10 songs that shaped the Misfits' sound by Jerry Only

Misfits bassist Jerry Only
(Image credit: Getty)

The original Misfits are back! Last weekend, bassist Jerry Only and vocalist Glenn Danzig performed together for the first time in 33 years at Denver’s Riot Fest. There’s also talk of the band – completed by guitarist Doyle Wolfgang von Frankenstein, drummer Dave Lombardo and second guitarist Acey Slade – writing a new album in the near future.

You can’t deny the sheer breadth of their back catalogue; hardcore, rock ‘n’ roll, metal and more have all fluttered through the folds of ‘fits records. They took inspiration from a smorgasbord of acts and, in turn, inspired just as many.

We challenged Jerry Only to pick 10 tracks that have bled into the New Jersey horror punks’ sound. Here, in no particular order, are the songs he chose…

The Ronettes – Be My Baby (Presenting The Fabulous Ronettes Featuring Veronica, 1963)

Only: “I think it’s one of the best songs ever written. It really personified the girl groups of the ‘60s – stuff like The Supremes and The Crystals – and it really led into Motown. It was written by Phil Spector – and we all know about Phil! – and I think he was revolutionary in the way music is perceived, recorded and heard.”

David Bowie – Space Oddity (David Bowie/Space Oddity, 1969)

“This song really put Bowie – God rest his soul – on the map. It’s really well-written and the concept is good.”

Lou Reed – Perfect Day (Transformer, 1972)

Ronson did the string arrangements for this too. Lou Reed was one of the forerunners of the New York Scene with The Velvet Underground. Mick Ronson was amazingly gifted as a composer. If you listen to this and Space Oddity, you can hear how the strings carry the music outside its structure. It’s like flying flags above a battleship.

The Stooges – Search And Destroy (Raw Power, 1973)

“This Stooges song very vile and binary song. It comes across very well. If you were gonna get in the ring and fight someone, this would be the song to walk out to. It’d bring out a lot of adrenaline!”

Generation X – Your Generation (Your Generation [single], 1977)

“They’re one of my favourite punk bands. Billy Idol moved on, and as record companies saw stars rise from the ashes of punk rock, Billy became more pop and new wave. Record labels couldn’t handle punk rockers because they couldn’t control them; they didn’t want to invest money in kids who were a bunch of fuck-ups. Generation X were amazing.”

Ramones – I Wanna Be Sedated (Road To Ruin, 1978)

I could name you 100 songs! People should really explore the Ramones’ back catalogue. Dee Dee wrote great anthems like Rockaway Beach; Joey was a bit of a romantic, so he’d write songs like Here Today, Gone Tomorrow and Oh Oh I Love Her So. He had a sweet side to him. They set the precedence and they still set the bar when it comes to punk rock. The Ramones were playing in London on their first UK tour – it was a pretty big venue, like 1000 people – and they snuck the guys from The Damned, The Clash and the Sex Pistols through the dressing room window, ‘cause these guys had heard about the Ramones but didn’t have money for tickets! The English scene was built by dragging people through that window! But as as a result – and with people like Malcolm McLaren able to manipulate these things – the UK took something that was, in the US, a musical revolution, and they turned it into a social revolution.”

Sid Vicious – My Way (The Great Rock ‘n’ Roll Swindle, 1978)

I really like the Elvis version but I’d still go with Sid Vicious’ version, obviously! In the eyes of the world, it was Johnny Rotten and Sid Vicious who made the punk movement British.”

The Jam – Going Underground (Dig The New Breed, 1982)

The Jam were one of the best bands I ever saw. They played CBGB’s quite often and they came out all nicely dressed and wearing nice shiny shoes, but they just kicked the shit out of the place!”

Iron Maiden – Aces High (Powerslave, 1984)

Iron Maiden is multi-layered. The guitarists play around each other and it really separates them from other bands; they’re dropping thirds and the guitars all play different parts, but it’s just so well composed. I imagine they’re pretty much the biggest metal band out there, right? They started around the same time as us, and obviously their influence is much greater ‘cause of the crowds they draw.”

Judas Priest – Nightcrawler (Painkiller, 1990)

This is a great Judas Priest song. It’s spooky and it sets the mood. It’s like reading a great book – it puts you in another place, yet still gives you the perception the author was hoping to project onto you. The entire Painkiller album is amazing.”

Alec Chillingworth

Alec is a longtime contributor with first-class BA Honours in English with Creative Writing, and has worked for Metal Hammer since 2014. Over the years, he's written for Noisey, Stereoboard, uDiscoverMusic, and the good ship Hammer, interviewing major bands like Slipknot, Rammstein, and Tenacious D (plus some black metal bands your cool uncle might know). He's read Ulysses thrice, and it got worse each time.