Greg Wilson's Top 5 Halloween Tunes

It ain't all about moonwalking zombies, you know...
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Your man Greg Wilson has been a pioneer in the music industry for over thirty years. Whether it was his jazz-funk nights at Wigan Pier in the late 70s, his early adoption of electro, or the enduringly and frank Being A DJ blog, Greg has never been afraid of pushing things forward.

2014 has seen him continuing in this vein with the Super Weird Happening tour; day and night long extravaganzas that combine live art, photography, debate and good old fashioned raving. Their final show is this Saturday at Oslo in Hackney, and with a performance from Blind Arcade-as well as a concluding 3 hour set from Greg himself-it looks like the perfect environment to, well, get a bit weird.

In preparation, he dug out the freakiest Halloween jams in his collection, with not a Thriller to be found...

Bauhaus - Bela Lugosi's Dead

Bauhaus recorded this as their first single, in 1979, setting the Goth standard in the process. At over 9 minutes in length, its hallucinatory atmosphere, with dubbed out fx borrowed from the reggae realm, gradually builds for almost 3 minutes, before the entry of Peter Murphy’s magnificent vocal. I used to enjoy playing this LOUD over my home system to people who’d never heard it before, asking them to imagine what the voice to come might sound like, knowing they couldn’t think up anything as perfectly compatible to that brooding backing as Murphy’s deep dark monotone. A different recording of the track, with the band performing behind a cage in a nightclub, would feature during the opening credits of the cult 1983 vampire movie, ‘The Hunger’.

Clint Eastwood & General Saint - Talk About Run

From their excellent 1981 album Two Bad DJ, the reggae duo Eastwood & Saint (the former not to be confused with the movie star) serve up a wonderful duppy yarn, where Saint, out at night with his girlfriend, and having strolled into a park looking for a bit a privacy, disturbs a disgruntled spirit who informs him ‘Saint, you’re brave you’re kissing your girlfriend on top of me grave’. The cartoon image of ‘the living running from the dead’ always cracks a smile, and I nicked the lines ‘dead one time, you know me dead two times’ for one of my Teenage DJ tracks, ‘Deadhead’. The album’s title track ‘Two Bad DJ’ builds on the duppy theme - the brilliantly lo-fi sleeve image, with Eastwood & Saint confronted with a stereotypical white sheet ghost, reflecting this.

Was (Not Was) - Wheel Me Out

There’s a more personal aspect to this one. When I was very young I remember at bedtime saying the prayer: ‘now I lay me down to sleep I pray the lord my soul to keep, if I should die before I wake I pray the lord my soul to take’. On reflection this is quite a trip to put on a young kid, under the guise of a ‘children’s prayer’ – they clearly used to like to get the fear of God in there nice and early back then! Juxtaposed with this, in my increasingly fertile imagination, was this terror of a ‘wheelwolf’ coming to get me. Someone must have told me about werewolves, but I’d misheard the ‘were’ as ‘wheel’, and in my mind it was like Lon Chaney zapping around on roller skates – freaky stuff for a 4 or 5 year old. Around 2 decades on I heard the twisted dance cut ‘Wheel Me Out’, and instantly knew, with its relentlessly discordant tension and disturbingly strange narration that this was my wheelwolf imaginings made vinyl...

Mike Oldfield - Tubular Bells - Theme From Exorcist

19 year old multi-instrumentalist Mike Oldfield was the catalyst for the now global megacorporation  Virgin, then a fledgling record label run by new hippie on the block Richard Branson. Virgin’s very first release in 1973 was the Tubular Bells album, which is perhaps as good a start in one as there’s been in the history of the UK record industry; the LP going on to spend a staggering 279 weeks on the chart and accumulating sales in excess of 2 and a half million copies in Britain alone. It’s legacy as a Halloween classic was made when the opening theme was used to powerful effect in The Exorcist, which I wrote about on my blog a few years back as  my most scary movie

Bobby 'Boris' Pickett and The Crypt Kickers - Monster Mash

The quintessential Halloween track until Michael Jackson gatecrashed the party: this enjoyed a 20 year reign from 1962 to ‘Thriller’s’ arrival in 1982. Whilst ‘Monster Mash’ instantly topped the US chart, it took 11 years until it was a UK hit.

The track, which grew out of singer / actor Bobby Pickett’s impersonation of the legendary horror actor Boris Karloff, was originally banned by the BBC on the grounds on being ‘too morbid’! Features a great shift from crack backing vocal crew, The Blossoms, whose contribution to pop culture was highlighted in 2013’s academy award winning documentary, 20 Feet From Stardom.

Get tickets for the weirdness here

And check this mixtape below for a flavour of what'll be happening at Oslo