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Top 10 Best 80s Goth Songs

Goth Music may have reached it’s peak in the 1980s, several years after David Bowie “invented” it with his seminal 1970 album “The Man Who Sold The World”. A new generation of artists took his inspiration and found their voice, creating a golden age of dark dirges that you could actually dance to. Here then are the best 80s Goth songs:

“Tainted Love”- Soft Cell

In 1981, while working in the cloakroom of a club called The Warehouse, Marc Almond heard the DJ play Gloria Jones‘ obscure 1964 release of “Tainted Love”. Almond loved the song and recorded it in one take with his creative partner, as struggling Gloom Pop duo Soft Cell. “Tainted Love” rapidly reached number 1 on the UK singles chart, became best-selling single of 1981 in the UK and worldwide hit.

“I loved the title and the opening line: ‘Sometimes I feel I’ve got to run away.’ It summed up how I felt.”- Marc Almond

Today the song is a staple of 80s parties and retro clubs. VH1 ranked “Tainted Love” as number 5 on their 100 Greatest One Hit Wonders of the 1980s. In 2006, Rihanna sampled the song for her smash hit, “SOS”. Below is the song that started it all:

“So Alive”- Love and Rockets

Who the heck backs a sultry, ethereal Goth song with a ballroom cha cha beat? Love and Rockets does, with no apologies. They made this improbable style mix into a huge dance club and radio hit in 1989. Daniel Ash’s low growl contrasts with a female chorus of otherworldly “do do” background chants to create a uniquely irresistible sound. 

Even more unlikely, at a time when acts like Paula Abdul, New Kids On The Block and Gloria Estefan were dominating the Pop charts, “So Alive” broke through to become a top 5 smash. Somewhere the spirit of Tito Puente is looking down and smiling.

“Christine”- Siouxsie And The Banshees

On “Christine”, Siouxsie And The Banshees explore the fun side of mental illness! The lyrics refer to Chris Costner Sizemore, whose childhood trauma, grief and terror led to her “splitting off” into three distinct personalities. Her battle with dissociative identity disorder (DID) was dramatized in an Academy Award Winning role by Joanne Woodward in “The Three Faces of Eve”. Two of Christine’s identities, the Strawberry Girl and the Banana Split Lady, are mentioned in the song.

The Banshees are at their best taking dark material and making it irresistibly catchy. A menacing baseline permeates the song while a single snare drum relentlessly pounds like a throbbing migraine. John McGeoch’s minimal guitar frenetically scatters across it like a spider on a hot web. Near the end, Siouxsie’s specter like voice fades out, disappearing into the ether… or… is it into another persona? 

The song was covered by Simple Minds in 2009:

Honorable mention: “Dear Prudence” (Beatles Cover)- Siouxsie And The Banshees

“White Wedding”- Billy Idol

Gothpunk reached its zenith with this dance floor smash from 1982. Leave it to Billy to turn the happiest day of your life into a frightening nightmare of soul crushing bondage. Sounds like someone should have gotten a prenup! 

One interpretation surmises the song is actually about a former crack addict who has returned to his life of addiction and can’t escape it. The word “white” being used as slang for cocaine. 

In 2002, British Pop Rockers Herman’s Hermits actually covered the song for the 2002 album When Pigs Fly: Songs You Never Thought You’d Hear

There is nothin’ fair in this world

There is nothin’ safe in this world

And there’s nothin’ sure in this world

And there’s nothin’ pure in this world

Look for something left in this world

Start again

Below Billy, guitarist Stevie Stevens and band rock The Hollywood Bowl in 2017.

“The Killing Moon”- Echo And The Bunnymen

As you might expect, “The Killing Moon” is THE perfect background music for contemplating your own inevitable demise. A foreboding bassline and screeching guitar along with Ian McCullouch’s detached crooning are the perfect soundtrack for facing your mortal destiny. Morbid perhaps but The Bunnymen make it sound downright appealing.

According to Wikipedia, the chords of the song were based on David Bowie‘s “Space Oddity”, played backwards.

“When I sing “The Killing Moon”, I know there isn’t a band in the world who’s got a song anywhere near that”.- Ian McCulloch 2003

“I would have loved Sinatra to have had a go at The Killing Moon,” McCulloch confesses. “One of the great things about the song is that it still surprises me when I sing it live. I think it took me 25 years to realise that not only was it about pre- destiny, it was about everything.”- Louder 2017

“Love Song”- The Cure

The kings of ironic “Happy Goth” are in full effect here. But don’t be fooled, these recent Rock Hall Of Fame inductees are still sullen and morose underneath those upbeat lyrics. A spooky organ refrain is backed by feverish violin to create a feeling of yearning, perfectly fitting the song’s motif. 

This Cure masterpiece has been covered by many artists, notably 311 and AdeleMaria Doyle Kennedy’s ballad version (below) emphasizes the pathos and longing of the original prose.

“Love Song” peaked at number 2 on the Billboard Hot 100, making it the group’s most successful single in the US to date.

“How Soon Is Now?”- The Smiths

Johnny Marr’s deep, rumbling, tremolo guitar is punctuated by ear bending pitch changes to simulate the Doppler effect of being passed by a car with a screaming horn on a deserted road. In this bleak landscape, somehow Morrissey makes sheer isolation sound comforting. His cathartic moaning connects to the outsider in all of us, making our loneliness just a little more tolerable. 

Sire Records chief Seymour Stein called this tune “the ‘Stairway to Heaven’ of the Eighties”, while Rolling Stone named it one of the 100 Greatest Guitar Songs ever.

“The tremolo pulse that opens ‘How Soon Is Now?’ is the kind of sound musicians and listeners spend a lifetime chasing after: something never heard before and never successfully replicated since.” – Philip Sherburne, Pitchfork, 24 August 2015.

I am the son

And the heir

Of a shyness that is criminally vulgar

I am the son and heir

Of nothing in particular

You shut your mouth

How can you say

I go about things the wrong way?

I am human and I need to be loved

Just like everybody else does

Check out Love Spit Love’s faithful cover below.

