Happy Halloween! I don’t know about you, but for me Halloween is synonymous with The Misfits – the horror punk band out of New Jersey fronted by Glenn Danzig from approximately 1977-1983. It has been that way ever since I discovered the band when I was in middle school thanks to a revival in the band long after its demise that saw its familiar Crimson Ghost skull logo plastered on everything. Unknown to me at the time, this was due to a new legal settlement agreed upon by Danzig and original bassist Jerry Only that paved the way for Only to resurrect the band to record new music and release lots and lots of novelty items.
Truth be told, I do not hate the 90’s version of The Misfits that did not include Glenn Danzig. I also don’t like the music that band made, but I don’t begrudge Only and his brother Doyle for wanting to re-launch the band and take another stab at success. The original version of the band was never very popular outside of the punk scene, so it didn’t exactly enrich anyone attached to it. It’s popularity came far later and who wouldn’t want to try and ride that wave? Glenn Danzig had remained in music and made a name for himself with his band, Danzig, and didn’t need to attach The Misfits to his work, but Only probably did. And since he was a big part of the band back in the day he was entitled to do.
With that out of the way, let’s also acknowledge that the only version of The Misfits that matters to me is the one that included both Glenn Danzig and Jerry Only. That duo recorded over 50 songs during the short life cycle of the band, and recorded many more actual tracks as almost every song exists across multiple studio sessions. The band only released two LPs during its life – Walk Among Us and Earth A.D., with a third released well after the fact in Static Age, which would have been the band’s first had they been able to secure a record deal. Otherwise, songs were scattered across various singles or completely unreleased until the late 80s when Danzig was able to secure distribution via Caroline Records. Then came the compilations: Legacy of Brutality, Misfits (referred to as Collection I from here on out), Collection II, and the box set. By the early to mid 90s the entire catalog of The Misfits was available on CD and in record stores a decade after the band’s demise. Almost every recording of every song could be found, thanks to the box set and its “Sessions” CD, and fans could pore through it all. What follows is a ranking of all of those individual songs, including the classics to the not so classics, as well as what release you can find them on the easiest. And where appropriate, I’ll mention what version of the song I think is best, since so many different versions exist. If you want all of the songs for yourself, the easiest way is to get the box set. If you’re not picky about condition or which version you want, its pretty affordable on eBay. If you just want my opinion on one album to get, I’d probably say Collection I is the best single release representation of the band. If you’re an LP purist, then get Walk Among Us.
The Misfits re-formed with Glenn Danzig in 2016 for a pair of shows. They’re set for two more in 2017 with hopefully more to come.
55. Rat Fink – The only cover recorded by The Misfits, it’s just a simple beat with Danzig spelling Rat Fink over and over. It’s a novelty song, but kind of fun to shout along to. Collection II
54. Mephisto Waltz – In some respects, this isn’t even a Misfits song. Recorded by Glenn Danzig and Samhain/Danzig bassist Eerie Von for an eventual release on Collection II, there’s speculation this was supposed to be a Samhain song. It’s history is more interesting than the actual song as it’s really banal and yet another song where the chorus is just a bunch of “whoa’s.” It sounds like it was written, recorded, and mixed in about an hour. Collection II
53. Demonomania – For Earth A.D., The Misfits wanted to more resemble a thrash band than a punk band, even if they weren’t good enough musicians to play true thrash. It’s basically a minute of Danzig screaming some nonsensical lyrics about his father being a wolf and his mother a whore. Earth A.D./Wolf’s Blood
52. Return of the Fly – This is kind of a goofy song, and sort of a novelty one too. It almost has a ska beat to it, and Danzig just lists off the cast members from the actual film, Return of the Fly. Strangely catchy. Static Age
51. Hellhound – Similar to “Demonomania,” but with more substance. It’s still not really a good song, but has some fun time changes. We’re getting close to the better stuff now. Earth A.D./Wolf’s Blood
50. Queen Wasp – Almost the same structure as “Hellhound,” but Danzig screams and snarls his way through this song which gives it some nice personality. It still can’t shake the subject matter of a queen wasp, which is a bit strange. Hot stinger in your back, baby! Earth A.D./Wolf’s Blood
