It’s Time for a Rock & Roll Halloween

I am not sure what it is about Halloween, but I love this holiday. Maybe, it has to do with the fun I had as a kid going out in the neighborhood for trick or treat. Or, is it all the fun we had as teenagers performing mischievous acts through the neighborhood with acts that kids not longer do in Central Indiana: “soaping” car and house windows (writing or drawing messages on windows with a bar of soap), toilet papering neighbors’ trees or “corning” houses and moving cars with shucked corn from ears of corn liberated from nearby cornfields. I really do not know when these juvenile delinquent acts fell out of favor with teens, but they were a fun part of Halloween in the Seventies. Then, in High School and College (especially college!), Halloween parties were the stuff of legendary stories. Although I have MANY Halloween-related stories, most of them will be saved for oral discussions in order to protect the not-so-innocent. Yet, I am willing to tell on myself.

Still, let’s save those boring stories for a later date and time. Instead, let’s turn back the clock to the four Halloweens that I celebrated in college. My freshman year was decent, with costume parties being held all over campus. But, it was the last three that are forever burned into my cerebral cortex as some of the most fun parties ever. In 1982, my fraternity held a Rush party around the Halloween date, and the party had a MASH theme, named after that extremely popular TV show that was slowly moving into its last year or so. While many exciting things happened, perhaps the most significant was the fight that broke out when a couple of non-Ball State jerks attempted to crash our invite-only party. One of the guys got so pissed at us that he punched a couple of guys who were both attempting to diffuse the situation. Needless to say, the campus police were called and the party was shutdown with a bad taste in many of the guys still remaining in the house. It was as if a dark cloud moved into the fraternity and hovered over those guys. Both became shells of the guys they were before this incident. Of course, I missed everything because I was busy making sure a couple of extremely intoxicated newly activated brothers decided to tie one on this night including my “little brother” and fellow microbiology major Hubs. All was fine until one of the guys decided about halfway back to the dorms that he needed to relieve himself of some pent-up liquid waste products. Unfortunately, this moment took place on the front lawn of the largest church building hear the Ball State campus. Fortunately for these knuckleheads was the fact that they were all able to perform their act behind a very large bush while I had the privilege of being the look-out for these guys with full urinary bladders.

Once they completed their acts, I got them each back to their rooms so they could each sleep off that party. When I returned to my dorm room, I was greeted by a room full of people, all of whom were dressed up for the holiday, sitting around drinking and talking. It goes without saying that I grabbed a brew from the refrigerator and jumped into the conversation. This laidback moment broke up in the wee hours of that Saturday morning, while many of the ladies crashed in our room mainly so they did not get in trouble for being in the male dormitory after midnight. A couple simply had no business walking through campus in their condition since they could be potential wounded prey for some sicko molester lurking in the shadows of our campus.

Marilyn Manson;s music is perfect for Halloween.


In 1983, I dressed in my now infamous Boy George outfit. Of course, the theater friends of my then-girlfriend helped me create one of my finest Halloween outfits ever. I was such a doppelgänger for the lead singer of Culture Club that my frat brothers tried to get me to enter a campus-wide “King” contest for one of the bigger sorority events held annually at the time. Unfortunately, I disappointed everyone when I entered the contest as myself.  Maybe I would have won the contest as Boy George; however, we will never know since I was voted the first runner-up (or second place, also know as first loser) as myself.

Honestly, nearly anything by Alice Cooper is probably a Halloween classic.

My last Halloween as a college student was a complete Monster Mash at my now-wife’s house with whom she shared with five other young ladies. That night was the biggest and craziest party I have ever attended, as the girls hosted over 200 costumed college students in their rented house. It was so big that the cops stopped by two times to send people home, yet twice the party reconvened. After the third stop, the campus cops stopped the party and sent everyone “home.” It was one wild party with many inhibitions thrown to the wind.

It was back then when I began to tinker with my “party tape” mixes in which not only heated up the dancing but also included many seasonal songs. And, that is why I am obsessed with creating holiday party mixtapes for friends. That is why I have a list of 200 song titles that can be used for any Halloween party. Some of them are better for dance parties, while others are great for those parties attended by older people since the songs are more mellow yet eerie.

Let’s take a look at my 200 favorite songs for Halloween. And, now, by favorite Halloween songs, in alphabetical order.

