So we’re here: First Halloween at last. And if you’ve been here with us previously, you know what tonight’s pick is. But first, our #TrackoftheDay. This is “The Gonk,” by Herbert Chappell, and quite familiar to fans of both Shaun of the Dead and Dawn of the Dead. It’s a strange song, to be honest, mostly because I can’t entirely figure out what the story behind it is.
It’s got a sub-title (but only when it’s listed certain places) of “(Seeing & Doing).” What the hell does that mean? Not entirely sure. If you go to the De Wolfe Music Library (where you can license the song), it lists it as “Seeing and Doing Theme Tune.” And there was a Seeing and Doing TV show that started in 1971…but the two clips of it I’ve found online have a completely different tune. No idea.
The penultimate night of 32 Days of Halloween XII is upon us! Before we get to the Big Day itself, we’ll start with an absolutely fantastic cover: it’s “Sympathy for the Devil” by Motörhead. It’s the last song Lemmy recorded with the band before his death. And what a song to go out on. It kicks some serious demonic arse.
Tonight, let’s kick things off with a fantastic novelty track from 1932. It’s “It Must Be Swell” by Alex Bartha & His Orchestra. I tried to find a decent picture of Bartha and could not. And I’m not sure how many other recordings we have extant from them, either. Because this one is fantastic. I’m surprised I only recently ran across it.
For today’s pick, we have a 1975 track from the UK band Babe Ruth and their self-titled album. It’s “Jack O’Lantern.” You probably know them best for “The Mexican,” which has been sampled in scads of tracks, not the least of which is “Planet Rock” by Afrika Bambaataa & Soulsonic Force.
We’re closing in on the end of this year’s 32 Days of Halloween, believe it or not. And for today, we begin with our #TrackoftheDay, “Inner Sanctum” by Charlie Spivak & His Orchestra with vocals by Irene Daye. A gorgeous song, thought I’ve never been able to tie it officially into the Inner Sanctum franchise. Thought it would make sense, since it came out in 1947, which is the right time period for it. And the subject matter fits.
So for our #TrackoftheDay, some context is in order. Recently I did state that some songs are chosen because of their association with Halloween as opposed to them being Halloweeny in their own right. A perfect example is “Fast as a Shark,” the 1982 metal anthem by German band, Accept. Befuddlement is in store if you just listen to it and don’t know why it’s been chosen. More on that in a moment.