“She Sells Sanctuary”- The Cult

“She Sells Sanctuary” straddles Metal, Britpop and mainstream “Rawk”. Sounding more AC/DC than Duran Duran, The Cult were a throwback to an earlier era. Vocalist Ian Astbury would have fit right in with legendary hard rock bands like Steppenwolf or Deep Purple. It’s not a huge surprise that he later became frontman for The Doors. But somehow, In an era dominated by electronic synthesizers, The Cult fit right in along their New Wave contemporaries. 

The song’s mystical prelude shimmers as a lone echoing guitar creates a desert like mirage. But once the first drumbeat kicks in along with guitarist Billy Duffy’s now famously infectious power riff, you’re hooked. “Sanctuary” is one of the top 100 most danceable songs of the 80s. The song was recently voted No. 18 in VH1‘s Indie 100.

“Enjoy The Silence”- Depeche Mode

How do you nicely tell someone to SHUT THE F*CK UP? Easy, just use the old trick of challenging them to a “Silence Contest”! Because sometimes enjoying the illusion of what you imagine is better than reality interrupting when they do open their fat yapper.

“Enjoy The Silence” is synth lovers dream with a repeating chord structure that seems to represent the futility of being trapped in a cog grinding away in the perpetual machine of life. Singer Dave Gahan just wants to hold you in his arms and enjoy a brief respite before the ugly future comes “crashing in”. DM’s mastery of Pop gloominess is rivaled only by The Cure and possibly The Smiths.

Just missing officially being an 80s song, “Enjoy The Silence” was released in January of 1990. But Martin Gore’s ballad version of the song first hit the studio in 1989 before being reworked. The song is a lynchpin of DM’s catalogue and a staple of their live shows. 

Pitchfork included the song at number 15 on their Top 200 Tracks of the 90s. Tim DiGravina of AllMusic regarded it as one of Depeche Mode‘s “greatest songs”.

Check out  Lacuna Coil’s rocking cover version below.

“Love Will Tear Us Apart”- Joy Division

Ian Cutis’ Headstone- Prestbury Rd, Macclesfield

The penultimate Goth song, “Love Will Tear Us Apart” has it all: angst, hopelessness and suffering expressed by Ian Curtis’ mournful growl. Set to an irresistibly danceable beat, its the perfect love song for the brokenhearted to gyrate to with tears in their eyes.

The video was shot just three weeks prior to Curtis’ death and at the time Joy Division had no idea they were creating a musical milestone. In fact, the legacy of this Manchester band that never toured outside Europe would largely fly under the radar for years to come. 

U2’s Bono on Ian Curtis:

“Talking to Ian Curtis is … or was a strange experience because he’s very warm … he talked—it was like two people inside of him—he talked very light, and he talked very well-mannered, and very polite. But when he got behind the microphone he really surged forth; there was another energy. It seemed like he was just two people and, you know, “Love Will Tear Us Apart”, it was like [when] that record was released … it was like, as if, there were the personalities, separate; there they were, torn apart.”

Joy Division has been a huge influence on countless Alternative bands including NirvanaThe Killers and Interpol. “Love Will Tear Us Apart” is now recognized as an Alt Rock masterpiece. The song receives more airplay now that in its’ heyday. In 2007 NME placed it at number 19 in its list of the 50 Greatest Indie Anthems Ever and In 2015, Pitchfork listed it as number 7 upon their “200 best songs of the 1980s” compilation. 

The original mix was a bit muddy but has been cleaned up in recent years. A 2015 Drew Crumbaugh remix fleshes out sonic details, giving the guitars more depth, the vocals more clarity and overall better sound. See:

Covers of the song have been created been by Paul Young, Even Vast, Soul Asylum, Gavin Rosedale, Fall Out Boy, and Broken Social Scene.

Following Curtis’s suicide, his wife Deborah had the phrase “Love Will Tear Us Apart” inscribed as an epitaph on his headstone.

Below is the one and only official video Joy Division created during its brief career.

Bonus Song #1: “Dance With Me”- Lords Of The New Church

The Lords Of The New Church never got the popularity they deserved but if you like your dirges spooky this is your band. Stiv Bators is looking for a soulmate in all the wrong dark places on this ode to forbidden love. Not sure if he scored but it’s hard to resist a guy with heavy tattoos and piercings who simulates hanging himself on stage. Get in line, ladies.

Like an apparition

You don’t seem real at all

Like a premonition

Of curses on my soul

The way I want to love you

Well it could be against the law

I’ve seen you in a thousand minds

You’ve made the angels fall

“Dance With Me Version II”, an alternative version of the song actually rivals the official radio “hit” version (see below). It’s more keyboard heavy and a bit more danceable.

Honorable Mention: Check out their cover of Madonna’s “Like A Virgin”

Bonus Song #2:“In Shreds”- The Chameleons

The most tragically underrated rock band of the 80s (with the possible exception of The Jam) has many great tracks but “In Shreds” may be the most gripping and compelling of them all. Singer Mark Burgess‘ impassioned vocals relate a life of emptiness and dread with no hope of escape as a sinister driving guitar brings the point home.

Ignored by you all

I stumble and fall

I suddenly knew

My life meant nothing at all

The whore in my bed

The noise in my head

A hole in my pride

It’s coming and there’s nowhere to hide

“…their music was imbued with a sense of anxiety and a longing for the security of innocence.”- Wikipedia

“I remember at the beginning and they were trying to get us to make videos. I’m going, ‘What – you want me to stand up and pretend to play my instrument?’ And they’re like, ‘Yeah, yeah!’ And I’m going, ‘But I work really hard to get good at playing my instrument, why should I pretend to play it? Why don’t you record us playing live? Why should I have to lip-sync and mime and write stupid stories for the videos?’- Mark Burgess Quietus Interview with Julian Marszalek, April 2014

Bonus Song #3: “This Corrosion”- Sisters Of Mercy

The 40-piece background choir’s drone of impending doom seems to be lifted directly from “O Fortuna” from the operatic Carmina Burana. While the cantata song laments the inescapable power of fate, The Sisters seem to celebrate the looming, inevitable, corrosion of your soul. If this is what the end sounds like, bring it on.

In an interview with Sounds magazine, Sisters leader Andrew Eldritch stated, “It’s about people who sing about the revolution while selling it short, about people who sing about the corrosion of things while they themselves are falling apart. People who miss the point… It’s also stupidly over-the-top bombastic, but rightly so.”

