Monday, October 31, 2022

October 31st, 2022...HALLOWEEN!

Well folks...we made it!  Another FULL month of blogging and blog posts. I've got plans to carve some pumpkins today and then tonight the kids will go Trick or Treating with some friends.  I love wandering the streets and seeing decorations and the kids in costumes. After how weird the last few years have been I'm looking forward to whatever 2022 brings in the way of Halloween.

If you're not already aware of it, you can surf over to Halloween Radio and stream Halloween music for your party, for trick or treaters, to play in the dark or just to vibe out to.  Surf on over! There are a few songs that resonate with me on Halloween night specifically.
First up is "Candy" from Rain Station's "DARK RIDE" CD. Jay created a fantastic video for this track - here - and I just LOVE this tune.  Have a listen...
Next up is another track from "DARK RIDE" that is perfect for Halloween night.  Jay created a video for this track as well - here.  Have a listen to "Trick or Treatin'"...
Last up tonight is a FREE download of "It's Halloween" which is an unreleased song from Rain Station.  Jay made a video for "It's Halloween" and you can watch it here.  Have a listen to the song before you download it.
Download "It's Halloween" here.

OK, enough treats for now - go out and have a safe Halloween!

Mark Harvey

Sunday, October 30, 2022

October 30th, 2022...18 years...

Greetings guys and ghouls,

Eighteen years ago today I married my wife.  We both would have preferred to pick a different day for our wedding anniversary since there's always so much to do to get ready for Halloween (if you're like me) and our anniversary doesn't get the attention it deserves.

This year isn't unique as there's always lots going on. Halloween on Monday and the need to recharge for a new week, a Sunday anniversary poses some challenges. I'm sure we will find a way to celebrate our 18 years of married life together. Thankfully we seem to be almost done with a pandemic so we'll likely go out for dinner.

I love you honey, Happy Anniversary.

So since we're talking October brides...have a listen to "October's Bride" off  Rain Station's DARK RIDE CD.

If you've not taken the time to check out the DARK RIDE videos, please do. Visit or click the links below....
and the BONUS track 

Happy Anniversary to my lovely wife and Happy 30th of October. TOMORROW is THE day! HALLOWEEN PEOPLE!!!!

Mark Harvey

Saturday, October 29, 2022

October 29th, 2022...NOT just Monster Mash...

An article by Mark Harvey(Part one of three articles on Halloween music by Mark Harvey)

What classifies a song as a Halloween song? It is words. It is feel. It is unmistakable. Almost every genre of music has a Halloween representative, although I have yet to find a Gospel or Christian Halloween song in my searches. Much of this music must be sought out since it will never make it onto a Halloween compilation CD or onto commercial radio. As Halloween approaches, my never-ending search for new Halloween sounds reaches a higher level while stores stock current offerings. Each year I find something new. Each year I find more of the same old usual suspects. Let us start with the stories about the songs that you have most likely heard.

Sheb Wooley and A Thing with One Big Horn and One Big Eye
Sheb Wooley (a.k.a. Ben Colder) is known by most Halloweenites for penning The Purple People Eater, but to millions of other folks he is known for his country novelty tunes and extensive film and TV work. Wooley first got the idea for The Purple People Eater when a songwriter friend told him his son had come home from school with a joke about a "people eater." After recording what he deemed as a "bottom of the barrel song," his label decided not to release it. They thought it was something they did not want to be identified with. Somehow a copy of the song made its way to the company’s New York offices. They loved the song. The country’s fascination with UFO’s and the Sputnik phenomenon in full swing, the NY office reconsidered the release. In early 1958 The Purple People Eater became the first single ever to hit number one in its second week on the charts. The Purple People Eater catapulted to Number 1 for six weeks in 1958, sold over three million records and received a gold record within three weeks after it was released. It is the Number 24 song of the 1955-1959 rock era and has sold over one hundred million copies.

