in 1966 by Sam the Sham and the Pharaohs, this novelty song was the second top-10 hit for the group. This song always makes it onto my Halloween playlist because it’s so much fun. It’s one of those songs that I’m sure you’ve heard, but you may not recognize the band or the title right away.
Creedence Clearwater Revival, “Bad Moon Rising”
This song is another in the misheard lyrics oeuvre, since many people hear “There’s a bad moon on the rise” as “There’s a bathroom on the right.” Not only do the lyrics suggest a warning about werewolves, but the song was also featured in John Landis’ An American Werewolf in London. It’s hard for me to hear this song without thinking about the gruesome werewolf transformation.
Honorable Mention: “Hungry Like The Wolf”, Duran Duran
So as you put together your Halloween playlists this year, don’t leave out the werewolves!