“I think rock’n’roll should scare your mother.”- Andrew Eldritch

I got nothing to say I ain’t said before

I bled all I can, I won’t bleed no more

I don’t need no one to understand

Why the blood run, hold

The hired hand

On heart

Hand of God

Floodland and Driven Apart

Run cold,




Like a healing hand

For more info on 80s music click here:

Ringo- The Best Drummer Of All Time?

Ringos Beat Goes On
The short answer is “no”, but a recent LA Weekly article ( suggests Mr. Starkey is finally being recognized as one of the premiere drummers of his era. Ringo was often the butt of many a joke, even John Lennon once quipped, “He’s not even the best drummer in the band!”. In retrospect, Starr is finally being given his due by music journalists and Rock aficionados as a talented and integral part of the most famous band in history.

The author of this article falters when he goes on to claim that McCartney and Lennon were two of the finest singers of their era. McCartney and Lennon WERE two of the greatest writers of ANY era but great singers they were not. McCartney could carry a tune and certainly had a pleasant, if unremarkable, voice.

I’m a huge Lennon fan- he was a great ROCK singer- which is more about ATTITUDE than technical ability, range or tone. LA Weekly Writer Scott Timberg may need to take a remedial course on music of the 60s. “Finest” singers of the era would be more Tony Bennett, Aretha Franklin, Dionne Warwick, Roy Orbison. If Lennon were not in a talented band there’s no way he would have made it as a singer. He’d probably be the first to admit that. Lennon made the most of what he had, though- his inflection and throaty passion powering many now classic songs.

It seems that while Ringo didn’t get the recognition he deserved at the time, he is lucky enough to have survived long enough to bask in it now. The debate over “greatest Rock drummer” is sure to rage on indefinitely. For certain, Ringo WAS the perfect fit for a little band from Liverpool that changed the world.

A New Home For Rodney On The Roq

DJ Rodney Bingenheimer was a holdover from the last great era of Rock And Roll. His weekly “Rodney On The Roq” program was the only remaining thread linking KROQ FM to it’s glorious peak in the 1980s. While the whole of KROQ ceased to be groundbreaking decades ago, Rodney continued on carrying the torch for Punk, Alternative and Avant Guard artists until finally, he was told to pack up his headphones and leave in June of 2017. Since the legendary KROQ stopped being relevant sometime in the 90s, it’s a miracle Rodney hung on as long as he did.

rodney on sirius

The list of bands Bingenheimer broke in America is impressive and unending. Blondie, Cheap Trick, Joan Jett, Duran Duran, The Ramones, Go-Go’s, The Bangles and Dramarama are just a few. The good news is, the “Mayor Of The Sunset Strip” has now joined his fellow former KROQ stalwarts like Richard Blade, Swedish Egil and Sluggo on Sirius XM. Like the old days, Rodney can still be heard on Sundays. Now he’s on Little Steven’s Underground Garage- channel 21 at 6:00 PM PST.

Rodney Bingenherimer’s final Rodney on the Roq playlist, June 5, 2017:

Tiger’s Jaw: “Follows”

The Woolly Bandits: “Hard To Forget You”

The Fontaines: “Mercury”

Lola Blanc “Real Boy”

Honeychain: “Going Through Your Purse”

The Dollyrots: “Dance Like a Maniac”

The Pandoras: “I Wan’t My Caveman”

Van Halen: “Runnin’ With the Devil”

The Suburbs: “Hey Muse!”

Single By Sunday: “It is What it is”

The Vaccines: “Teenage Icon”

The Ramones: “Blitzkrieg Bop”

Black Flag: “TV Party”

Blondie: “My Monster”

Beck Black featuring Tony Valentino: “You’re Never Gonna Stop Me”

Skating Polly: “Louder in Outer Space”

Sløtface: “Magazine”

The Jesus and Mary Chain: “Just Like Honey”

The Bangles: “Getting Out of Hand”

Dog Party: “Round ‘N’ Round”

The Go-Go’s: “The Whole World Lost Its Head”

The Regrettes: “Lacy Loo”

Siouxsie and the Banshees: “Hong Kong Garden”

The Regrettes: “Teenager in Love” (Dion and the Belmonts cover)

The Tearaways: “Name That Tune”

The Jesus & Mary Chain: “Surfin’ USA” (Beach Boys cover)

Travis: “Coming Around”

The Moon Kids: “Something Spectacular”

Joan Jett & The Blackhearts: “Bad Reputation”

The Röxy Suicide: “Radio Lies”

Me First and the Gimme Gimmes: “Sloop John B” (Beach Boys cover)

Fire in the Radio: “New Air”

Reverend Horton Heat: “Let Me Teach You How to Eat”

The Routes: “No Permanence”

Elvis Costello: “Watching the Detectives”

Here Kitty Kitty: “Lift Off”

Satellite Sky: “Who Do You Love?”

Fiona Silver: “Housewife”

The Postmarks: “7-11” (Ramones cover)

Silvia Black: “I Wanna Be Sedated” (Ramones cover)

The Atomics: “Voulez Vous”

Ninet: “Superstar”

The Donnas: “School’s Out” (Alice Cooper cover)

The Atomics: “Let’s Live For Today” (The Grass Roots cover)

Artbreak: “Will to Survive”

Roxy Music: “Virginia Plain”

St. Tropez: “I Wanna Live in St. Tropez”

Cotton Mather: “Girl with a Blue Guitar”

The Jigsaw Seen: “The Best is Yet To Come” (Frank Sinatra cover)

Al Jardine: “P.T. Cruiser”

All We Are “Human”

Death Valley Girls: “Love Spell”

Fuzzy: “Girl Don’t Tell Me” (Beach Boys cover)

The Fontaines: “Mercury”

The Monkees: “Porpoise Song”

Los Angeles DJ

Orange County DJ

Punk Rock Xmas

It’s been said that Christmas and Punk Rock go together like sunshine and darkness. There is something downright appealing about opposites attracting… and about the musical spirit of rebellion embracing timeless traditions, even if it is to parody, satirize, and spit in their eyes.

Check out this playlist of alternative artists covering heartfelt holiday classics. You will probably smile, you might laugh and… perhaps even get a tear in your eye… or some spit…

DJ Craigs Punk Xmas Playlist

When you think about it, slam dancing, moshing and crowd surfing are A LOT like holiday gift shopping. They both involve bodies slamming together, abandonment of personal boundaries and throwing safety to the wind.