Mr. Pickett and THE song
In about an hour and a half, Lenny Capizi and Bobby Pickett worked out The Monster Mash. Halloween music was forever changed. These two members of the singing group the Cordials decided to take advantage of the novelty song craze happening in the early sixties. They brought the song to producer Gary Paxton (singer of the Hollywood Argyles hit Alley Oop). After the session, Paxton dubbed the band "Bobby ‘Boris’ Pickett and the Cryptkickers." On October 20, 1962, after eight weeks on the charts, the record hit Number 1 just in time for Halloween. It re-entered the Billboard Hot 100 on August 29, 1970 peaking at Number 91 and again on May 5, 1972 when it went all the way to Number 10. Over the years, The Monster Mash has sold over four million copies, received three gold records, and is easily one of the most popular novelty records of all time.

Jumpin’ Gene Simmons: fortunes from a Haunted House
Haunted House was first recorded in the late 1950s by Johnny Fuller (Specialty 655) but failed to chart. In 1963 Domingo Samudio (a.k.a. Sam The Sham) was performing Haunted House live clubs and on television. People went nuts when he performed the song. Jumpin’ Gene and Sam the Sham were playing clubs together in the early sixties. Gene saw how folks were reacting to that song. Ray Harris at Hi Records asked Gene to see if Sam would record Haunted House for Hi Records. Sam declined and said he wanted to cut the record on his own. Harris wanted to proceed with their recording of the song and asked Jumpin’ Gene if he would cut the record. Simmons has said the session was not like his others in that "everyone involved had fun." By August 1964, Haunted House (Hi 2076) had made it to Number 11 on the Billboard Hot 100. After years of unsuccessful releases Haunted House would be Jumpin’ Gene Simmons first hit and would launch him on his first world tour.

Screaming' Jay: Original Shock-Rocker
Many years ago I was fortunate enough to catch Screamin’ Jay Hawkins at a small nightclub in San Francisco. The show was weird, excellent—but weird. I Put A Spell on You was THE signature song. Hawkins crept around the stage in a cape, brandishing the smoking skull on a stick he named ‘Henry.’ He was a crazed cannibal, a voodoo jive master. What I did not realize at that time was his immense impact on macabre music, especially on the presentation of that music. Inspired by being dumped by a girlfriend after she caught him cheating, Screamin’ Jay cut the original version of I Put A Spell On You for Grand Records in 1949, but the record failed to make an impact. Recorded with producer Arnold Maxon for Okeh (Epic) in 1956, the song soon became his signature hit. Maxon insisted that Jay’s recording needed to live up to the strange title and suggested that they turn the session into a huge party. Maxon supplied Jay and the musicians with barbecued ribs and chicken, yams and sweet potato pie, wine, beer and whiskey. After a while, he turned on the tape. A week later Screamin’ Jay was brought a copy of the recording. He was shocked and refused to believe that the recording was of him. After some Scotch and some practiced mouth contortions, he accepted it as his own. I Put A Spell on You was banned from radio airplay across the country due to his "cannibalistic" delivery. It was eventually edited for radio with moans, grunts and groans removed. I Put A Spell On You was Screamin’ Jay’s only big single, selling over a million copies, but it never made the charts. To date there are over three dozen versions by such popular artists as Credence Clearwater Revival, Nina Simone, Atlantics, Pete Townsend, The Animals (with Eric Burdon), Bryan Ferry, Manfred Mann, Robben Ford, Van Morrison, John Fogerty, Etta James, Bette Midler, Sarah Vaughan, Nick Cave, and Marilyn Manson.

Dah-dah-dah-dum! Snap! Snap!
In 1964 Vic Mizzy gave us one of the best known pieces of music, The Addams Family Theme, but this legendary theme might not have happened at all. David Levy, a close friend of Mizzy’s and an executive with Filmways Studio (NBC’s television production division) asked him to patch in some stock music for the soundtrack of a pilot for a series based on the Charles Addams cartoons in the New Yorker. Vic offered to write a score for free so long as he could keep the publishing rights. Levy agreed and Mizzy wrote the theme. Not only did he write the title theme, but he also composed themes for most of the main characters, played the harpsichord, and directed the opening sequence. Vic was the vocalist on the track and his voice was overdubbed three times. Whenever you hear Lurch playing the harpsichord, it’s actually Vic. From 1964—1966 Mizzy composed themes and weekly scores for the TV show. His 1965 Ghost and Mr. Chicken soundtrack has some of his best work. He is known best in Hollywood for being an excellent source for silly and fun music and has composed for films, radio and television.

