Witchcraft is often defined as using magic for harmful purposes. Since the belief in magic is widespread, it makes sense that the belief in witchcraft is also widespread.
This isn’t even mentioning the definitions that make witchcraft synonymous with magic, though these can have complicated implications interested individuals might want to look into. Numerous artists have released songs about witches, including some that should be well-known.
Here are ten of the best songs about witches ever released:
10. “The Witch’s Promise” – Jethro Tull
Jethro Tull is a British band that has existed since the late 1960s. It has one constant member – Ian Anderson – a multi-instrumentalist who plays flute and acoustic guitar for the most part but can play more than eight other instruments.
As such, “The Witch’s Promise” is famous for featuring smoothly-incorporated flute work. The song’s exact meaning is a subject of much contention. Some interpret the lyrics as a condemnation of a faithless lover.
9. “Black Magic Woman” – Santana
Fleetwood Mac has several songs that would work for this list. For instance, Peter Green penned “Black Magic Woman” because of his ex-girlfriend Sandra Elsdon. Subsequently, Santanna made a cover of the song for which Gregg Rolie provided the vocals.
It was so popular that it reached the number four position in the United States and Canada. Santanna’s cover has been the better-known version ever since.
8. “Burn the Witch” – Radiohead
Burning is one of the best-known methods used to execute witches during early modern witch hunts. As such, this song’s name draws upon ideas deeply embedded in popular consciousness.
That said, “Burn the Witch” isn’t about early modern witch hunts. Instead, most people interpret it as a warning against groupthink that can lead people down dark and dangerous roads for society as a whole. In other words, “Burn the Witch” is more about witch hunts in the metaphorical sense.
7. “Burn the Witch” – Queens of the Stone Age
Queens of the Stone Age released a song with the same name a decade before Radiohead. Its lyrics take more blatant inspiration from early modern witch hunts. However, we know Queens of the Stone Age also meant it as a metaphor.
As the story goes, the frontman Josh Homme fired his bandmate Nick Oliveri for aggressive behavior in 2004, thus resulting in a great deal of criticism directed at him. He wrote “Burn the Witch” as a way to push back, which failed because people failed to pick up on the message for the most part.
6. “And He Slayed Her” – Liz Phair
People tend to know Liz Phair because of “Why Can’t I?” from 2003. Still, they should know she started making music in the early 1990s and has continued doing so to the present, meaning she has a sizable body of work.
“And He Slayed Her” is a song from Funstyle in 2010. In it, Phair blasts the executive responsible for overseeing her contract at Capitol Records, who she blamed for stalling her career by preventing her from leaving the record label.
5. “Witchy Woman” – The Eagles
“Witchy Woman” was one of the singles from the Eagles’ self-titled debut album. Supposedly, it took the bulk of inspiration from Zelda Fitzgerald, who is remembered as the first American flapper.
However, the song was never about a single person, meaning there were other sources of inspiration. This song played a critical role in the Eagles’ early career. Moreover, the frontman, Don Henley, considered it the start of his career as a professional songwriter.
4. “Witchcraft” – Frank Sinatra
Perhaps unsurprisingly, a great deal of witchcraft is focused on making people fall in love. In turn, that means that many of the songs about witches and related topics touch upon this in one way or another.
Frank Sinatra’s “Witchcraft” is one of the best examples of such works. The funny thing is that the narrator isn’t as opposed to the notion of being bewitched as one might expect. If anything, he is downright enthused about the whole thing.
3. “I Put a Spell On You” – Screamin’ Jay Hawkins
Screamin’ Jay Hawkins was famous for his theatricality. Something that traces back to this song. For those curious, Hawkins first recorded “I Put a Spell On You” as a ballad, which wasn’t released until much later.
Then, he recorded a second version with screaming, which happened because the producer got everyone involved in the process drunk by throwing a party. This sold more than a million copies, even though it was banned from most radio stations because it was too wild by the standards of the mid-1950s.
The song’s success put Hawkins in contact with the disc jockey Alan Freed, who suggested various gimmicks for him to capitalize on the song’s fame. From that point on, Jay Hawkins was Screamin’ Jay Hawkins.
2. “American Witch” – Rob Zombie
Rob Zombie released “American Witch” as a single in 2006. Its source of inspiration is no mystery. The song’s lyrics mention 20 innocents, referring to the 20 people who died as a direct consequence of the Salem witch trials.
Out of those, 14 women and five men were executed via hanging because they were found guilty of witchcraft. The 20th individual was pressed to death beneath heavy objects because he refused to enter a plea.
That mattered because he retained his estate by doing so, thus enabling him to pass it on to his two sons-in-law rather than have it confiscated by the government that killed him.
1. “Rhiannon” – Fleetwood Mac
As mentioned earlier, Fleetwood Mac has several songs that can place on this list. In considerable part, that is because of Stevie Nicks, who is interested in the occult but has consistently denied the rumors that she is a practitioner.
Regardless, “Rhiannon” is a product of this fascination. Nicks has outright stated that it is named for an “old Welsh witch.” It is known that she came upon the name through a novel featuring characters named Branwen and Rhiannon.
She didn’t learn those characters were somewhat based on Welsh mythological figures until later. Something that inspired some of her later songs.
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