Blue Christmas (Ho-Ho Let’s Go!)- Ethan Luck
Merry Christmas, Baby (Please Don’t Die)- Crocodiles & Dum Dum Girls
Run Run Rudolph – The Dollyrots
Away in a Manger- Hyperbubble
Jingle Bells- X
Silver Bells- The Yobs
Little Drummer Boy- The Tumbleweed Pimps
I Won’t Be Home For Xmas- Blink 182
Feliz Navidad- Billy Ruffian with Mike Chavez Dawson
All I Want for Christmas Is You- The Dollyrots
O Come All Ye Faithful- Weezer
Its A Holiday- Love Crushed Velvet

Loveable local heroes, The Dollyrots, make two appearances with the raucous, “Run, Run Rudolph”, and “All I Want For Christmas Is You”. Billy Ruffian channels Johnny Rotten on “Feliz Navidad” and the legendary X sounds so surprisingly homey with their rendition of “Jingle Bells” that you might want to sing along. Blink 182 laments the stress and hustle of “the happiest time of the year”, Weezer turns “O Come All Ye Faithful” into a Ska infused Punk sendup and The Yobs put lots of attitude on “Silver Bells”– the only holiday song I can think of that has the “C” word in it. What can I say- these ain’t your mothers Christmas carols.

The Gift Of David Bowie

“Trust what makes you different.”– David Bowie

David Bowie pioneered “disruptive technology” decades before it became a popular buzzword. He then applied it to his OWN creations. Each new Bowie incarnation (no matter how successful) would be unceremoniously replaced with a new sound and persona to go with it, in rapid fire style. In the span of just 6 years, he went from Flower Child to apocalyptic Goth to Dylanesque rocker to Punk space invader to Aladdin Sane to doomsday dog to Plastic Soul singer and to introspective Krautrocker. The changes kept coming after that as avant guard Troubadour, bleach blonde Pop star, Goblin King, Metalhead,  Industrial Rocker, dapper Elder Statesman and finally, reclusive Rock idol. He was also cast in acting roles as a space alien, gigolo, vampire, Elephant Man, WWII POW, Andy Warhol and Nikolai Tesla. Now that’s a LOT of makeup!


Bowie’s seemingly chaotic artistic flux became just another reason to pay close and constant attention to The Starman. With each new identity and sound he created the underlying message was, Jump aboard now cause if you miss this train there may never be another like it. While jettisoning a successful formula results in career suicide for most Pop stars, Bowie used unpredictability and surprise as his marketing strategy, creating suspense and an ever growing interest in his ongoing evolution. The result was the kind of word of mouth viral advertising today’s Facebook executives would kill for. Bowie collaborator Ken Scott said, “Most artists, if they’re successful, they stick to that plan, because they’re worried that they’ll suddenly lose their fans. But David’s attitude was always, ‘I’m going to do what I want to do and hope they come along with me, but if they don’t, they don’t.’ That’s truly unique and totally courageous, especially in music.”

“Considering that he was coming off the Ziggy album, which was all guitar-based, just a few months before, and now he was onto something piano-based and really unusual, it’s really extraordinary for an artist who was just starting to have hits to rip up his formula and create something totally different.” -Pianist Mike Garson


The influence of Bowie’s experimentations in music and fashion almost single handedly created the DIY, New Wave revolution of the 80s. He inspired countless numbers of artists to follow their own visions including Joy Division, Blondie, Duran Duran, Madonna, U2, Oasis, Nirvana, Radiohead, Arctic Monkeys, Lady Gaga and even Kanye West. In 2005, Bono of U2 told Rolling Stone magazine, “Bowie was much more responsible for the aesthetic of punk rock than he’s been given credit for… As a teenager,” Bono says, “Bowie was our Elvis.”

Punk and New Wave then gave rise to the term “Alternative Music” to describe a genre of rock music that emerged from the independent music underground of the 1980s. Artists that created edgy, non-mainstream music that often dealt with difficult subject matter became widely popular in the 1990s and 2000s. Prior to that, Bowie WAS the Alternative. Something he had been doing with great success since the 60’s.

“We are all Bowie’s children.” -Pet Shop Boys


For all the cold detachment of The Man Who Sold The World, Ziggy and the Thin White Duke, Bowie endeared himself to fans worldwide as his music often empathized with the alienated and commiserated with the lonely. People who in some way felt different, ostracized, oppressed or misunderstood (which is probably all of us at one time or another) found solace and connection in messages from the ultimate outsider. This English bloke inhabiting a series of bizarre characters and bravely putting them on display made it a little more ok for us to embrace our inner freak.

“You’re NOT alone!”, screamed Ziggy Stardust on the album’s closing track, “Rock ’n’ Roll Suicide”, while also claiming, “You’re wonderful”. Many have cited Bowie as an inspiration for them to believe in themselves and follow their own dreams. To accept themselves, flaws and all and continue to evolve.

Oh no love, you’re not alone

You’re watching yourself but you’re too unfair

You got your head all tangled up but if i could only

Make you care

Oh no love, you’re not alone

No matter what or who you’ve been

No matter when or where you’ve seen

All the knives seem to lacerate your brain

I’ve had my share, I’ll help you with the pain

You’re not alone 

Just turn on with me and you’re not alone

Let’s turn on with me and you’re not alone (wonderful)

Let’s turn on and be not alone (wonderful)

Gimme your hands cause you’re wonderful (wonderful)

Gimme your hands cause you’re wonderful (wonderful)

Oh gimme your hands

-Rock ’n’ Roll Suicide


Bowie changed the world by subversion rather than conversion. The man took huge risks, hell, he even wore dresses at a time when cross dressing was still considered a form of serious mental disease. Acting or looking  “metrosexual” back then could easily be met with hostility if not outright violence. But he wasn’t out to argue, convince or proselytize to anyone. He simply presented ingenious personas that were somehow believable, combined with relentlessly inventive music to infiltrate willing minds from the INSIDE. Once a person began toe tapping to one of his songs or subconsciously reciting his lyrics, a door to personal enlightenment opened. If you liked a Bowie song then at least some small part of you identified with him or whatever alter ego he was currently possessed by. Whether or not you or others thought he was weird began to matter less and less. Eventually, accepting his differentness helped you accept your own and made you feel as though maybe you weren’t so strange after all. Director Julien Temple recently said, “We should remember Bowie as a great human emancipator on the Bolívar or Mandela scale. An emotional liberator of people. He was the patron saint of the outsider, the uninvited and the misfit. All those lonely teenagers in each generation, unsure of who, or what they could possibly be – or become. In other words all of us.”

