Music News: Top Halloween songs revealed

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Michael Jackson and friends in a promotional image for 'Thriller.'
Michael Jackson and friends in a promotional image for 'Thriller.' (Epic)
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Above, listen to an episode of The Current's daily Music News podcast. Subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Google Play, Spotify, or wherever else you get your podcasts. You can also sign up for a daily Music News e-mail.


Halloween is around the corner...what are today's top Halloween jams? Billboard crunched the numbers, looking at song streams and radio airplay during Halloween week last year.

At the top? No surprise, it's Michael Jackson's classic "Thriller," a spooky song you can dance to even if you're undead. Number two is Ray Parker Jr.'s "Ghostbusters," the chart-topping theme song to the 1984 comedy. At number three, Bobby "Boris" Pickett still has the world doing his 1962 novelty "Monster Mash."

Beyond that, things get a little less predictable. Top plays include vaguely horror-themed hits like Imagine Dragons' "Demons," Blue Oyster Cult's "Don't Fear the Reaper," and AC/DC's "Highway to Hell" — along with more explicitly seasonal songs like "This is Halloween" (The Nightmare Before Christmas), Warren Zevon's "Werewolves of London," DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince's "Nightmare on My Street," and John Carpenter's Halloween theme. A sequel to the 1978 original is a huge hit in movie theaters right now, with Carpenter revisiting his original score.

Anthony Kiedis ejected from Lakers game

Red Hot Chili Peppers frontman Anthony Kiedis was ejected from an L.A. Lakers basketball game on Saturday after trash-talking a member of the opposing team. Houston Rockets guard Chris Paul was on his way off the court after being ejected due to an on-court brawl, and Kiedis seemingly couldn't resist adding insult to injury and spouting an obscene epithet at Paul.

Despite Kiedis being ejected, his bandmate and seat neighbor Flea came away with positive vibes. On Instagram, he posted: "It Got crazy at the end, but man I get so satisfied, deeply drinking in the depth and beauty of the game. People operating at a high level in so many dimensions. Cerebral, physical, spiritual, emotional, unspoken and telepathic communication." (AV Club)

Loretta Lynn on the mend

Country legend Loretta Lynn, 86, is resting at home after being briefly hospitalized with what her daughter called "a really horrible stomach flu." The illness forced her to miss the CMT Artists of the Year event last Wednesday, where she was honored alongside an all-female slate of distinguished artists. Via social media, she said she was there in spirit. (Billboard)

Ozzy Osbourne bounces back for NYE

A staph infection forced Ozzy Osbourne to reschedule four recent shows on his confusingly-titled No More Tours 2 Tour, but he's ready to rock again: he'll headline a one-night-only New Year's Eve Ozzfest at the L.A. Forum. Also on the bill: Rob Zombie, Marilyn Manson, Jonathan Davis (Korn), and Body Count.

Osbourne's wife Sharon tells Rolling Stone that Ozzy likes to perform in December to distract him from the holidays. "He hates Christmas and he hates New Year's Eve," she says. Nonetheless, the upcoming Ozzfest will feature TBA "holiday festivities."

It won't be the first time Ozzy's acknowledged the holidays: on a TV special in 2003, he joined Jessica Simpson for a unique take on "Winter Wonderland."

Tom Petty park dedicated in Gainesville

A park in Gainesville, Florida has been renamed Tom Petty Park in honor of the late rocker. A renaming ceremony took place on Saturday, on what would have been Petty's 68th birthday. Petty's brother Bruce Petty spoke about the significance of the park: "My brother and I grew up in this park. We played as kids. My cousin reminded me the other day of my remark that it was a sanctuary, and it really was."

Petty's daughter Adria also spoke, saying she'd been thinking of "Gainesville," a song that was recently released as part of an archival Petty box set. The town, she said, "fosters a lot of intelligence and compassion and incredible manners and incredible decency." (Rolling Stone)

Viral clip: Lizzo plays flute, hits the shoot

It's no surprise to longtime Lizzo fans that the singer-songwriter-rapper is also a talented flutist. Lizzo has now racked up four million views on Twitter for a clip of herself playing the hook for a cover of "Big Shot," the Kendrick Lamar/Travis Scott collaboration from the Black Panther soundtrack. Not only does she rock the flute break, she also breaks to join her dancers for some fist-pumping choreography.

"Have u ever seen a bitch play flute then hit the shoot?" she asks rhetorically. The "shoot" is a viral dance inspired by a clip of BlocBoy JB getting down to his song "Shoot." The dance has been caught up in a controversy over the popular game Fortnite appropriating viral rap dances without crediting the dances' creators.


Songs sampled in podcast
Jahzzar: "Comedie" (CC BY 4.0)
BoxCat Games: "Against the Wall" (CC BY 3.0)
Ozzy Osbourne and Jessica Simpson: "Winter Wonderland"
Tom Petty park dedication
Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers: "Gainesville"
Michael Jackson: "Thriller"
Bobby "Boris" Pickett and the Crypt-Kickers: "Monster Mash"
John Carpenter: Theme from Halloween
Lizzo: "Big Shot"
Kendrick Lamar feat. Travis Scott: "Big Shot"