49. Static Age – Interesting subject matter for The Misfits about TV taking over our lives. This was before the whole horror thing took over the band’s image. It’s fine, though a little slower than a lot of the stuff the band is best known for. I feel like it’s almost a really good song, but settles for mediocre. Static Age
48. Hate Breeders – This one is a long song by the band’s standards and kind of shows why the band normally sticks to shorter tracks as it’s just not interesting enough to justify its length. This one just kind of bores me. Walk Among Us
47. Spook City USA – For awhile, this one was only available on the Glenn Danzig solo release Who Killed Marilyn? The Misfits version was finally released with the box set, and it’s the one song exclusive to it. As a justification for buying that set, it’s not worth it. A very straight-forward punk track, the guitar work towards the end makes it a bit more interesting than some. Still, it’s no one’s favorite Misfits song. The Misfits Box Set
46. Hollywood Babylon – An interesting take on Hollywood culture, and one of those songs I remember being shocked at when reading the lyrics – “That’s what he’s saying?!” It’s a bit meandering, and kind of boring, but also not bad. Static Age
45. Halloween II – For some reason, this one has always been Glenn Danzig’s preferred Halloween track over its predecessor, even though it’s kind of a novelty song. The lyrics are in non-standard latin, meaning Danzig basically wrote the song in English and tried to just translate it himself. It’s effectively spooky, more so than “Halloween,” but also never a track I’m particularly excited to hear. Collection II
Released originally as a self-titled compilation, this one has come to be known as Collection I following the release of Collection II.
44. Devilock – These rankings are probably revealing my lack of affection for the Earth A.D./Wolf’s Blood compilation release. Some of those songs are great, and we’ll get to them, and some are bad. “Devilock” is in the middle, and we’re just now getting to the portion of this ranking where things are getting a little bit harder. It’s quick, frantic, and fun though the lo-fi recording makes it hard to figure out what Danzig is singing about. Earth A.D./Wolf’s Blood
43. Cough/Cool – The first recording for the band, “Cough/Cool” originally didn’t even feature a guitar, but electric piano. It possesses some punk imagery, but is almost unrecognizable as an actual punk song. It’s really atmospheric though, especially in its original form. That version can only be found on the original and really hard to acquire Cough/Cool 7″ and in the box set. An over-dubbed version by Danzig and Von is included on Collection II. In some respects, it’s better, but I think it lost some of its moodiness with the improved production values. Box Set/Collection II
42. Braineaters – This little closing number from Walk Among Us is another novelty song, in many respects, but it’s undeniably catchy and a lot of fun to sing along to, even if it is goofy. Like “Cough/Cool,” a re-tooled version by Danzig and Von is on Collection II. It’s faster and a bit more punk in spirit, though not necessarily any better or worse. This is also the only song The Misfits recorded a video clip for that you can find on YouTube with relative ease. Walk Among Us
41. Nike-A-Go-Go – This is a song about some female sex robot with missiles named Nike. Yeah, it’s a bit out there and the song really leans heavily on the “go-go” mechanic, which for me makes it kind of annoying. I might be ranking it too high. Walk Among Us
40. Wolf’s Blood – Originally a separate release, it and the Die Die My Darling tracks were incorporated into Earth A.D. for a meatier release. It’s a pretty vicious song, and a good representation for that era of the band. It’s brief, sounds like it was recorded in a garbage can, but also fun to scream along to. Earth A.D./Wolf’s Blood
39. Theme for a Jackal – A more grounded track about a man abusing the people in his life, it’s probably the most interesting Misfits song from a lyrical perspective. It also has piano throughout, a nice little callback to the band’s original construction, and it has a real 1950s murder/mystery vibe to it. A really cool track, just kind of odd as a Misfits song. Static Age
38. Some Kinda Hate – For a lot of my friends, this is one of the first songs we all learned on guitar. It has a really simple riff throughout, and it’s the first Misfits song to just lean on a collection of “whoa’s” for the chorus. It’s very straight-forward and a good representation for the early version of The Misfits. Static Age