He encouraged and collaborated with countless others including John Lennon, Bruce Springsteen, Freddie Mercury, Mick Jagger, Peter Frampton, Bing Crosby, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Lou Reed, Iggy Pop, Luther Vandross, Cher, David Gilmour and Annie Lennox. Beyond breaking down barriers in the performance realm, perhaps David Bowie’s greatest gift was as human protagonist- offering to help anyone willing to listen to his music break down their own inner prejudices and preconceived notions about personal limitations,  expanding what they might actually think possible for themselves.

On behalf of the rest of the humans I’d like to thank you, Starman.


In tribute, here’s a live cover of Bowie’s “Heroes.” Please consider making a donation to the American Cancer Society in memory of David Bowie. Text HOPE to 20222 to make a $5 donation or give at

Click here to download: “Heroes” -Toadies Free David Bowie Cover Download

A Free Musical Holiday Gift!

orange county holiday music

Pop star Jennifer Paige’s Holiday EP is available at Noisetrade, get it while it’s still FREE!:

Paige can sing with the best of them without resorting to the type of ear-bending vocal contortions that are all too common these days among many Pop divas. She lets her smooth style draw the listener in and her choice of material is appropriate for all ages. On this holiday recording, Jennifer mixes traditional Christmas favorites with originals and offers it up as a free gift to you!

The music is FREE and 50% of all tips go to Blood:Water to help end Aids and the water crisis in Africa.

Jennifer’s take on “O Come, O Come Emmanuel” features a soulful and uplifting facelift, mixing bluesy guitar, a reggae beat and soaring background vocals.

“Deck The Halls” has an invigoratingly updated rearrangement while keeping the spirit of the original song, ukelele and xylophone notwithstanding.

“Happy, Happy Holidays To You” is an original song of the season that will have you smiling and tapping your toes.

More Free Holiday Music:

Chuck Berry’s classic, “Run Run Rudoloph”, is given the Punk treatment by The Dollyrots– LA’s favorite female fronted band.

Christmas Goes Electro!

“Go Tell It On The Mountain” -Shuree

Traditional Gospel song is revamped with a funky house beat and catchy synths to create Electro-Holiday fun.

Jars Of Clay Holiday

Jars of Clay, along with friends Angel Snow, Kyle Andrews, Shannon LaBrie, and Danny Leggett perform “Christmas for Cowboys”, “O Holy Night”, “Next To You”, “My Snow Angel”, “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree”


What Child Is This (Greensleeves) -Tony Elman

A spirited acoustic guitar, piano and flute make this the perfect instrumental for enjoying eggnog with loved ones around the fireplace.

xmas dj

Caleb Carlson has a warm vocal style very similar to Michael Buble. Check out his takes on these three Christmas classics:

O Come, O Come, Emmanuel

O Holy Night

The First Noel


free christmas music

Jetty Rae has drawn comparisons to Corinne Bailey Rae for her sweet and sensuous singing. Bonus- the song “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas” contains a hidden track! When the song is over, let it continue to play and you’ll hear Rae sing a heartfelt rendition of “Auld Lang Syne”.

Little Drummer Boy

Holy Night

Christmas Kiss

More Than December

Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas (+ Secret Bonus Track)

Download and enjoy. Happy Holidays!

Halloween Dance Music Party Playlist

Halloween Party Playlist

Creating the ultimate Halloween party song list is harder than convincing Dracula to try a tanning booth. One feels compelled to include the low hanging musical fruit of songs Like “Monster Mash” and “Ghostbusters” because of their wide appeal. Then there’s the more obscure songs that aren’t necessarily crowd pleasing, dance floor stompers but really capture the spooky essence of All Hallows’ Eve. Consider Tom Waits’ chilling “Black Box Theme” or the foreboding “Eyes Of A Stranger” by 80s one hit wonders, The Payolas.

The following two lists feature a wide range of spooky songs spanning many eras. The first list has songs for early part of the party, while your invited ghouls and goblins arrive. Listening to these while they canoodle and enjoy cocktails will get them in the mood for the fun to follow. Below that are the songs that will blast your shindig into another dimension and have spirits haunting your dance floor until the wee hours!

Halloween Background Music (List 1):

Halloween- SpaceCapital
Spiderwebs- No Doubt
Happy House- Siouxsie & the Banshees
Super Magic 2000- Chris Isaak
T’ain’t No Sin- Tom Waits
Beware Of Darkness- Concrete Blonde
Dance With Me- Lords Of The New Church
Planet Claire- The B-52’s
So Alive- Love and Rockets
Tear You Apart- She Wants Revenge

Dead Souls- Joy Division
Shadowplay- The Killers
About Her- Kill Bill Soundtrack
Dead Sound- The Raveonettes
The Killing Moon- Echo & the Bunnymen
You’re The Devil In Disguise- Elvis Presley
Black Magic- Magic Wands
Vultures- Nicole Atkins
I Wanna Kill- Crocodiles
Thriller (Luvtek Remix)- Michael Jackson

The Munsters Theme- los straitjackets
Evil Things- The Black Angels
This Is Halloween- The Citizens of Halloween (Nightmare Before Christmas Soundtrack)
Black Magic Woman- Dave Rolfe
(Don’t Fear) The Reaper- Caesars
Black Flowers- Chris Isaak
Body Snatcher- Billy Idol
Halloween- Siouxsie & the Banshees
Spooky- Classics IV Featuring Dennis Yost
Destroy Everything You Touch- Ladytron

Werewolves Of London- Warren Zevon
Spellbound- Siouxsie & the Banshees
Godzilla- Blue Oyster Cult
They Walk Among Us- Mark Mosher
Running With The Devil- Van Halen
Nightmares- Band Of Skulls
Wicked Game- Chris Isaak
Stranger In The House- Blessure Grave
I Think I’m Paranoid- Garbage
Possession- Sarah McLachlan
I Put A Spell On You- Buddy Guy featuring Carlos Santana
In The Dark- Simalyne
Clap For The Wolfman- The Guess Who

Halloween Dance Party Music (List 2):

I’m Your Boogie Man- KC & The Sunshine Band

This 70s Disco classic can still resurrect the dance floor and have zombies and vampires alike bumping and grinding.

