AND SO WE BEGIN.
As stated, all month long I'm going to induct 31 "halloweenie" songs into my own "Horror Hall of Fame" in conjunction with the Penguin Awards. So which song is the first recipient of the Batty Award? Well, for the first inductee I chose one of the perennial classics - a song which sooooooooooooo conjures up the meaning of Halloween for me that I thought it only appropriate for this inaugural honour. This is a song which the Rev. Marc Time (of the late, lamented Oregon radio show "SUNDAY MORNING HANGOVER") has called the greatest Halloween song of all time. While that statement can be endlessly debated, the song's worthiness cannot. And so, the very first inductee into the Batty Awards Halloween Hall of Fame is . . .
IT'S HALLOWEEN by THE SHAGGS!
The Wiggins sisters - Dot, Betty and Helen - hoisted their classic album "PHILOSOPHY OF THE WORLD" on an unsuspecting humanity in 1969. They have been described as "...sounding like lobotomized Trapp Family singers" by Rolling Stone magazine and "better than the Beatles" by Frank Zappa. Kurt Cobain thought they were brilliant and Cub Koda described them best when he said "There's an innocence to these songs and their performances that's both charming and unsettling. Hacked-at drumbeats, whacked-around chords, songs that seem to have little or no meter to them ... being played on out-of-tune, pawn-shop-quality guitars all converge, creating dissonance and beauty, chaos and tranquility, causing any listener coming to this music to rearrange any pre-existing notions about the relationships between talent, originality, and ability. There is no album you might own that sounds remotely like this one." Nary a Halloween goes by without hearing this song. "IT'S HALLOWEEN", with Helen drumming in a seemingly different universe than the song her sisters are singing combined with Dot and Betty's dime store-sounding guitars and charmingly direct and unvarnished harmonies seem to me to conjure up visions of a porch on Halloween. The sisters are performing the song on their porch in the flickering light of a jack o'lantern while the trick or treaters toddle up to fill their pillow cases with candy. The crisped and sere leaves blow to and frow and a black cat listens on the porch rail. This song epitomizes what Halloween means to me and for that reason I am inducting it into my Halloween Hall of Fame. Give it a listen over in the box on the right hand column . . . and tune in tomorrow for the second inductee!