  1. AC/DC – “Highway to Hell”
  2. AC/DC – “Night Prowler”
  3. Adam Lambert – “Ghost Town”
  4. Alice Cooper – “Feed My Frankenstein”
  5. Alice Cooper – “I Love the Dead
  6. Alice Cooper – “Welcome to My Nightmare”
  7. Andrew Gold – “Spooky Scary Skeletons”
  8. Annie Lennox – “Love Song for a Vampire”
  9. Atlanta Rhythm Section – “Spooky”
  10. Bauhaus – “Bela Lugosi’s Dead”
  11. Beck – “Scarecrow”
  12. Beyoncé – “Haunted”
  13. Billie Eilish – “bury a friend”
  14. Billy Idol – “Eyes Without a Face”
  15. Billy Joel – “The Stranger”
  16. Black Sabbath – “Black Sabbath”
  17. Bloc Party – “Hunting for Witches”
  18. Blondie – “Rapture”
  19. Blondie – “Rip Her to Shreds”
  20. Bloodrock – “D.O.A.”
  21. Blue Öyster Cult – “(Don’t Fear) The Reaper”
  22. Bobby “Boris” Pickett & the Crypt Kickers Five – “Monster Mash”
  23. Bow Wow Wow – “I Want Candy”
  24. Britney Spears – “Toxic”
  25. Bruce Springsteen – “Spirit in the Night”
  26. Carly Rae Jepson – “Warm Blood”
  27. Cerrone – “Supernature”
  28. Charlie Daniels Band – “The Devil Went Down to Georgia”
  29. Cheap Trick – “Ghost Town”
  30. Childish Gambino – “Boogieman”
  31. Chvrches – “Graves”
  32. Classics IV – “Spooky”
  33. Cliff Richard – “Devil Woman”
  34. Creedence Clearwater Revival – “Bad Moon Rising”
  35. Daryl Hall & John Oates – “Maneater”
  36. Dave Edmunds – “The Creature from the Black Lagoon”
  37. David Bowie – “Scary Monsters (And Super Creeps)”
  38. David Seville – “Witch Doctor”
  39. Dead Kennedys – “Halloween”
  40. Diamond Head – “Am I Evil?”
  41. DJ Jazzy Jeff & the Fresh Prince – “A Nightmare on My Street”
  42. Donovan – “The Season of the Witch”
  43. Duran Duran – “Hungry like the Wolf”
  44. Dusty Springfield – “Spooky”
  45. Eagles – “Witchy Woman”
  46. Echo & the Bunnymen – “People Are Strange”
  47. Echo & the Bunnymen – “The Killing Moon”
  48. Edgar Winter Group – “Frankenstein”
  49. Eels – “My Beloved Monster”
  50. Electric Light Orchestra – “Evil Woman”
  51. Electric Light Orchestra – “Strange Magic”
  52. Elvis Presley – “Devil in Disguise”
  53. Eminem ft. Rihanna – “The Monster”
  54. Evanescence – “Bring Me to Life”
  55. Fifth Harmony – “I’m in Love with a Monster”
  56. Five Finger Death Punch – “Jekyll and Hyde”
  57. Fleetwood Mac – “Rhiannon”
  58. Focus – “Hocus Pocus”
  59. Franz Ferdinand – “Evil Eye”
  60. Fred Schneider & the Shake Society – “Monster”
  61. Gary Wright – “Dream Weaver”
  62. Ghost – “Ritual”
  63. Gnarls Barkley – “The Boogie Monster”
  64. Goblin – “Suspiria”
  65. Gorillaz – “Dracula”
  66. Grateful Dead – “Friend of the Devil”
  67. Halsey – “Devil in Me”
  68. Halsey – “Ghost”
  69. Halsey – “Nightmare”
  70. Harry Styles – “Two Ghosts”
  71. Hayley Williams – “Creeps”
  72. Helen Reddy – “Angie Baby”
  73. Iggy Azalea ft. Rita Ora – “Black Widow”
  74. Imagine Dragons – “Demons”
  75. INXS – “The Devil Inside”
  76. Iron Maiden – “The Number of the Beast”
  77. Japan – “Ghosts”
  78. John Carpenter – “Halloween Theme”
  79. John Mellencamp – “Rain on the Scarecrow”
  80. Johnny Cash – “(Ghost) Riders in the Sky”
  81. Johnny Cash – “Ain’t No Grave”
  82. Joy Division – “Dead Souls”
  83. Jumpin’ Gene Simmons – “Haunted House”
  84. Kanye West ft. Jay-Z, Rick Ross, Nicki Minaj & Bon Iver – “Monster”
  85. Katy Perry ft. Juicy J – “Dark Horse”
  86. KC & the Sunshine Band – “I’m Your Boogie Man”
  87. Kesha – “Cannibal”
  88. Kim Petras – “There Will Be Blood”
  89. Kim Petras ft. Elvira, Mistress of the Dark – “Turn Off the Light”
  90. King Harvest – “Dancing in the Moonlight”
  91. Kiss – “Hotter Than Hell”
  92. Kristen Hersch – “Your Ghost”
  93. Kyle Dixon & Michael Stein – “Stranger Things Theme”
  94. Lady Gaga – “Monster”
  95. Lana Del Rey – “Gods & Monsters”
  96. Lou Reed – “Halloween Parade”