Eaten By the Monster of Love- Sparks

The Mael brothers sing about the perils and pitfalls of romance backed by an irresistible beat. Don’t let it get you!

How Soon Is Now- The Smiths

A foreboding tremolo guitar riff punctuated by a howling lead sets the tone for Morrissey’s ode to nightmarish isolation. Even Edgar Allan Poe thinks this song is a bit dark.

Hungry Like The Wolf- Duran Duran

Step off, Wolfman! These New Wave legends are on the prowl looking for prey and they don’t need a full moon to activate their lust for flesh.

Freaks Come Out At Night- Whodini

80s funkmasters Whodini add an ass shaking beat to inspire freaks of all kinds.

Twilight Zone- Golden Earring

Ever feel out of place? Rod Serling capitalized on feeling weird with his now classic TV show long before it inspired this song.

L’il Devil- The Cult

Ian Astbury and his hard rocking bandmates revel in the joy of loving a she-devil.

Witchcraft- Frank Sinatra

Yes, it’s a Foxtrot, deal with it. Magic broomstick not required.

Everyday Is Halloween- Ministry

Years before Ministry got all Industrial they released this catchy song that eventually went viral and became an anthem for Goths and Darkwavers. The song had such lasting appeal it was even re-released in 2010, 26 years after it’s initial debut. Lyrics:

“Well I live with snakes and lizards
and other things that go bump in the night
‘Cuz to me everyday is Halloween
I have given up hiding and started to fight”

White Wedding-  Billy Idol

A driving beat, Stevie Stevens bristling guitar and Billy Idol’s snarling vocals make this Gothpunk anthem the perfect song for otherworldly dancing and unleashing dark desires.

Highway To Hell- AC/DC

“We’re on our way to the promised land…” and it doesn’t include any pearly gates. Brian Johnson and company celebrate their descent into Hades on their way to an inevitable hot tub party with Beezlebub.

E.T. (Futuristic Lover)- Katy Perry

Katy makes getting probed by an alien sound like fun, regardless of what you saw on the SciFi channel.

Bad Moon Rising- Creedence Clearwater Revival

Don’t say you weren’t warned- John Fogerty’s upbeat bayou infused Swamp Rock belies the message here. But hey, if armageddon is coming you might as well live it up!

Superstition-  Stevie Wonder

Co-written by guitarist Jeff Beck, the song features an addictive beat, grinding clarinet riff and dual horn section that turned it into a huge hit for Stevie in 1972. Believing in things you don’t understand has never been more funky.

Strangelove- Depeche Mode

Danceable detachment from 80s TechnoGoth gods. On this song they manage to make falling in love sound like as scary as Frankenstein on a bad hair day.

Devil Inside- INXS

Aussie rockers exercise their inner demons on the dance floor with this high energy ode to sin.

Psycho Killer- Talking Heads

Just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they’re NOT out to get you. This anxiety ridden song is one reason why David Byrne is the Norman Bates of Rock.

The Time Warp- Rocky Horror Picture Show

“It’s astounding!…” It’s just a jump to the left… and a kick to the right. Garter belts are optional while dancing to the theme song of the biggest cult classic movie ever.

Thriller- Michael Jackson

A monster party mainstay… but do you remember how to do the Zombie Dance from the video?

Dead Man’s Party- Oingo Boingo

The grandaddy of Halloween songs. A possessed Danny Elfman sings like the beady eyed, ADHD kid down the block who got too much Ritalin.

Monster Mash- The Misfits

Frenetic Punk cover of the classic hit. Save this one for AFTER midnight to whip your ghoulish dancers into a frenzy.

Halloween DJ

Top 10 Best Party Songs Of The 90s

With the growing popularity of both 90s cover bands and 90s Flashback Nights at more and more nightspots, the music of the decade before Y2K is the NEW Oldies. While some of these performers are still around, many disappeared faster than you can say “Hootie And The Blowfish”. Nostalgia is in and if you’re planning a Nineties Party here are the Top 10 Best Party Songs Of The 1990s!

“California Love”- 2Pac

Tagline: California, knows how to party

A driving keyboard loop and addictive beat power the definitive song signaling the rise of West Coast Hip Hop culture in the 90s. Originally a Dr. Dre song, 2Pac’s vocal swagger makes it his own and helps create the Gangsta Rap genre.

“U Can’t Touch This”- MC Hammer

Tagline: My-my-my-my music makes me so hard makes me say oh my Lord
Thank you for blessing me with a mind to rhyme and two hype feet

One part Guilty Pleasure and one part funky rap track, Hammer stole the baseline from Rick James’ “Super Freak” and never looked back. It will have you hoping for the day that muscle pants come back into vogue but PLEASE leave the fanny pack at home!

“Baby Got Back”- Sir Mix-a-Lot

Tagline: My anaconda don’t want none unless you got buns hun

Anthony Ray changed his name and released a string of forgettable Hip Hop songs in the 80s. Then in 1991, He struck Gold with “Baby Got Back”, a song worshipping female curves in clever yet somewhat graphic description. The song continues to be one of the most requested at parties, clubs and weddings.

“Mustang Sally”- Commitments

Tagline: Mustang Sally
guess you better slow your Mustang down

This gritty, Blues inspired Rock song is a revamp of a Wilson Pickett Oldie. It has the perfect tempo to freestyle dance to… or Electric Slide (remember that?) The Commitments movie won a Golden Globe Award for Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy and for the Academy Award for Best Film Editing in 1991.

“Wannabe”- Spice Girls

Tagline: If you wanna be my lover, you gotta get with my friends

A female version of a 90’s Boy Band, The Spice Girls will never be known for insightful lyrics or great singing but for mindless fun, this is as good as it gets. Tell me what you want, what you really really want…

“Here Comes the Hotstepper”- Ini Kamoze

Tagline: Here comes the hot stepper
I’m the lyrical gangster

13 years after his first single was released, the Jamaican reggae singer hit it big with “Hotstepper”. The drums and bass mimic a synchronized heartbeat as Kamoze raps over the top of this Dancehall inspired smash.

