Ain’t No Haint Gonna Run Me Off: Three Alternatives to Overplayed Halloween Songs

If you’re getting tired of the same old Halloween songs like Monster Mash, Ghostbusters, and Thriller, here are three alternatives.

(It’s a) Monster’s Holiday should not be confused with Monster’s Holiday, which was Bobby “Boris” Pickett’s Christmas-themed sequel to Monster Mash. Buck Owen’s 1974 hit assembles the usual monster lineup, and throws in dragons for good measure.

When a ghost (or is it an alien?) tries to scare Jumpin’ Gene Simmons (no, not the Demon bassist from Kiss) out of the Haunted House he just bought, Gene doesn’t need to call Ghostbusters, he handles the situation himself.

Haunted House was written by record producer Bob Geddins and first recorded by Johnny Fuller in 1958. Simmons’ version was released in 1964.

The Greenwich Village Halloween Parade is the subject of Lou Reed’s 1989 song, which also serves as an elegy for people who died during the 1980s AIDS crisis.

It Took a Long, Long, Time

Finally finished Volume 2 of Gary Giddins’ masterful biography of Bing Crosby. To celebrate, here’s Bing singing It’s Been a Long, Long Time. Inspired by VE Day in 1945, Bing’s version, featuring Les Paul on guitar and not much else, hit #1 on the charts in December of that year. According to Giddins, “Bing saw immediately that the lyric worked equally well as the entreaty of Odysseus to Penelope or Penelope to Odysseus.”

Voila, an American Dream – Nitty Gritty Dirt Band

I had forgotten this song existed for decades. When I heard it, it was instantly recognizable, but I had to look up who sang it. An American Dream was released by the Dirt Band in 1979 and reached #13 on the Billboard Hot 100 in early 1980. The singer dreams about getting out of Augusta, Georgia on a Jamaican vacation, but is willing to settle for a trip to Coconut Grove in Florida. That’s Linda Ronstadt helping out on the vocals.

The Dirt Band was previously and subsequently known as the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band. Back in 1972, they had released the triple album – yes, three whole LPs – Will the Circle Be Unbroken, in which they sang traditional songs with several old-timey country and bluegrass musicians, including Earl Scruggs, Doc Watson, and Mother Maybelle Carter.

Back to An American Dream: This song was written by Rodney Crowell and released on his 1978 album with its original title, Voila, an American Dream. That album, which was not particularly successful, also contained his song Leaving Louisiana in the Broad Daylight which was later covered by Emmylou Harris and, more recently, Shovels & Rope.