The ultimate Halloween playlist, by Black Stone Cherry's Ben Wells

Ben Wills, Black Stone Cherry

"My earliest memories of Halloween are from when I was a kid," says Black Stone Cherry guitarist Ben Wells. "We lived in this neighbourhood with lots of houses in it, and it connected to another neighbourhood. On Halloween, as soon as it got dark, people who didn't even live in our street would come over, because they knew there were a lot of houses, and they'd get a lot of candy.

"It was such a cool atmosphere. We'd play scary music, and my dad would scare people. My grandad even built a coffin. Our whole aim was to scare people. And we'd watch scary movies in the TV. I loved the fact that you could dress up, and there was just that little bit of a eeriness in the air. I just loved that whole atmosphere."

When Classic Rock catches up with Ben he's still at it, in the throes of putting together a Halloween party. "I love putting this stuff together," he says. "Everybody's dressing up and decorating, it's just fun. And it's carried on with me even to this day, with my love of horror movies."

Below, Ben chooses his 10 favourite Halloween songs.

1. John Carpenter - Halloween Theme

"This is probably the scariest track of them all. It's one of my favourite Halloween songs. It's so iconic: everybody hears that music and they know exactly where it's from. It's those two notes, you know? Everybody knows that theme. They know that it's Halloween. It's a brilliant brilliant composition: so simple but chilling."

2. Bobby “Boris” Pickett and the Crypt Kickers - Monster Mash

"I put this on the list because you can't love Halloween without it. When I grew up everybody listened to that song, and at school around Halloween teachers would play it during the day to get the kids excited. Yeah. It's a classic song, and you can't love Halloween without it."

3. Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds - Red Right Hand

"I love Red Right Hand because I love the Scream movies, and this song was in all the Scream movies. Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds are a great group, and the song just sounds like it's a scary movie song, you know? It's one of my favourites."

4. Michael Jackson - Thriller

"Thriller is not only one of the best-selling songs and albums of all time, but the video alone scared me when I was a kid. It scared a lot of people. The video was almost like a horror movie, so they play it a lot around Halloween. It's got Vincent Prices voice on there, which is just classic. So this will always be a favourite. It kind of goes hand-in-hand with Monster Mash. Thriller's a tailor-made song for Halloween."

5. Danny Elfman - This Is Halloween

"This is a the theme song from the Nightmare Before Christmas movie, the Tim Burton movie. It's a great song, a new era of Monster Mash. It's been done by a lot of people, and it does exactly what you'd expect from a Tim Burton movie. It's fun, it's quirky, and it's talks about Halloween... so you've got to have it!"

6. Alice Cooper - Feed My Frankenstein

"You can't have Halloween without Alice Cooper. He is one of the kings of shock rock and Halloween, and Feed My Frankenstein is my favourite song by him. Obviously I love the title, and I remember watching the Waynes World movie when it first came out, and he's in the movie performing that song. That's my earliest memory of the tune, and it's stuck by me since. It's a classic."

7. Rob Zombie - Living Dead Girl

"You could put almost anything by Rob Zombie on this list, and it was hard for me to pick just one Rob Zombie or White Zombie song, because his music is so centred around horror itself. This one is cool because it's kinda Zombie-esque. I love this song - it's one of my favourites of his. It's got a spooky sound, and I love the lyrics and video. It's very old-school Night Of The Living Dead-type stuff."

8. Oingo Boingo - Dead Mans Party

"This song was introduced to me actually later in life by a friend of ours, and it's one of those classic songs. I know Oingo Boingo's had lots of different tunes, bit this is the song you play every Halloween party, just for fun. It's a dead man's party! So I had to include it."

9. Type O Negative - Love You To Death

"The first time I heard this tune was watching Nosferatu, one of the early vampire movies. They re-released the movie, and Type O Negative did the soundtrack for it. It's so dark and moody-sounding. I'm not huge Type O Negative fan at all, but that song I love, and every time I hear it I relate it to Nosferatu, which is one of my favourite scary movies. It's just terrifying." 

10. Mike Oldfield - Tubular Bells

"Tubular Bells is still terrifying because it's from one of the scariest movies of all time, The Exorcist. When I was little I wasn't able to listen to that song because I saw the  movie and it scared me so bad. Every time I heard the song I'd associate it with the movie, and that would freak me out... and it still does to this day, really. I had to include it because it's one of the most iconic themes from any scary movie. It's terrifying!" 

Black Stone Cherry are currently on tour in the US. 

Fraser Lewry

Online Editor at Louder/Classic Rock magazine since 2014. 38 years in music industry, online for 25. Also bylines for: Metal Hammer, Prog Magazine, The Word Magazine, The Guardian, The New Statesman, Saga, Music365. Former Head of Music at Xfm Radio, A&R at Fiction Records, early blogger, ex-roadie, published author. Once appeared in a Cure video dressed as a cowboy, and thinks any situation can be improved by the introduction of cats. Favourite Serbian trumpeter: Dejan Petrović.