“Whoomp! (There It Is)”- Tag Team

Tagline: There’s a party over here
A party over there
Wave your hands in the air
Shake your deriere

The lyrics, “Partee Peepoooooooole…” hook you in from the first note and the throbbing baseline keeps you glued to the dance floor. “Whoomp! There It Is” became a worldwide meme as the song’s popularity soared.

“Enjoy The Silence”- Depeche Mode

Tagline: Words like violence Break the silence
Come crashing in Into my little world

These Goth inspired 80s icons scored big with this murky, synth driven dirge which simultaneously demonstrated their continued longevity and signaled the end of the New Wave era. Dark yet danceable, the song has also been faithfully covered by Anberlin, Tori Amos, Keane and Lacuna Coil.

“Smooth”- Santana Feat. Rob Thomas

Tagline: Man, it’s a hot one
Like seven inches from the midday sun

Don’t call it a comeback! This crossover juggernaut took Santana from all but forgotten 70s Rock legend to the top of the charts in 1999 and introduced his music to new generations of fans. The song’s fusion of Latin and Rock simmers with Rob Thomas’ seductive vocals adding even more steam.

“This Is How We Do It”- Montell Jordan

Tagline: This is how we do it
It’s Friday night, and I feel all right

This perennial party favorite never fails to jam the dance floor with it’s irresistible beat and Funk rhythm. The now 20 plus year old one hit wonder can currently be heard on Dish TV commercials and at parties everywhere.

“Never There/ Short Skirt/Long Jacket” -Cake

Tagline: I want a girl with a short skirt and a lonnnng jacket……

These 90s Rockers had a short string of hits delivered in John McCrea’s deadpan vocal style. Post 80s emotional detachment has never been so much fun!

“Ice Ice Baby”- Vanilla Ice

Tagline: All right stop, Collaborate and listen
Ice is back with my brand new invention

A catchy bassline so blatantly stolen from “Under Pressure” by Queen and David Bowie that eventually Vanilla Ice had to publicly admit it, this one hit wonder continues to be one of the most popular Guilty Pleasures in history. The rapper formerly known as “Rob Van Winkle” was once so notable Madonna actually dated him for several months in 1990. A string of run-ins with the law hasn’t tarnished the popularity of his song but like Vanilla Ice, it’s great fun for a minute then quickly loses it’s appeal.

Bonus Song:

“Santeria”- Sublime

Tagline: I don’t practice Santeria
I ain’t got no crystal ball

The perfect Reggae inspired ditty for sharing a 40 ouncer at the beach while dancing around a campfire. Straight outta Long Beach, Sublime’s discography also includes hits “Wrong Way” and “What I Got”.

Honorable Mentions: “Baby One More Time”- Britney Spears, “Humpty Dance”- Digital Underground, “Tearin’ Up My Heart”- N Sync, “Return of the Mack”- Mark Morrison, “Jump Around”- House Of Pain, “Treat ‘Em Right”- Chubb Rock, “Just A Girl”- No Doubt

Ultimate Uplighting- How To Uplight A Rocket!

Uplighting a room for a wedding or special event is one thing. Uplighting an 85 foot high, multistage Delta Space Rocket is another!

That’s exactly what The Alzheimer’s Association Of Orange County had in mind for Alzheimer’s Week. To increase awareness, they contracted me to light the rocket at The Discovery Science Center in Santa Ana, CA. Since their logo is purple, they wanted the color of this landmark to match.

Purple is one of the most difficult colors because it is not very vivid- it’s next to BLACK on the color scale. I was concerned about the lights having long enough “throw” and being bright enough to light the entire rocket. The other challenge was that there was NO power available at the location. A power generator was out of the question as there was no way to secure it for the week. It would have been exposed to the elements and a target for potential vandalism and theft.

Thinking outside the box, I came up with a solution that just might work. I decided to run the lights off car batteries. After some experimentation, I used two batteries and two power inverters to light four powerful LED uplights. These batteries had enough juice to last through the night but needed to be replaced or recharged each day. This meant logging a few miles on the freeway every day to retrieve and recharge my power sources but in the end, it worked!

The rocket glowed with a cool purple hue that couldn’t be missed and thousands of commuters that passed by each night took notice.

Now when people ask me if I think I can handle uplighting for their party, I just kind of smile.

Top 20 Cheesiest 80s Dance Party Songs

These musical Guilty Pleasures of the 80s have stood the test of time. For many they are confined to the back of closets like so many embarrassing high school photos that can’t be parted with. But when dusted off and played at just the right moment, they still pack the dance floor and inspire spontaneous sing-a-longs at weddings, dances and flashback parties everywhere.


I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles)- Proclaimers

Tagline: But I would walk five hundred miles
And I would walk five hundred more

Like two excited puppies, these bespectacled, Scottish nerd twins just can’t contain their unbridled glee on this infectious anthem celebrating true love. Best thing about this song is that, no matter how drunk you are you can still sing along with the chorus-

“Da lat da (Da lat da), da lat da (Da lat da)
Da-da-da dun-diddle un-diddle un-diddle uh da-da
Da lat da (Da lat da), da lat da (Da lat da)
Da-da-da dun-diddle un-diddle un-diddle uh da-da”

Sounds best in a dive bar after a couple of shots.


We Don’t Have To Take Our Clothes Off- Jermaine Stewart

Tagline: A quick hit, that’s your game
But I’m not a piece of meat, simulate my brain

Slow down, girl… not so fast! On this ode to chastity, Jermaine wants to take his time drinking cherry wine and getting to know you as a person. Maybe after some scrapbooking and a peek at each other’s blogs you guys can connect physically. Or not. Still, the infectious melody will have you wanting to dance all night even if you don’t get lucky.


I Wanna Dance with Somebody (Who Loves Me)- Whitney Houston

Whitney was at the top of her vocal game here, enough to make you overlook the dated 80s production that hinders this Pop smash. Even with the clunky 80’s drum machine sounds and glaring synthesizer riffs, Houston’s voice triumphs and sets the bar for future divas to aspire to.


