Hi all! This is Julia, your humble Webmaster and die-hard new wave fan. In this segment, I’ll take a look back at music history and dredge up some interesting tunes from decades past!
It’s October! To celebrate the season, here are some hidden horror-themed gems from the 80s. Tired of “Thriller” and the Nightmare Before Christmas soundtrack? Spruce up your Halloween playlist with some of these bad boys.
The Damned - Nasty
This English gothic-rock band were asked to be musical guests on the madcap punk sitcom The Young Ones, and recorded a song especially for their appearance. Both the song and the episode are about a “video nasty”: a low-budget horror film with excessive gore and violence. During the episode, a vampire chases our heroes - four reprobate college students - around their dilapidated flat, and one of them screams that “Only pop music can save us now!” Cue the Damned showing up to rock out. Lead singer Dave Vanian (get it - like Transylvanian?) looks appropriately vampiric in a black coat, ruffled shirt, and a hairdo that would put Sweeney Todd to shame.
Oingo Boingo - Dead Man’s Party
Sure, Danny Elfman might be famous as a composer and frequent Burton collaborator, but he cut his teeth as the frontman of Los Angeles outfit Oingo Boingo. Blending new wave with ska and the rowdiest horn section in the world, Oingo Boingo were famous for the concerts they put on every Halloween and their spooky, skeleton-heavy iconography. “Dead Man’s Party” is a classic tale of ghostly rock-and-rolling, giving us all hope that the afterlife is really just one big spectral shindig and not a Beetlejuice-style waiting room.
Kate Bush - Hammer Horror
Kate Bush, an avant-garde singer-songwriter, might be most well known for “Running Up That Hill” or “Wuthering Heights”. This song, recorded when she was only 20, references the Hammer film company, famous for a series of Gothic horrors starring the likes of Dracula, Frankenstein (and his monster), and the Mummy. It’s written from the perspective of an actor who gets a starring role in a Hammer horror after the original actor dies on set. Kate’s high-pitched, ethereal voice is extremely appropriate for this creepy number.
Morrissey - Ouija Board, Ouija Board
Morrissey, in typical mopey Morrissey fashion, tries to use a Ouija board to contact a dead loved one, whose ghost appears to address him by name, then tells him to “push off” and promptly disappears into the ether. Truly iconic!
Honorable mentions: Halloween by Siouxsie and the Banshees, Vampires by Pet Shop Boys, Pet Sematary by the Ramones, I Was A Teenage Werewolf by the Cramps.
Happy Halloween from your friends at the Core. Trick-or-treat responsibly!