Our "Spooky" tune
Spooky was originally an instrumental by saxophonist Mike Sharpe. A regional hit in the Atlanta, Georgia area, J.R. Cobb of The Classics IV and producer Buddy Buie decided to re-record the song with lyrics. In 1967 Spooky was released on the Imperial Label. A radio station in Louisville, Kentucky began to spin the record. By early 1968 the song’s popularity had spread nationally as it reached Number 3 and achieved a gold record. It reached Number 46 in the UK. In 1974, Cobb and Buie, along with some members from The Classics IV and Roy Orbison’s Candymen band, formed the Atlanta Rhythm Section. Their 1979 remake of the original 1967 hit reached Number 17. Though it was the bands last hit, it put the song back on the Halloween map for good.

Phil Everly wants a dance song
In the early 70s Warren Zevon played with the Everly Brothers and by 1975, he and his wife were living in Phil Everly’s guesthouse. Phil asked Warren and songwriting partner Leroy "Roy" Marinell to write a song for his upcoming solo album. He asked them to write him a dance song. "Something like ‘Werewolves Of London’" is what Phil said. Later, at Roy’s house as they began writing, guitarist Robert ‘Wadded’ Wachtel joined them to add the "Aah-Ooh Werewolves of London". According to Zevon, the first verse was written spontaneously and entirely by Waddy. The three finished the song in 20 minutes. The track was recorded with Waddy, Mick Fleetwood and John McVie (of Fleetwood Mac fame) and produced by friend Jackson Browne. Werewolves of London hit Number 21 on the Billboard Hot 100 and Number 15 on the Cashbox charts in April 1978. The song eventually reached Number 8 and went gold. As a result, his album Excitable Boy became a Top Ten record and remains his best-selling album to date. Thanks to Phil.

I hope you have enjoyed the stories behind the songs. As familiar as many of these songs are, they still remain some of my favorite songs of all time. Sometimes hearing the story behind the song brings new life to old tracks. In the next issue of Happy Halloween Magazine I will talk about the more eclectic side of Halloween music, covering genres and rarities.

Mark Harvey is a Halloween music enthusiast and archivist. Mark owns and operates,, Pumpkinland Studios and Halloween Radio plus a number of Halloween and non-Halloween related websites. His own Halloween releases include the Pumpkinland Halloween ‘HauntScape’ Trilogy, Rain Station’s DARK RIDE and FLESHROT: Songs from the Dead.
Article from Happy Halloween Magazine Volume 4/Issue 4 – Winter 2002

Friday, October 28, 2022

October 28th, 2022...Rain Station's "SCIENCE!!!"

Good evening,

It was back in 2012 that this Rain Station cartoon video was brought to life. Jay pulled an all nighter... all morninger to put this video out. Here's the video - SCIENCE!!!
"Science!!!" by Rain Station was recorded on 10/02/10 (hard to believe it was over 12 years ago).  Here's the back story: "Jay and I got together so I could record vocals on a new song, "Complicated Man?", but I knew we needed to try and get a new Halloween track done. After trying to program drums for the new track Jay took a look at some of the drum beats he had recorded.

The process for "Criminal Goat" and our upcoming CD starts with Jay recording drum beats and then I'll add bass, guitar, keyboards and whatever else the tune needs. Jay will write lyrics and record other instruments and then we'll see what else we need to do. After hearing Jay's drum beat yesterday I recorded keyboards, guitar and then started thinking about what to write lyrically. Jay suggested that the song reminded him of a mad scientist and my mind took off - the pencil hardly keeping up with my mind. I recorded vocals and then Jay and I recorded some "weird" vocals to back up the track. We always have fun recording, but we get a kick out of the strangeness that comes out when we're recording a Halloween track.
So, the tradition continues with "Science!!!" a Rain Station Halloween track for 2010."

and check out the tune below...

Happy haunting!

Mark Harvey

Thursday, October 27, 2022

October 27th, 2022...a little Ichabod and The Legend of Sleepy Hollow...

