Some of the greatest classic rock songs are about witches.
Often these storied witches are just pretty ladies who make men uncomfortable, sometimes they’re metaphors, and sometimes we have no idea what the songs are about.
What we do know is that witch references make any song way better.
Don’t believe us? Sit a spell and check out our list.
#11 Witch Hunt – Rush
About the Song: Canadian prog-rock band Rush wasn’t known for cranking out spooky tunes. Witch Hunt is plenty unsettling, but not in a Halloweenish way.
Instead, the band opted to address witch hunts as a metaphor for intolerance. As the song opens, you hear the sounds of an angry mob. The lyrics call out the hypocrisy of the so-called righteous who brainwash and censor us.
They say there is strangeness, too dangerous In our theatres and bookstore shelves Those who know what's best for us Must rise and save us from ourselves.
First Appearance: You’ll find Witch Hunt on the 1981 record Moving Pictures.
#10 Witch’s Promise – Jethro Tull
About the Song: Considered the most successful progressive rock band of all time, Jethro Tull blended rock, blues, and folk. There was also an eccentricity about them, as seen by lead singer Ian Anderson hopping on one foot while performing. Their quirkiness served them well, though, contributing to their unique music.
“Witch’s Promise” has a folk vibe, and it’s their first song to feature keyboardist John Evan. He plays Hammon organ and mellotron on the song, and he was asked to join full-time afterward.
While the exact narrative of the song is unclear, it seems to be about the dangers of taking a good man for granted. Only, of course, Jethro Tull puts a spin on it, including lines about witches, flying, and being washed clean in the rain.
You're waiting for more but you've already had your share. The witch's promise is turning, so don't you wait up For him, he's going to be late.
First Appearance: Witch’s Promise was on Jethro Tull’s album Benefit, released in 1970.
#9 Wicked Old Witch – John Fogerty
About the Song: While fronting Creedence Clearwater Revival, John Fogerty wrote and sang a lot about the bayou. He’d long loved Southern rock and the Delta blues, both of which often feature songs about devils and hoodoo.
Fogerty’s Wicked Old Witch adds another song to the genre. Though he says everyone is afraid of his witch, frankly, she doesn’t do much that’s scary. The “tombstone mouth,” whatever that is, sounds icky. But if an old lady wants to cackle late at night or fly on a “big old stick,” who are we to stop her?
Flying across the moon On a big old stick Everybody afraid Of the wicked old witch.
First Appearance: Wicked Old Witch is on Deja Vu All Over Again, released in 2004.
#8 Witchy Woman – Eagles
About the Song: This classic was an early hit for the Eagles and also Don Henley’s first hit as a songwriter. Guitarist Bernie Leadon came to Henley with the chord progression, and then inspiration struck in the form of the flu. A feverish Henley jotted down images and ideas.
At the time, he was reading a biography of Zelda Fitzgerald, the famous flapper, writer, and wife of writer F. Scott Fitzgerald. You wouldn’t know it from the song, but he pictured her as he wrote it.
On a side note, Elaine begs her boyfriend to make this their song in the Seinfeld episode, The Checks. He’s obsessed with another Eagles song, Desperado, and refuses.
Woohoo, witchy woman See how high she flies Woohoo, witchy woman She got the moon in her eye.
First Appearance: Witchy Woman was on the 1970 self-titled Eagles album.
#7 Crimson Witch – The Moving Sidewalks
About the Song: The Moving Sidewalks are best known as the band that gave us ZZ Top.
They were a psychedelic, bluesy rock band from Houston until the military drafted two of its members into service. The remaining members, guitarist Billy Gibbons and drummer Dan Mitchell, formed ZZ Top.
The Moving Sidewalks and ZZ Top shared a trippy, bluesy vibe, and Crimson Witch is a great example. In the 60s spirit, the lyrics make little sense and have nothing to do with witches.
Just um, open your little mind up, and see what you are. I've got a hold of, what I am, but I've been hit by a car... or something like that.
First Appearance: The Moving Sidewalks only put out one album, Flash. That was in 1969, and the song Crimson Witch was on it.
#6 Mr. Crowley – Ozzy Osborne
About the Song: The Mr. in this song refers to the English occultist Aleister Crowley. Crowley invented a ceremonial magic system and created a classic tarot deck, the Thoth Tarot.
Like Osborne, he was a divisive figure – to put it mildly. At one time, people considered Crowley the wickedest man in the world. That reputation had as much to do with him bragging about his sex cults and drug use as it did about his religious beliefs.