Too Shy- Kajagoogoo

Tagline: Too shy shy hush hush eye to eye

The seductive beat, swirling keyboards and androgynous singing will have you longing for your can of hair mousse and perhaps a clove cigarette. Sporting more simultaneous hair colors than a peacock, the band scored it’s only big hit here.


Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go- Wham!

Tagline: Wake me up before you go-go
‘Cause I’m not plannin’ on going solo
Wake me up before you go-go
Take me dancing tonight

George Michael unofficially comes out of the closet on this #1 hit, belting out fluffy prose with a conviction no straight man could ever approach. It would take George years to finally admit it but after this song, we all knew. You put the boom boom into my heart…


Come On Eileen- Dexy’s Midnight Runners

Tagline: Come on Eileen
Oh, I swear what he means (what he means)
At this moment you mean everything

What happens when you mix an Irish Jig with Rock and Roll? You get the sappiest New Wave ditty ever. Frolicking around in hay bales and thinking “dirty thoughts” with your overalls on has never been so much fun- Toora loora toora loo rye ay!


I Can’t Go For That (No Can Do)- Hall & Oates

Tagline: Yeah I’ll do anything that you want me to
I’ll do almost anything that you want me to
But I can’t go for that
No can do

Pop crooners Hall & Oates get their Funk on here, channeling their inner Marvin Gaye. What the song lacks in meaning it makes up for with an irresistible booty shakin’ beat. The sultry sax solo was just made for late night body bumping.


Working For The Weekend- Loverboy

Tagline: You Want To Be In The Show, Come On Baby Lets Go!

Grandiose, pompous and over the top (isn’t that ALL Loverboy songs, really?). These headband sporting, Canadian fratrockers are looking for a new weekend romance on this synth laden tribute to the working man. Hide your sisters until Monday!


Mickey- Toni Basil

Tagline: Oh Mickey, you’re so fine
You’re so fine, you blow my mind, hey Mickey, hey Mickey

The greatest cheerleading anthem of all time features a chugging beat that’s more addictive than a crack laced pizza.


Jump- Van Halen

No doubt influenced by the popularity of 80s New Wave, these Metal Heads rely heavily on a simple synthesizer hook to power this rocker. The result is the Popiest song VH has ever done, given added gravitas by Eddie’s signature guitar solo. Still, the lyrics are sing song silly and would have been right at home on a Debbie Gibson album.

Might as well jump. Jump!
Go ahead, jump.
Get it and jump. Jump!
Go ahead, jump.


Jessie’s Girl- Rick Springfield

Tagline: Where Can I Find A Woman Like That?

Technically a 70’s song, Springfield’s take on lovelorn angst has become one of the most popular Guilty Pleasures of all time. Too poppy for FM radio at the time, “Jessie’s Girl” has become a party staple as people always flock to the dance floor from the first few notes. It seems everyone wants to play along with THIS charade!


Like A Virgin- Madonna

Tagline: When Your Heart Beats Next To Mine

Madonna always delighted in pleasing her fans while simultaneously pissing off the establishment. This song’s brazen sexuality, disguised in an innocent wrapper, had conservatives, religious leaders and housewives in a tizzy while their teenage daughters ate the message up.


Girl You Know It’s True- Milli Vanilli

Before these Grammy winning Pop stars were deposed for being frauds, they were one of the hottest acts on the planet. The music is no less catchy and danceable, whoever created it.


Karma Chameleon- Culture Club

Tagline: Karma Karma Karma Karma Karma Chameleon
You come and go
You come and go

Boy George just wants to be loved, is THAT so wrong? And with harmonica playing like that, it’s hard to resist. This song was one in a string of polished 80s hits including I’ll Tumble 4 U, Miss Me Blind, Church Of The Poison Mind and Time (Clock Of The Heart).


Walking On Sunshine- Katrina And The Waves

Tagline: I’m walking on sunshine (whoa oh)
And don’t it feel good (HEY!)

Saccharine sweet lyrics and a catchy horn riff launch this song into the stratosphere. It doesn’t hurt that the tempo is a blazing 220 beats per minute, enough to make an aerobics instructor gasp for breath! Will raise your mood faster than Prozac and without those nasty side effects.


Your Love- The Outfield

Tagline: I Just Wanna Use Your Love Tonight

Why is Josie on vacation so far away and when will she be back? The Outfield never answers this question as they are too busy lamenting the possibility of “losing your love tonight”. The musical territory here is somewhere between power pop and heartland rocker. Kudos to Katy Perry for doing a great cover version of it on her way to superstardom.


Never Gonna Give You Up- Rick Astley

Try as you might to hate it, you simply cannot resist the silky smooth production and catchy melody! Even Rick Astley’s Howdy Doody looks and terrible white boy dancing couldn’t stop this juggernaut from topping the charts.


The Safety Dance- Men Without Hats

Tagline: We can dance if we want to
We can leave your friends behind
‘Cause your friends don’t dance and if they don’t dance
Well, they’re no friends of mine

Sung with a manic edge, safety has never been so appealing. Lead singer Ivan Doroschuk should win an award for best 80s mullet ever (sorry, Bono)!


Footloose- Kenny Loggins

Tagline: Now I gotta cut loose, Footloose
Kick off the Sunday shoes

This classic Guilty Pleasure by the Godfather of cheesy 80s Rock is the reason Kevin Bacon now avoids wedding receptions at all costs. After all these years, it’s still a sure fire dance floor packer. Even the whitest guy on the floor can boogie to this one. Everybody cut footloose!


Sister Christian- Night Ranger

Tagline: Sister Christian
Oh, the time has come
And you know that you’re the only one
To say, okay

Night Ranger’s heartfelt ballad is a great final song for the end of the party. Trying way too hard to be profound, the band implores you to look deep inside and ask yourself, “what’s your price for flight?” Motoring…


Honorable mentions to: “Whip It”- Devo, “Bad”- Michael Jackson, “Bust A Move”- Young MC, “Livin’ On a Prayer”- Bon Jovi, “Cool Places”- Sparks, “Mr. Roboto”- Styx, “Everybody Have Fun Tonight”- Wang Chung, “Power Of Love”- Huey Lewis And The News


orange county dj