Greetings friends and fiends,

Tonight I was able to enjoy the second half of The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad with my seven year old.  We put the movie on early in the month and made it through the "Toad portion" of the show, but it was time for my little guy to go to bed so we didn't get to watch "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow". This is another "must watch" Halloween special for me and as Halloween approaches I'll likely binge watch the remaining movies and specials. Funny how watching what I consider "Halloween fare" past October 31st strange and it doesn't/won't happen.  It may be why I'm so bummed when I see the shelves empty of Halloween stuff and filled with Christmas stuff.

Who doesn't love this story? From Wikipedia (here), "In October 1790, Ichabod Crane, a lanky, superstitious yet charming dandy arrives in Sleepy Hollow, New York, a small village outside Tarrytown that is renowned for its ghostly hauntings, to be the town's new schoolmaster. Despite his odd behavior, appearance, and effeminate mannerisms, Ichabod soon wins the hearts of the village's women and forms good friendships with his students. Brom Bones, the roguish town hero, does his best to pull pranks to Ichabod. However, he is very good at ignoring these taunts and continues to interact with the townspeople. One day, Ichabod meets and falls in love with Katrina van Tassel, the beautiful daughter of the wealthy Baltus van Tassel and Brom's unofficial fiancee. Despite being obsessed with Katrina's beauty, Ichabod mainly desires to take her family's money for himself. Brom, who has never been challenged like this, proceeds to compete with the schoolmaster, but Ichabod wins Katrina over at every opportunity. Unbeknownst to both men, Katrina is only using Ichabod to make Brom jealous and force him to try harder for her affections.

The two love rivals are invited to the van Tassel Halloween party. Brom attempts to get Ichabod to dance with a plump woman instead of Katrina, and later attempts to have him fall through a cellar door, but both attempts backfire. While both men dine, Brom catches Ichabod accidentally knocking the salt shaker over and nervously tossing salt over his shoulder. Discovering that Ichabod's weakness is superstition, he decides to sing the tale of the legendary Headless Horseman. The horseman supposedly travels the woods on Halloween each year, searching for a living head to replace the one which he has lost, and the only way to escape the ghost is to cross a covered bridge. Everyone else, including Katrina, finds the song amusing, while Ichabod on the other hand starts to fear for his life.
Riding home from the party, Ichabod becomes frightened of every sound and sight which he hears in the dark woods. While traveling through the old cemetery, Ichabod believes he hears the sound of a horse galloping toward him, but discovers the sound is being made by nearby cattails bumping on a log. He and his horse begin to laugh – however, their laughter is cut short by the appearance of the Headless Horseman, wielding a sword and riding on the back of a black horse. After being chased through the dark forest, Ichabod, remembering Brom's advice, rides across the covered bridge to stop the ghost's pursuit. The horseman stops and throws his flaming head, revealed to be a jack-o'-lantern, right at Ichabod's face.

The next morning, Ichabod's hat is found at the bridge next to the shattered jack-o-lantern, but Ichabod himself is nowhere to be found. Sometime later, Brom takes Katrina as his wife. Rumors begin to spread that Ichabod is still alive, married to a wealthy widow in a distant county with children who all look like him. However, the superstitious people of Sleepy Hollow insist that he has been "spirited away" by the Headless Horseman."

Happy Haunting,

Mark Harvey

Wednesday, October 26, 2022

October 26th, 2022...Dracula...

Halloween Salutations,

Last night I had the rare chance to watch a weeknight movie with two of my kids. They both enthusiastically voted to watch the 1931 Bela Lugosi classic, Dracula. Initially we had wanted to watch The Wolf Man, but since they hadn't watched it yet (and my seven year old wanted to watch something he had watched before) I was all too happy to put the DVD on. 

The acting job of Dwight Frye as "Renfield" is superb. This movie is a family favorite as it leaves a lot to the imagination which is why I love the Universal Monster movies so much.

Happy Haunting,

Mark Harvey

Tuesday, October 25, 2022

October 25th, 2022...when in doubt...KISS...

