A few weeks ago, I put together a list of legitimately great Halloween songs, to save you from having to listen to “Monster Mash” for the 65,038th time. It’s tempting to use All Hallow’s Eve as a peg for anything music or culture-related in October because, well, Halloween’s all kinds of awesome, but let’s try something a little different today: a list of things that have nothing to do with Halloween.
Specifically, a list of important music events that happened on October 31 throughout the years that have nothing to do with the holiday. A great punk band played its first gig, the world’s most famous artist recorded his final song, and a rap duo released maybe their finest album — those are just a few of the musical milestones that went down at the same time kids were trick-or-treating.
Some fun facts about Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody”: it was once the expensive song ever, the band was told by their label it would never be a hit because of its nearly six-minute running length, the famous music video was edited in only five hours, it’s one of the five most played songs in U.K. history, and, oh yeah, it was released as the first single for A Night at the Opera on October 31, 1975. Considering the band once claimed “Bohemian” was about a man who killed someone, and then sold his soul to the devil, it’s pretty perfect for Halloween.
By 1976, Elvis Presley was, in the words of journalist Tony Scherman, a “grotesque caricature of his sleek, energetic former self.” He was overweight, addicted to drugs, and couldn’t hit the high notes anymore, despite only being 41 years old. That was also the year he recorded his darkly comedic final song, a cover of Jim Reeves’ “He’ll Have to Go,” on Halloween in Graceland’s Jungle Room studio. Less than 10 months later, Elvis died from cardiac arrhythmia, a bloated king passed out near his porcelain throne.
Unlike Elvis, the Stooges got their start on October 31, nine years before the King’s death, at a private house party in Ann Arbor, Michigan. At this point, they were still known as the Psychedelic Stooges, and wouldn’t play their first public show until January 1968 and release their landmark self-titled album until August 1969. If any readers were at that show, I hate you. That is all.
Jesus. It’s been 12 years? Brb, going to listen to “B.O.B” for the rest of the day.
Without the likes of Robert Pollard, Johnny Marr, Adam Horovitz, Jon Wurster, and Vanilla Ice, who were all born on October 31st, there’d be no Bee Thousand, The Queen Is Dead, Paul’s Boutique, Foolish, and “Ninja Rap,” and therefore, the world would be a crappier place.