37. She – The B-side on the Cough/Cool single, the original version, like the title track, featured no guitar. Unlike its sister song, the updated version with guitar is the superior one and can be found across a smattering of releases. The original is locked away on the box set. It’s an extremely quick song with no real chorus, but also an excellent track with some nice vocals by Danzig. Static Age/Box Set
36. TV Casualty – Another early era song about television, this one has some of the most descriptive lyrics of any Misfits song which includes a lot of fun references for the nostalgic types out there. Really punk in vibe, with the exception of the tempo which is very mid as opposed to fast. It’s always been one of my personal favorites. Static Age
35. Ghouls Night Out – This is one of those songs that feels like a half-baked idea. They maybe had the melody and general structure, and needed to make it fit the band’s horror image. It’s about zombies eating flesh and all that, but comes across a bit cartoony thanks to its campy chorus. It’s a fine sing-along track, it just feels a bit too silly for me. Collection I
34. Green Hell – This one was made famous thanks to a cover by Metallica. I always kind of wondered why they chose to cover this one as opposed to a better song, but “Green Hell” is one of the better thrash tracks from the band, and that would obviously make it appealing to a thrash band like Metallica. The subject matter is kind of weird, but it works. Earth A.D./Wolf’s Blood
33. Night of the Living Dead – It feels really appropriate for The Misfit to do a song based on the B-movie classic Night of the Living Dead. I love Danzig’s lyrics in this one to describe the zombies, in particular the shredded wheat line. The only thing holding this track back is a solid chorus as it, once again, just settles for “whoa’s.” Walk Among Us
32. Horror Hotel – Another campier horror track from The Misfits, this one works a bit better than “Ghouls Night Out” and has some fun lyrics. The chorus isn’t anything special, just “Horror hotel” shouted over and over, but it’s framed well and accentuated with the “It’s up to me,” line. Another good sing-along song. Collection II
31. Mommy, Can I Go Out and Kill Tonight? – When I was in high school, I would challenge myself to remember Misfits lyrics when sitting in class and would write them on the inside cover of my notebooks. I’ve always been glad no teacher ever found one as if they did and saw the lyrics to this song I probably would have been forced to spend time with the guidance counselor, or worse. And post Columbine who knows what would have happened? This song is exactly as the title suggest and it’s pretty vicious, a sick sort of fantasy. It begins slowly before exploding after Danzig asks the question in the title for the first time. The subject matter is almost too familiar these days, what with all of the senseless mass shootings that go on, but it’s undeniably a signature song for the band and probably its darkest. Earth A.D./Wolf’s Blood
30. Vampira – A campy song about a horror TV host of the same name. This song also has numerous recordings spread throughout the band’s history, though the one on Walk Among Us is probably still my favorite. Tough to say. It’s a great little number though, simple but catchy, and some nice imagery in the lyrics. Walk Among Us
29. Children in Heat – Atypical topic, but hard to refute, “Children in Heat” is all about teenagers and their uncontrollable urge to mate. It’s very up-tempo and extremely catchy, and forever linked with “Teenagers from Mars,” which is only slightly better, because they were recorded in the same take and released together on the Horror Business single. For a time, this was one of my most favorite Misfits songs, and even though it no longer is I still love it. Which means we’re at the part of the list where I’m splitting hairs. Collection II
28. We Are 138 – If The Misfits have an anthem, it’s probably “We Are 138.” The song is mostly just that line, being repeated over and over with increasing intensity. It pauses for a true verse only for a moment, since the song is only 1:41 (why couldn’t they trim just 3 seconds?). It’s a violent mob song, though not as obviously violent as something like “Mommy…,” and an easy crowd pleaser for a live show. Static Age
27. Teenagers from Mars – This is one of Danzig’s best written Misfits songs from a lyrics perspective, just some really fun lines that work well together like “B-film born invasion.” I just wish the chorus was a little better as the verses are just so much more fun than it, it’s like the chorus is letting them down. Collection I
