It's Halloween! And it's a belated edition of Vintage Sunglasses, to match up with the occasion (give a guy a break once in a while, eh?) We'll stay on Monday next week as well before getting back to Thursdays, but let's not get too far are your spooky '80s highlights!
  1. Madonna, "Dress You Up"
    One of the many hits off the Like a Virgin album, and hey look, it's about putting on a Halloween costume! Wait...that's not it? I'm shocked...
  2. Toni Basil, "Mickey"
    Toni Basil was certainly dressing up in this instantly recognizable video, where she wore her high school cheerleading outfit from some two decades prior. And how this song stole the candy from other artists by masquerading around as a #1 hit, I'll never know.
  3. Gloria Estefan & Miami Sound Machine, "Rhythm Is Gonna Get You"
    As you can imagine, some of the songs on tonight's list didn't earn their spots from direct connections to Halloween. But with a first line like "At night, when you turn off all the lights, there's no place that you can hide," I think we can accept this one.
  4. Rockwell feat. Michael and Jermaine Jackson, "Somebody's Watching Me"
    Rockwell is the alias of Kennedy Gordy, son of Motown founder Berry Gordy. MJ had moved on from the Detroit label by this point (this was post-Thriller), but he helped contribute some added star power to this creepy track. Oh yeah, and Jermaine's on it too.
  5. The Manhattan Transfer, "Twilight Zone/Twilight Tone"
    The vocal group's first Hot 100 entry in five years when it hit #30 in 1980, this is certainly an unconventional single -- and it does, indeed, ape the classic Twilight Zone TV theme. Obviously, outside of that, the close, precise harmonies are the highlight here.
  6. Golden Earring, "Twilight Zone"
    This group had but two major U.S. hits, and they came nine years apart, though both were iconic in their own eras: "Radar Love" in 1973 and "Twilight Zone" in 1982. Like the TV show that gives the song its name, there is some narration here that adds to the shiver-up-the-spine nature of the recording.
  7. Stevie Wonder, "Skeletons"
    The heartfelt ballad "You Will Know" seems to have been the more lasting single off Stevie's 1987 Characters LP, but the funky "Skeletons" is probably the better track, and features some of Wonder's best late-career lyrics (can you believe a record released when the artist was 37 is considered late-career? That's what happens when your career starts when you're 12...and you've only put out two studio albums in the last 29 years).
  8. Stevie Ray Vaughan & Double Trouble, "Superstition"
    So here's a more recognizable Stevie Wonder tune, this one done in a terrific live version by Stevie Ray and included on his era-defining Live Alive album. If there ever was a time to be superstitious, Halloween would be it...
  9. The Oak Ridge Boys, "Elvira"
    OK, so this song obviously has nothing to do with the Cassandra Peterson character, but it's from the '80s, so is the character, and I needed to fill a spot. I like this best as a Family Guy joke, but it was a huge hit in its time before being endlessly parodied.
  10. Lita Ford, "Kiss Me Deadly"
    Why is "Kiss Me Deadly" here? Well, that title can't help but freak you out a little bit, plus she did that duet with Ozzy, so...
  11. The Steve Miller Band, "Abracadabra"
    Do kids still dress up as magicians for Halloween? Do they still know what magicians are?
  12. Thomas Dolby, "She Blinded Me With Science"
    This always had a bit of a Frankenstein's monster feel to me, what with all the dialogue, and I'm sure Dolby would agree that SCIENCE! tells us it should be here.
  13. Ray Parker Jr., "Ghostbusters"
    Alright, now we're really cooking. Walk the Moon did the cover for the recent movie remake, but Ray Parker's original remains the definitive version. I mean, you know, with an assist from a Huey Lewis & the News bass line.
  14. John Cougar Mellencamp, "Rain On The Scarecrow"
    From the 1985 album Scarecrow (and in the weird interim space between Cougar and Mellencamp where he went by both names), JCM creates an autumn classic here. It's actually my favorite single from the album, beating "Lonely Ol' Night," "Small Town," and the ubiquitous "R.O.C.K. In The U.S.A."
  15. The Hooters, "All You Zombies"
    Since the Zombies themselves were no longer around by 1985, it's good that the Hooters came along to pay an '80s tribute to a character that's eternally linked with Halloween. One of the many standout tracks on the Hooters' best and most famous album, Nervous Night.
  16. Bow Wow Wow, "I Want Candy"
    Take your Kit Kats and get off my lawn, kids.
  17. Great White, "Once Bitten Twice Shy"
    ...bitten by what, exactly?
  18. Michael Jackson, "Thriller"
    Alright, I get what I deserve. If I haven't kept your attention long enough to get all the way here, or if I made you skip, then that's on me. I could do a Halloween show for a million years and this would always be on it. Also, I saw the video for the first time when I was 6 and it gave me nightmares for a week.
  19. Hall & Oates, "Maneater"
    She'll only come out at night, indeed. A character as described by Daryl and John here is a scary thought!
  20. Billy Squier, "In The Dark"
    Have I sung the praises of the Don't Say No LP? I could go on all is such a solid release that I can't believe it wasn't Squier's debut, i.e. it should have been his approach the whole time. "The Stroke" is the one everybody remembers, but there's this one, "Lonely Is The Night," "My Kinda Lover"...I could go on.
  21. Pat Benatar, "Shadows Of The Night"
    Doing a cappella intros before Whitney Houston made it cool. And what a way to kick off an album (Get Nervous, from November 1982). That album was also the first following the marriage of Pat and her guitarist/producer/co-writer Neil Giraldo, now one of the most enduring and productive unions in rock music.
  22. Steve Winwood, "Don't You Know What The Night Can Do?"
    Yeah, this was used in a beer commercial as Steve sold out a bit near the end of the decade, but that doesn't mean it's not a good song. It's no "While You See A Chance," but not every hit has to be a groundbreaker.
  23. Richard Marx, "Children Of The Night"
    I always want to call this song "Children Of The Corn," but obviously, it's not, and it does shed some light on abuse and poverty. Surprisingly, it didn't climb further up the charts -- only to #13.
  24. The Cure, "Lullaby"
    The Cure is one of my sneaky favorite bands as far as their singles are concerned, and this just might be my favorite of those. To me, it's a distillation of everything everybody always found creepy about Robert Smith. But like the Marx song, it has a deeper meaning hidden in the (excellent) lyrics.
  25. Barry Manilow, "When October Goes"
    There are two things for sure when I do an '80s Halloween list: "Thriller" and this Adult Contemporary hit from 1984 to close down the night. It has nothing to do with the holiday and everything to do with the end of the month. Barry paired a melody and backing accompaniment of his own with unused lyrics from the late Johnny Mercer to create a minor masterpiece.