Modern vampires can trace their roots to ancient stories. However, they owe most of their presentation to a small collection of seminal works. Bram Stoker’s Dracula is the most influential of these by a considerable margin. Theoretically, the titular character is based on the historical Voivode of Wallachia. In practice, there’s no evidence that Stoker knew much about the man, which explains why the two share little other than a title meaning “Son of the Devil.”
Regardless, Dracula is influential, so much so that it has inspired several of its counterparts in the vampire canon. For example, Nosforateau’s Count Orlok is a knock-off version of Dracula. Something necessary because the movie-makers lacked the movie rights. Likewise, Bram Stoker’s Dracula introduced everything from Dracula as a romantic figure to the bat-man transformation that is now an iconic vampire superpower. As such, interested individuals shouldn’t be surprised to learn that musicians have recorded numerous songs about the most famous bloodsucker of them all. Some of these are even quite good.
Here are ten of the best songs about Dracula ever released:
10. “Bela Lugosi’s Dead” – Bauhaus
Bela Lugosi started acting in movies when he was still in Hungary. He headed to the United States in 1920. Lugosi’s first notable role in his new country was the titular character in a highly successful Broadway production of Dracula. Later, he sought the same role in Universal Pictures’s Dracula. Lugosi wasn’t the first choice. Even so, he secured it in the end, thus making him so well-known that he was typecast as a horror movie villain. Unsurprisingly, “Bela Lugosi’s Dead” references the man’s most famous role. It’s also notable because it’s the first gothic rock record ever released, meaning it’s the trailblazer for an entire subgenre of music.
9. “Dracula’s Wedding” – Outkast
Dracula has become a romantic character. That made it much easier to humanize the character. “Dracula’s Wedding” is one of the most sympathetic takes in musical form. Its narrator is scared of getting married to the woman he loves, which sounds strange but is relatable and sympathetic. The funny part is that this is contrasted with him being an immortal lord of the night.
8. “Night of the Vampire” – Roky Erickson
Roky Erickson is famous for being a pioneer of psychedelic rock. Despite this, “Night of the Vampire” is surprisingly straightforward. The mention of Transylvania means there’s no mistaking who the focus character is supposed to be.
7. “Vlad the Impaler” – Kasabian
Dracula isn’t Vlad III. However, the two have become closely entwined in popular imagination. This Kasabian song is based on Vlad III, but some lines suggest the vampire wasn’t that far from the songwriter’s mind while he was working on the lyrics.
6. “Dracul va Domni Din Nou in Transilvania” – Marduk
This Marduk song is similar to the Kasabian song in that it’s based on the historical figure for the most part. The lyrics refer to his resistance to Ottoman suzerainty. Something that often expressed itself in acts of tremendous cruelty. The curious part is the final line, which hints at the eventual elevation of the historical figure into something more than human. This wasn’t a one-time thing. Marduk has several songs based on Vlad III. They often use imagery inspired by the man’s fictional counterpart, though they remain more interested in the man himself.
5. “Nosferatu” – Blue Oyster Cult
It’s no mystery that Nosferatu was based on Dracula. Here, Blue Oyster Cult took inspiration from both stories. The events described in the song come right from the movie. Still, it’s telling that the lyrics mention Lucy rather than Ellen. She was the victim of Dracula turned undead monster in the original story. Since “Nosferatu” is based on the movie, she has a happier fate in this song by not just surviving the vampire but also being the direct cause of his final death.
4. “Closer” – Kings of Leon
“Closer” is highly interpretable. Some people have read hints of drug addiction in its lines, while others think of relationship issues. Besides these, some listeners think it’s about a vampire. The timeline doesn’t work for people who think Dracula is Vlad III. Two thousand years was long before the historical figure who lived in the 15th century. Luckily, Dracula has no such limitation on his origins. There are plenty of stories in which he’s something much older.
3. “We Suck Young Blood” – Radiohead
It isn’t uncommon to see people interpret vampires through the lens of social commentary. One example would be how they’re often presented as the societal elite exploiting everyone around them. Something that can be traced to Dracula in considerable part. After all, the character was a noble who lived in a castle, which is before one considers his superhuman powers as a supernatural predator. Under these circumstances, it isn’t hard to interpret “We Suck Young Blood” as being about literal rather than metaphorical vampires.
2. “Lovesick For Mina” – Cradle of Filth
“Lovesick For Mina” is what it sounds like. It sees Dracula expressing his overwhelming desire for Mina Harker, the character’s second target in the original story. However, the romantic presentation suggests that “Lovesick For Mina” took more inspiration from Bram Stoker’s Dracula than the novel that started it all.
1. “Before the Summer Ends” – Rob Evans
“Before the Summer Ends” comes from Dracula, the Musical. The latter received considerable publicity when it premiered in the early 2000s. Unfortunately, it wasn’t particularly successful in the United States, though it had a better reception in Europe after being revised. Regardless, “Before the Summer Ends” is Jonathan Harker reflecting on his promise to his wife, Mina, to kill her if she seems beyond saving. It’s considered one of the best songs from the musical. On top of that, it’s an excellent reminder that Dracula remains a monster, even when presented in a multi-faceted manner.
You can also read:
- The 10 Best Blue Oyster Cult Songs of All-Time
- The 10 Best Kings of Leon Songs of All-Time
- The 10 Best Radiohead Songs of All Time
- The 10 Best Outkast Songs of All-Time
- The 10 Best Ashanti Songs of All-Time