26. All Hell Breaks Loose – This a fun track where you can actually hear Only’s bass driving things along. It rises in intensity as it carries on, though it never gets too explosive. One of the few songs not represented on any compilation which adds to its appeal as it makes a Walk Among Us purchase a little more fun. Walk Among Us
25. London Dungeon – This song is one of the few based on a real-life experience had by the band as they ran into some legal issues while touring the UK. It’s a pretty typical structure for a Misfits song, where a verse is delivered, then returned to with more intensity later on. The unique part of this song is its guitar and bass line which stands out among other Misfits tracks. There’s a 70s sort of groove to it that’s just not found on other Misfits songs. Collection I
24. Angelfuck – This song’s title is responsible for my mom refusing to buy me Misfits albums as gifts when I was a teen. Aside from its use of the F-word, it’s not a song that comes across as very sinister. It’s really catchy and representative of those early Misfits songs that probably would have had more mass appeal with better distribution, and in this case different lyrics. This is a great one though and a song I love, even if it doesn’t fit in with the horror stuff that followed. Static Age
23. Attitude – Another song made famous when a more famous band covered it, in this case Guns ‘N Roses. Though that cover isn’t as popular as it could have been, since Axl doesn’t sing on it. This song gets some heat for being misogynistic since it certainly sounds like the lyrics are directed at a woman and violence being directed at them is implied, “Inside your feeble brain there’s probably a whore/If you don’t shut your mouth you’re gonna feel the floor!” Now, a whore can be masculine, but it’s probably not intended to be. Anyways, I felt that should be mentioned and not ignored, but this song is incredibly catchy and probably the song that got me into The Misfits. I’m still a little ticked off that the then WWF never found a way to incorporate it into any of their Attitude Era stuff. Static Age
22. In the Doorway – This is the last Misfits song to get released. It was recorded during the Static Age sessions, but never released until the retail version of that album was put out in 1996. For some reason, Caroline even withheld it from the box set, making this the only song to not appear in that collection, which kind of ticks me off. Caroline was basically making money off the hardcore fans with that set, and then expected them to re-buy an album included in there just a year later so they could get the last song. They deserve a nice “Fuck you” for that one. This is a good song though, and really unique as it’s very somber and melancholy. I wouldn’t call it a love song or anything, but it’s certainly closer to that in mood than any other Misfits recording. It’s rather brief too, and one of the few Misfits songs that I actually wish was longer, and probably the best vocal performance for Glenn Danzig during his time with the band. Static Age
21. Violent World – Another song that didn’t make it to a compilation, “Violent World” is a straight-forward punk song that makes itself stand out through sheer catchiness. It has a sarcastic sort of chorus with Danzig imploring you to come along to a violent world with him, pitching it like some sort of amusement park. It’s a fun song that gets a little dark with some Nazi mentions, but a song worth getting Walk Among Us for. Walk Among Us
20. American Nightmare – A post break-up release, “American Nightmare” is made unique with its rock-a-billy song structure and Danzig doing his best Elvis impersonation. There’s a clapping track mixed in and it’s possibly the most fun song ever written about being a serial killer. About a decade or so ago, Glenn Danzig and Hank III performed this one live which was pretty cool. Last I checked, the performance could still be found on YouTube. Legacy of Brutality
19. Devil’s Whorehouse – This a is a great song and a good example of The Misfits being both campy and kind of sinister all in one. It’s basically a bondage/S&M song about a literal Devil’s whorehouse. It feels visceral, especially with the slapping sounds tacked on at the end. Walk Among Us
18. Come Back – The longest and one of the slowest Misfits songs, “Come Back” was one that didn’t click with me right away. I needed to hear it many times for it to grow on me and to appreciate it more. There’s a rawness to Danzig’s vocal performance, a sort of pain trapped inside as well as danger that isn’t present really anywhere else. There’s mystery, and desperation roars in at the end, and the song feels unsettling and real. It may not be a typical uptempo Misfits track about zombies or something, but it’s still pretty awesome. Static Age
“We Bite” and “Mommy, Can I Go Out and Kill Tonight” were included on the “Die, Die My Darling” single.
