Monsters have always been a part of our lives, crawling about in our imagination, hiding beneath our beds and within our closets. But not all reside within the deep recesses of our psyche. The science of crypto zoology is one where researchers diligently seek out the mysterious creatures of today, such as Bigfoot, Chupacabra, Nessie and more. As such, it’s no wonder that these strange beings have found their way into our music. In this countdown of the 10 best songs about monsters, we’ve provided a variety, from the kind and gentle Puff, to the dangerous and violent Venator, along with a sprinkling of a few novelty tunes tossed in for good measure.
One of the lesser known songs on our list, “Psychotron” is an imaginative take on a government super soldier experiment. Taken off Megadeth’s 1992 album, Countdown to Extinction, “Psychotron” relates the tale of a man-made killing machine,
Part bionic and organic
Not a cyborg
Call him Psychotron
Supposedly based on the Marvel character, Deathlok, “Psychotron” considers the possibility of the danger such a creation could pose to the world. Whereas Mary Shelly’s monster was a complex being of strong emotions, driven to unfavorable deeds due mistreatment, Psychotron is a creature of death, with no redeeming qualities.
The 2009 album, Stone’s Reach by Be’lakor, an Australian melodic death metal band, is a soul stirring masterpiece. The first track on the album is “Venator”. Here, the protagonist of the song wades through what appears to be a cold, frozen world as he wraps his cloak around him. He trudges through icy winds to search for Venator, only to be smitten by him, “His giblet eyes surveyed me, his haggard haunch was raised, rearing up his splintered paw, he struck me in a daze”.
8. Ghost Busters
For centuries upon centuries, people the world over have been both feared and fascinated by ghosts: The spectral beings which float about us, causing havoc, creaking doors and causing mischief. In 1984 the song “Ghostbusters” was released. Composed by Ray Parker Jr., this was the theme song to the popular film by the same name. Not quite a novelty song, but still fun, it peaked at number on on the billboard Hot 100, Its music video centers around a young woman who is haunted by a ghost and features many notable cameos such as John Candy, Irene Cara, Chevy Chase and more.
7. Werewolves of London
“Werewolves of London” is found on Warren Zevon’s 1978 album, Excitable Boy. Composed by Zevon, LeRoy Marinell and guitarist Waddy Wachtel, the song is notable in that it includes the musical talents of John McVie on bass and Mick Fleetwood on drums. The song, produced by musician Jackson Browne, peaked on the Billboard Hot 100 in May of 1978 and remained there for around a month. According to producer Jackson Browne, the song was actually about a womanizer, “It’s about a really well-dressed, ladies man, a werewolf preying on little old ladies.”
6. Living Dead Girl
Rob Zombie’s living dead girl is open to interpretation. There are those fans who consider the protagonist of the song to be a member of the walking dead: A zombie. Other’s believe she represents a girl who loves horror films, while still others believe it’s about necrophilia. Off the 1998 album, Hellbilly Deluxe, the song charted at number 7 on the 1999 U.S. Billboard mainstream Rock Tracks chart. Not only is this a great rock song, but many fans also find it a good song to dance to due to its catchy hook and lively groove.
5. Monster Mash
During the week of October 20 to 27, 1962 a strange and odd bit of music reached number one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. That song was “Monster Mash” by Bobby “Boris” Pickett. The lyrics revolve around your standard, villainous mad scientist who creates a creature that enjoys dancing, doing the “Monster Mash”. Pickett sings the song in a voice which imitates famed horror actor, Boris Karloff. The song was certified gold in the U.S. and has been a favorite for Halloween celebrations ever since.
4. The Purple People Eater
Who would think that a song about a “one-eyed, one-horned, flying, purple people eater” would reach number one on the charts? Well, in 1958 it did, reaching number one on the Billboard pop charts in the U.S., and number 12 on the U.K. Singles chart. Here’s the interesting bit. When people were told to draw the monster, they made him purple. However, in reality it is a creature enjoys nibbling on purple people! Never the less, the songs composer, Sheb Wooley had a great time with the song. Like “Monster Mash” it’s a perennial favorite during the Halloween season.
Fans of classic rock know this song. Even if you aren’t a fan, chances are you’ve heard it from time to time. Known as one of the most powerful rock instrumentals recorded, it gets name from the heavy editing sessions that went into making this song. According to composer Edgar Winter, “…back in those days when you edited something, you physically had to cut the tape and splice it back together.”. So, all the cuts and splices reminded the band of how the Frankenstein’s monster was put together, therein the name. “Frankenstein” is also a song of note in that it’s the first song that put the synthesizer in the forefront.
It’s a good bet that movie monster fans the world over know of this monster masterpiece by Blue Oyster Cult. “Godzilla” is not only a great song about a famous movie monster, but also a powerful, guitar driven hard rock song. The song first appeared on their 1977 album, Spectres. Composed by guitarist Buck Dharma, “Godzilla” never became a hit. However, it remains to this day one of the bands most requested songs and enjoys heavy rotation on many classic rock radio stations across the country.
1. Puff the Magic Dragon
A bittersweet song about the loss of innocence, “Puff the Magic Dragon” was composed by Peter Yarrow. Released in 1963 by the group Peter, Paul and Mary, the song has been said by arm chair sleuths to be about drugs, but Peter states otherwise. It was actually based on a poem by Peter’s Cornell University roommate, Lenny Lipton. Lipton was studying for exams while writing poetry. He left a poem in the typewriter, Peter saw it and the rest is music history.
Thank you for reading our brief countdown of songs about monsters. As you can see, not all monsters are frightening, scary beings ready to rip out your gizzard, or chase you down a dark and twisting alley. Sometimes they’re nothing more than a sad and lonely dragon, or strange outer space being that likes to gobble purple people. Never the less, remember to check that closet before you go to bed tonight, and no matter what, don’t sleep with your legs dangling from your bed.