You can see why Crowley’s story would resonate with Ozzy, who’s known as the Prince of Darkness.
Mr. Crowley winds through blues, funk, and rock, and of course, there’s also cultish chanting in some places.
Your lifestyle to me seems so tragic With the thrill of it all You fooled all the people with magic Yeah, you waited on Satan's call.
First Appearance: Mr. Crowley is on Blizzard of Ozz, Osbourne’s first solo album released in 1980, after leaving Black Sabbath.
#5 Rhiannon – Fleetwood Mac
About the Song: Classic rock’s original witchy woman, Stevie Nicks, wrote Rhiannon. In concerts, she says it’s about a Welsh witch.
Originally, a novel titled Triad inspired Nicks. Written by Mary Bartlett Leader, the book tells of a woman possessed by a Welsh witch named Rhiannon.
Nicks didn’t know at the time that Rhiannon was a popular figure in Welch folklore. Upon learning that, she became haunted by the stories. And you can tell. The song itself is an incredibly haunting tale of the Welch witch.
Nicks, with Fleetwood Mac, delivers a soft rock song with a compelling beat. The backing vocals are crying Rhiannon as Nicks sings through a delicious set of mysterious images.
She is like a cat in the dark And then she is to darkness She rules her life like a fine skylark And when the sky is starless.
First Appearance: Rhiannon was on Fleetwood Mac’s self-titled 1975 album.
#4 Strange Brew – Cream
About the Song: For the first time, Eric Clapton sang lead in a Cream song, and this was it. He sang in a falsetto, and it worked perfectly.
The lyrics are rather cryptic, but they’re either about a toxic woman or a woman who’s a metaphor for drugs. Either way, she’s bad news.
According to the lyrics, her vile deeds include wearing electric blue and “messing in the glue.” Unless that’s code for something, we’re not convinced she’s a hellion. But we still enjoy the song.
Strange brew Kill what's inside of you.
First Appearance: Strange Brew was on Cream’s Disraeli Gears album, released in 1967.
#3 Sisters of the Moon – Fleetwood Mac
About the Song: Naturally, Stevie Nicks earns Fleetwood Mac a second entry. This time it’s for the more psychedelic Sisters of the Moon.
Nicks wrote Rhiannon after reading and studying. This one arose much more spontaneously after an extended jam session. Nicks improvised the lyrics, not even knowing who she was singing about.
When played live, this four-minute track can turn into a jam for upwards of eight minutes. The song has so much going on that it compels at any length. Layers of music and vocals obscure each other, and that’s a big part of what makes this song such a rabbit hole.
Some call her sister of the moon Some say illusions are her game Wrap her in velvet.
First Appearance: Sisters of the Moon was on Fleetwood Mac’s 1979 album Tusk.
#2 Season of the Witch – Donovan
About the Song: One of the coolest things about Season of the Witch is how it blends straightforward folk music and the more psychedelic style that was getting popular.
Donovan’s voice is crystal clear atop a basic chord progression. Then the lyrics get a little strange, and a Hammond organ backs some electric guitar noodling. The combination of folksy and trippy have made Season of the Witch a favorite for all times.
You've got to pick up every stitch. Oh no, must be the season of the witch.
First Appearance: Season of the Witch was on Donovan’s 1966 record Sunshine Superman.
#1 Black Magic Woman – Santana
About the Song: Black Magic Woman was initially a Fleetwood Mac song written by Peter Green. But as far as most listeners are concerned, Santana’s version is the go-to.
Carlos Santana took the bare bones of the Fleetwood Mac song and made it more exotic. In fact, his rendition is a medley with Gábor Szabó’s 1966 instrumental song Gypsy Queen. Santana made the song structure and guitar chords more complex, but the cherry on top is the addition of congas, organ, and piano.
I got a black magic woman Got me so blind I can't see That she's a black magic woman She's tryin' to make a devil out of me.
First Appearance: Santana’s version was on the 1970 album Abraxas. Fleetwood Mac’s original song came out as a single in 1968. It was never on any of their regular albums but has been on some compilations.
Which Classic Rock Song About Witches is Your Favorite?
Witch songs are a lot of fun, whether they’re by a folklore-reading Stevie Nicks or a feverish Don Henley. There’s at least one witch song out there for everybody. Whether you’re making a Halloween party playlist or just cackling at the moon, there’s bound to be some you like. What’s your favorite song about witches?
Sunday 23rd of January 2022
Such a great collection of classic tunes right here!
Thursday 13th of January 2022
Wow I never knew Rhiannon was about witches. Awesome!