17. We Bite – Everything “Come Back” is not. This one is pure speed with carnal lyrics. Reading the lyrics by themselves, the song feels a bit too campy and too silly, but combine them with the visceral delivery of the band and they take on new life. They almost sound authentic. Earth A.D./Wolf’s Blood
16. Death Comes Ripping – Seemingly one of Danzig’s favorite Misfits songs as he would, from time to time, perform it with his band Danzig. Some great drumming really drives this one and it’s a good song to get a crowd pumping. Also might be the only song I’ve ever heard that references testicle burning. Earth A.D./Wolf’s Blood
15. 20 Eyes – The first Misfits song I ever saw performed by Danzig live was “20 Eyes” in 2005 when Doyle joined him onstage for a show in Boston. The opener to Walk Among Us, “20 Eyes” is a simple track that gets by with sheer catchiness. The song does just enough to keep it interesting for its short duration, and it’s just so damn effective at getting stuck in your head, even if it feels silly and campy. Walk Among Us
14. Halloween – The Misfits are so known for Halloween that it feels like this song is more important to the band’s reputation that it really is. It’s a good song. No – a great one, but also pretty conventional for the band. Danzig delivers the vocals with just the right amount of intensity, and the more pagan approach to the holiday helps at least make it feel a little scary. It was basically a song the band had to do, given its reputation, but I find it funny that when making out a Halloween playlist that this isn’t the first Misfits song I think of, or probably even the fifth. Collection II
The Misfits took their name from the motion picture of the same name, which was Marilyn Monroe’s final appearance in a film.
13. Who Killed Marilyn? – Originally released by Glenn Danzig as a solo effort, the various versions recorded by The Misfits appeared in the box set and on Legacy of Brutality, though for that release it’s unknown how much was overdubbed by Danzig and how much of the band’s original performance is audible. I love this song though, as it hypothesizes on how Marilyn Monroe was murdered so it’s more grounded than other releases. It has a great chorus and a great structure to it. If you want to hear the original Glenn Danzig version you’ll have to track down the Plan 9 single release 7″. It was announced a few years ago the single was set for a re-release, but nothing has come of it. Legacy of Brutality
12. Earth A.D. – The title track for the band’s second LP release, “Earth A.D.” takes that thrash approach and does so in a way the band is capable of handling. A post apocalyptic tale about a desolate and violent future, “Earth A.D.” is another one of those tracks that appears to be a favorite of Danzig’s as he’s performed it with his band over the years. It’s relatively fast, has some descriptive lyrics, and a good chorus to shout aloud. On earth as it is in Hell, baby! Earth A.D./Wolf’s Blood
11. Bloodfeast – The rare slow and brooding sort of Misfits track, especially in the Earth A.D. era. “Bloodfeast” is creepy and sinister befitting of a modern horror movie villain. The song is all about inflicting terror and unease in the listener amid an orgy of blood and sacrifice. It’s a really moody and satisfying listen, I’m surprised Danzig doesn’t perform it more often. Earth A.D./Wolf’s Blood
10. Die, Die My Darling – Originally released as a single, this one was incorporated into later versions of Earth A.D. along with “Wolf’s Blood.” It’s name, like many Misfits songs, is taken from an old B-movie and was made popular in the late 90s by a Metallica cover. It’s one of the band’s signature songs these days, and a worthy song to kick off the top 10. It has a simple structure of introducing a verse/chorus that gets repeated multiple times with rising levels of intensity. With the lyrics being all about murdering someone, that increased intensity works really well to heighten the song’s impact. The single version has been re-pressed and released numerous times, even in the 2000’s. Earth A.D./Wolf’s Blood
9. Bullet – Allegedly, this song got the band banned from Texas. Its lyrics describe the assassination of JFK in gruesome detail and place the blame on the state of Texas before turning into a Jackie-O fantasy in the end. It’s kind of strange, since Danzig would have been pretty young during that time, for him to have a fascination with Jackie-O, but it’s possible his lyrics were more of a reflection of society’s infatuation with her. More likely, the song, like other early Misfits recordings, is designed to get attention by any means necessary. It’s fast and brutal, and if the lyrics were more horror infatuated it would have fit in just fine on Earth A.D. Since it was recorded with the other Static Age tracks, and first released as its own single that was more like an EP than a single, it feels ahead of its time in some respects. Static Age
8. Spinal Remains – For a longtime the only version of this song available was the horrible sounding one on Legacy of Brutality. Thankfully, Static Age restored this one to its original glory as it’s another early era speed song. I love Danzig’s vocals on this one, especially on the pre-chorus lines. It’s got a great tempo and would make for an excellent inclusion on any future Misfits reunion set list. Static Age
