Something occurred to me while we were talking about Spotify on the Halloween episode of our music podcast, The Sound Board (which will be up before long). Because I continually get surprised at the wealth of stuff that’s in the Spotify archives, they probably have a crapload of awesome Halloween tracks. So I set out to see what I could find. And my goal wasn’t finding spooky music (there’s plenty of that, and I do have some here) nor those atmospheric oooh-spooky albums we had on vinyl when we were kids (kids of today, ask your parents), but to find some seriously awesome stuff. Old-Time Radio (OTR). Spoken Word. Readings. That sort of thing.
The result is here: 30 essential links for your Halloweenish Spotify enjoyment as a special addendum to our normal 32 Days of Halloween marathon mischief. I thought about creating a playlist…but it would be huge and unwieldy. And we go all over the map with this one. If we missed any, share them in the comments. There’s always room for more Halloween goodness. Enjoy!
Inner Sanctum: A classic trio of episodes from this OTR show are available here.
Boris Karloff: One of the best spooky readers for children ever. Here’s Karloff doing a version of “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” and “Rip Van Winkle,” complete with many an overdone bit of sound FX. There’s also Radio Shows For Halloween, which is an array of different bits, including various Old-Time Radio shows like “Lights Out” and “Inner Sanctum.” The badass spoken word/autobiographical album An Evening With Boris Karloff and his Friends is available as well. The Creaking Door episode “Death For Sale” has one of the most wonderfully awful horror hosts ever…Karloff features in “Death For Sale.”
Christopher Lee: in addition to his metal concept album about Charlemagne (which we’ve told you about before and which must be heard to be believed), there is also Sir Christopher reading a version of Dracula.
Lights Out: Three volumes of fantastic OTR shows from this classic which we’ve touted before.
H.P. Lovecraft: Gareth David-Lloyd reads “The Call of Cthulhu.”
Vincent Price: There’s an album involving Price called Witchcraft Magic: An Adventure in Demonology which is pretty choice. Not as cool as some of his spooky spoken word, but it will work. There’s a lot of non-spooky dramatic stuff that he’s done on Spotify as well…so go nuts.
Lou Reed: Lou Reed? Yes. His 2003 album The Raven is on Spotify, featuring Willem Dafoe reading Poe. Also in attendance: Steve Buscemi, David Bowie, Laurie Anderson and…The Blind Boys of Alabama. No shit.
Orson Welles: The Ultimate Collection has a literal crapload of stuff, including a Mercury Theatre version of Dracula…the classic War of the Worlds…and a recording of H.G. Wells and Orson appearing together. If you listen to only one track I put out there, make it this one. This is from 1940. You get to hear Mr. Wells give Mr. Welles some well-intentioned ribbing about his name and also you’re hearing from a world on the brink of World War II. Fascinating.
Various: I didn’t put a lot of random anthologies on here…but there is one that stands out above all the rest. It’s called “Halloween’s Gravest Hits (Expanded Version)”. And it’s basically the party album you want. Anything that goes from Alice Cooper to The Ventures to David Bowie to Lou Rawls works for me, I don’t know about you.
Again, did we miss something you’ve found? It’s a gold mine in there. Share your finds in the comments!