How many songs about monsters do you think exist?
It’s a popular topic with as many versions, twists, and scenarios as you can imagine.
This genre explores many themes, from the darkness inside our minds to monsters just doing a funny dance. And we’re bringing you some of the greatest.
Let’s slide onto the dance floor!
What Makes Songs About Monsters So Popular?
Songs about monsters are favorites for the same reason as tunes about love. They explore themes that affect us as humans. In addition, a vast range of ideas and emotions associated with scary creatures make for excellent creative fodder.
Humorous songs about monsters could poke fun at the concept, such as Godzilla by Blue Oyster Cult. While others might be dark and ominous, such as Eye of the Zombie by John Fogerty. And some monster hits can be fun and create a new dance craze – like the Monster Mash.
People love monster movies because they like to be scared in a safe environment. Music also provides this safe, creative buffer for us to explore ideas, themes, and moods.
#1 The Purple People Eater by Sheb Wooley
About the Song: This hit was #1 on Billboard for five weeks, but it almost wasn’t released. MGM records rejected it at first. However, a demo reached their office, and the staff loved listening to it during lunch breaks. MGM noticed and decided to give the piece a shot.
It’s about a monster/alien who comes down to earth and eats purple people. He also wants to be in a rock and roll band. A friend told Wooley a joke that inspired him to write the hit in an hour.
I said Mr. Purple People Eater, what's your line? And he said, "Eatin' purple people and it sure is fine" But that's not the reason that I came to land "I wanna get a job in a rock and roll band"
First Appearance: First released as a single in May 1958.
#2 Monster Mash by Bobby Pickett
About the Song: Pickett was an actor and singer who performed in a band called The Cordials. One night during a performance, he did an impromptu impersonation of horror actor Boris Karloff. The audience loved it, so he was inspired to create lyrics including classic horror movie icons such as the Wolfman, Count Dracula, and Igor.
A mad scientist whose creature gets up one evening and starts dancing narrates the hit. The dance is also a variation on the Mashed Potato dance craze of the time. It used the same footwork but added “monster arm” movements. Unsurprisingly, Monster Mash is still a pop culture favorite every Halloween.
The scene was rockin', all were digging the sounds Igor on chains, backed by his baying hounds The coffin-bangers were about to arrive With their vocal group, 'The Crypt-Kicker Five'
First Appearance: First released as a single on August 25, 1962.
#3 Werewolves of London by Warren Zevon
About the Song: Zevon wrote this hit in response to a joke by Phil Everly. During the 70s, he was their bandleader and keyboard player. Everly suggested that Zevon write the words after he watched the 1935 movie, Werewolf of London. Zevon and fellow musicians Waddy Wachtel and LeRoy Marinell all threw down and created the piece in about 15 minutes.
The recorded song also features Mick Fleetwood and John McVie on drums and bass. This great oldie is about different sightings of a werewolf around London and what trouble he’s been causing. The lyrics even made the London Chinese restaurant Lee Ho Fook famous.
I saw a werewolf with a Chinese menu in his hand Walking through the streets of SoHo in the rain He was looking for the place called Lee Ho Fooks For to get a big dish of beef chow mein
First Appearance: Zevon released Werewolves of London on January 18, 1978, on his third studio album, Excitable Boy.
#4 Thriller by Michael Jackson
About the Song: Thriller was written for Michael Jackson by the British songwriter Rod Temperton. It’s a mix of post-disco and funk with a horror movie ambiance. The lyrics are from the viewpoint of a man watching a horror movie with his girlfriend. She’s terrified, and he’s laying it on thick, hoping he can “save you from the terrors on the screen.”
Horror sound effects such as thunder, footsteps, and wind merge with the music throughout the hit, and Vincent price, the horror movie icon, speaks the sequence at the end. The single was certified seven times platinum and is one of Jackson’s greatest hits. Love it or hate it, the video for Thriller is one of the best music videos of all time.
It's close to midnight Something evil's lurkin' in the dark Under the moonlight You see a sight that almost stops your heart
First Appearance: Jackson first released his hit on November 30, 1982, on his Thriller album and again as a single in 1983.
#5 Eye of the Zombie by John Fogerty
About the Song: Eye of the Zombie was released the year after Fogerty’s smash hit Centerfield. It wasn’t received well critically, and Fogerty himself didn’t like the work. However, the piece is solid with his signature raspy thrusting voice and driving intensity.
The lyrics are about the terror of facing down the zombies surrounding their “tribe.” They realize that they can’t win, and they’re helpless. Fogerty’s songs almost always have different levels of meaning, especially considering his political views and activism.
Eye of the Zombie is about terrorism and how it seems to strike without warning, creating a feeling of helplessness and lethargy in the people left behind, waiting for it to happen again.
From out of nowhere he's there, flashing hideous teeth Panic in the crowd, helter-skelter, we're brought to our knees. Back to the darkness, back on the mountain he stands You can't fight a shadow, you can't kill a dead man.
First Appearance: It was the title track on Fogerty’s 4th solo album, released on September 29, 1986.
#6 Scary Monsters (and Super Creeps) by David Bowie
About the Song: This song is about the demons inside us. Bowie tells the story of a woman driven insane by the man she loves. By the tune’s end, he promises to love her until she dies. He created her madness, and he means to kill her with it.
Bowie took the title from an ad campaign for Kellogg’s Corn Flakes. He changed it from Scary Monsters and Super Heroes to Scary Monsters and Super Creeps. Instead of the traditional good versus evil scenario, he subverted that genre and got into the monster’s head.
Now she's stupid in the streets And she can't socialize Well, I love the little girl And I'll love her till the day she dies
First Appearance: It was the title track on Bowie’s 1981 album, also released as a single.
#7 Godzilla by Blue Oyster Cult
About the Song: Godzilla is a tongue-in-cheek homage to the popular monster movie. The lyrics describe how Godzilla rampages through cities and destroys buildings and people alike. He’s got to go!
The video features older Godzilla movie clips showing the creature attacking and killing. The song wasn’t very successful initially, but it’s now one of Blue Oyster Cult’s most famous and covered works.
Helpless people on a subway train Scream bug-eyed as he looks in on them He picks up a bus and he throws it back down As he wades through the buildings toward the center of town
First Appearance: First released on their fifth studio album Spectress, in November 1977.
Creativity Abounds in Songs About Monsters
These songs about monsters are some of the best, but absolutely not the only ones. We also found it interesting that the hits on our list have a unique origin backstory. The scary creature genre is certainly one that lets artists have fun with their creativity.
What’s your favorite monster song? Let us know in the comments!