7. I Turned Into a Martian – This song seems to pop up a lot among fans as a favorite from the band. When I first heard it, the campy subject matter caused me to kind of dismiss it, but over time I’ve grown to appreciate it more. It possesses a very conventional song structure for a 60s radio hit, and doesn’t possess an overtly punk feel to it. The lyrics are fun, and the song is incredibly catchy. I kind of prefer the original “Plan 9” version of the song from the Sessions disc on the box set, but the original release from Walk Among Us is just fine too. The faster version from Collection I though causes the song to lose a little bit of its charm. Walk Among Us
6. Skulls – Perhaps the signature song of the band, “Skulls” is a short but great one that works well when played fast and when played just a bit slower as it was on Walk Among Us. It’s a silly concept, a guy infatuated with collecting skulls to the point of practically begging for them, but framed with enough slasher imagery to give it credibility. And who knew a song about hanging skulls on one’s wall could be so damn catchy? This was the encore song for the Danzig Legacy show I attended years ago, which speaks to its importance within the band’s catalog. Walk Among Us
5. Last Caress – We’re in the top five, and kicking things off is “Last Caress.” Like “Bullet,” this feels like a song that’s very much trying to get the listener’s attention by being overtly crass and offensive. The opening line is “I’ve got something to say/I killed your baby today” spoken clearly and dramatically enhanced by the rolling drums. Danzig then goes on to sing about raping your mother and reminding you he killed your baby, all the while he sings a chorus so catchy and benign sounding that it defies the viciousness of the verse. This is very much one of those songs that if you could ignore the lyrical content you would swear it’s beautiful. Even the title “Last Caress” implies some sort of tragic end to an otherwise beautiful relationship and it’s easy to romanticize the concept of a last caress. The finish to the song is the capper, and what makes it so memorable, and almost iconic. Static Age
4. Hybrid Moments – Quite possibly the catchiest Misfits song, and that’s saying something. It’s an uptempo track that’s not brutally fast, by any means, and the vocals are prominent in the song and delivered in a soulful performance. This song, as well as many others from the same sessions, demonstrated that Glenn Danzig wasn’t a typical punk vocalist and was capable of a lot more. On any given day of the week, I might tell you “Hybrid Moments” is my favorite Misfits song, and that’s something I can probably say about all of the top six. Static Age
3. Astro Zombies – What sounds like a ridiculous concept for a song is made memorable with a great and unique performance amongst The Misfits catalog. “Astro Zombies” manages to appear like a traditional Misfits song in every way, but sounds unique enough to stand out. It even relies on a chorus of mostly “whoa’s” but pulls it off because the connecting tissue is so good. The lyrics appear silly at first blush, but the performance is delivered in such an authentic manner that you almost believe Danzig is going to destroy the world, with just a touch of his burning hand. Walk Among Us
2. Horror Business – This song, more so than even “Skulls,” feels like it should be the band’s signature song. It’s subject matter, Hitchcock’s Psycho, is appropriate for the band despite the lack of zombies and just the title seems to be a succinct way to describe the band’s approach to song writing and its imagery. And like “Skulls,” it manages to take something violent like stabbing a person and turning it into an extremely catchy chorus. And since Psycho is so well known when compared with other inspirational sources of material for the band, it creates a comforting familiarity that lessens its edge. This easily could have been number one. Collection I
1. Where Eagles Dare – I toyed with the idea of what I should do with the number one song on this list. Should it be a song that I think best represents the band and its horror image, or should I just go with my favorite song by the band? Now, deciding on a favorite song isn’t a simple endeavor either, but in the end since this is my list I decided that my personal preference should carry the most weight. “Where Eagles Dare” is the perfect Misfits song. It’s got build-up, a catchy rhythm, a really catchy chorus, and just enough obscenity to grab the listener’s attention like a good punk song should. This is one of those songs you can play in front of a conservative listener, watch them scoff at it, then catch them singing it to themself an hour later. The simple, but relatable chorus of “I ain’t no god-damned son of a bitch,” is so easy to get into it should be criminal. How Danzig could resist playing this one with his band over the years amazes me because it’s guaranteed to get a huge response from any crowd. It’s the best song out of a great bunch, and if I were attending a Misfits show tonight it would be the song I would want to hear most, which felt like a great way to decide on what number one should be. Collection I
So that’s that. I hope you enjoyed reading over 5,000 words about Misfits songs, which collectively probably do not come close to amounting to 5,000 words. Watch out for candy apples with razor blades tonight and have a happy Halloween!