Greetings ghouls and boils,

Well, last night I fired up an old classic "The Paul Lynde Halloween Special". I remember watching this when I was a kid as I was a big fan of KISS and it was a big deal that they were going to be on the show. I have this on DVD now and even though the special is pretty impossible to show to my kids (they don't get it and Paul's humor is...well, 1976ish) I try and put it on every few years or so.  Tonight my 12 year old watched it with me and I got the expected groans.

From Wikipedia, "The Paul Lynde Halloween Special is a Halloween-themed television special starring Paul Lynde broadcast October 29, 1976 on ABC. It featured guest stars Margaret Hamilton in a reprisal of her role as the Wicked Witch of the West from The Wizard of Oz. Also guest starring are Billie Hayes as Witchiepoo from H.R. Pufnstuf, Tim Conway, Roz Kelly, Florence Henderson, rock band Kiss, Billy Barty as Gallows the Butler, Betty White and, in an unbilled surprise appearance, Donny and Marie Osmond."

If you need a FULL recap of the show, Wikipedia does a great job...

"In succession, Paul (as himself) begins singing to celebrate Christmas, Easter and Valentine's Day but is interrupted each time when his housekeeper Margaret (Margaret Hamilton) tells him it is none of these and prods him into admitting it is a holiday he dreads, Halloween. The opening credits roll, and Lynde gives a stand-up monologue explaining, among other jokes, that his childhood obesity had traumatized him into hating the holiday. In keeping with a promise to Margaret to enjoy the holiday, he sings a special version of his signature song "Kids" in which he actually claims to like them until a group of kids in devil costumes (among them Donny and Marie Osmond) torment him.

Margaret offers to take Paul away from the kids and drives him to Gloomsbury Manor, where her sister (Billie Hayes) resides. When they arrive, Paul realizes that both are witches, Wilhelmina Witchiepoo and the Wicked Witch of the West. A third witch, "good witch" Miss Halloween (Betty White) arrives, disappointed that Margaret had brought Lynde instead of the promised Paul Newman (or, for that matter, any other person named Paul), then departs. Believing that they have been unjustly given a bad reputation, they commission Paul to serve as a public relations expert to improve their image. To seal the deal, they offer him three wishes.

In his first wish, Paul wishes to be a trucker and is reinvented as "Big Red," a crass, red-haired, CB-slang-talking, rhinestone-studded trucker engaged to waitress "Kinky Pinky" Tuscadero (Roz Kelly). He soon finds that Pinky has two-timed him and has also promised another trucker (Tim Conway) her hand in marriage; the two, along with Pinky's boss (Billy Barty), soon enter a battle to prove their worth to her, which Paul wins with his large wad of money from a movie advance. Big Red and Pinky marry as the diner turns into a raucous hoedown.

He returns to the manor, and after KISS performs "Detroit Rock City" and Paul and the witches sit through a boring game of Monopoly, Paul offhandedly wishes he were in the Sahara Desert and is transformed into a "chic sheik" lusting after snow queen Lady Cecily Westinghouse (Florence Henderson). After a difficult seduction, just as he wins her over with a cockatoo, his nemesis Seymour of the foreign legion (Conway) reveals the lady was bait for a trap and takes the sheik away. He trades the cockatoo for his freedom and comes back to her, a deal Seymour accepted because "a man gets mighty lonely in the foreign legion."

Pleased with his two wishes, he offers his third wish to the witches, who wish to go to a disco. With Paul as host and Henderson as guest performer ("That Old Black Magic"), the manor turns into a swinging discotheque. Kiss returns and performs two more songs, "Beth" (Peter Criss solo at the piano) and "King of the Night Time World." The show's finale has the entire cast assembling as Paul and Pinky sing Johnnie Taylor's "Disco Lady" (gender-neutralized to "Disco Baby"). Paul thanks the audience and home viewers "for making (him) feel wanted" and implies that he might not appear in another special for a prolonged period of time, before reprising "Disco Baby" with the cast as a perplexed KISS looks on from the rear."

If you are a 70's kid like me you can probably make it through this show. It's fun to see KISS and my daughter enjoyed that part the most.

Happy Haunting,

Mark Harvey

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