  97. Lydia Lunch – “Spooky”
  98. Madonna – “Illuminati”
  99. Marianne Faithful – “Witches’ Song”
  100. Marilyn Manson – “The Beautiful People”
  101. Marilyn Manson – “This Is Halloween”
  102. Meat Loaf – “Bat Out of Hell”
  103. Metallica – “Enter Sandman”
  104. Michael Sembello – “Maniac”
  105. Mike Oldfield – “Tubular Bells”
  106. Ministry – “Every Day Is Halloween”
  107. Misfits – “Halloween”
  108. Missy Elliot – “Get Ur Freak On”
  109. Mitch Ryder & the Detroit Wheels – “Devil with a Blue Dress”
  110. Morrissey – “Satan Rejected My Soul”
  111. Mötley Crüe – “Shout at the Devil”
  112. Mudhoney – “Halloween”
  113. My Chemical Romance – “Cemetery Drive”
  114. New York Dolls – “Frankenstein”
  115. Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds – “Red Right Hand”
  116. Nick Jonas – “Voodoo”
  117. Nine Inch Nails – “Dead Souls”
  118. No Doubt – “Spiderwebs”
  119. Oingo Boingo – “Dead Man’s Party”
  120. OutKast ft. Kelis – “Dracula’s Wedding”
  121. Ozzy Osbourne – “Bark at the Moon”
  122. P!nk – “Funhouse”
  123. Pat Benatar – “Shadows in the Dark”
  124. Peter Gabriel – “Intruder”
  125. Phoebe Bridgers – “Halloween”
  126. Pilot – “Magic”
  127. Pink Floyd – “Careful with That Axe, Eugene”
  128. PJ Harvey – “The Devil”
  129. Queens of the Stone Age – “Burn the Witch”
  130. Radiohead – “Burn the Witch”
  131. Ramones – “Pet Sematary”
  132. Ray Parker, Jr. – “Ghostbusters”
  133. Red Rider – “Lunatic Fringe”
  134. Redbone – “Witch Queen of New Orleans”
  135. Rick James – “Super Freak”
  136. Rihanna – “Disturbia”
  137. Rob Zombie – “Dragula”
  138. Rob Zombie – “Living Dead Girl”
  139. Rockwell – “Somebody’s Watching Me”
  140. Roky Erickson & the Aliens – “Creature with the Atom Brain”
  141. Rush – “Ghost Rider”
  142. Screamin’ Jay Hawkins – “I Put a Spell on You”
  143. Screamin’ Jay Hawkins – “Little Demon”
  144. Selena Gomez – “Wolves”
  145. Shakira – “She Wolf”
  146. Sheb Wooley – “The Purple People Eater”
  147. Siouxsie & the Banshees – “Halloween”
  148. Sonic Youth – “Halloween”
  149. Squirrel Nut Zippers – “Hell”
  150. Steppenwolf – “Magic Carpet Ride”
  151. Stevie Wonder – “Superstition”
  152. Styx – “Crystal Ball”
  153. Sufjan Stevens – “John Wayne Gacy, Jr.”
  154. Suicide – “Frankie Teardrop”
  155. Talking Heads – “Psycho Killer”
  156. Taylor Swift – “Haunted”
  157. Tegan and Sara – “Walking with a Ghost”
  158. The 1975 – “Antichrist”
  159. The Alan Parsons Project – “The Raven”
  160. The B-52’s – “Devil in My Car”
  161. The Beatles – “Helter Skelter”
  162. The Beatles – “Maxwell’s Silver Hammer”
  163. The Black Keys – “Howlin’ for You”
  164. The Citizens of Halloween – “This Is Halloween”
  165. The Clovers – “Love Potion No. 9”
  166. The Cramps – “I Was a Teenage Werewolf”
  167. The Cranberries – “Zombie”
  168. The Crazy World of Arthur Brown – “Fire”
  169. The Cult – “Fire Woman”
  170. The Cure – “Lullaby”
  171. The Doors – “People Are Strange”
  172. The Dream Syndicate – “Halloween”
  173. The Flaming Lips – “Halloween on Barbary Coast”
  174. The Guess Who – “Clap for the Wolfman”
  175. The Hooters – “All You Zombies”
  176. The Jam – “Ghosts”
  177. The Jimi Hendrix Experience – “Voodoo Chile”
  178. The Kinks – “Wicked Annabelle”
  179. The Lovin’ Spoonful – “Do You Believe in Magic?”
  180. The Police – “Every Breath You Take”
  181. The Psychedelic Furs – “The Ghost in You”
  182. The Rocky Horror Picture Show Cast – “Time Warp”
  183. The Rolling Stones – “Sympathy for the Devil”
  184. The Sonics – “The Witch”
  185. The Specials – “Ghost Town”
  186. The Steve Miller Band – “Abracadabra”
  187. The Waterboys – “The Whole of the Moon”
  188. The Who – “Boris the Spider”
  189. The Yeah Yeah Yeahs – “Heads Will Roll”
  190. Tim Curry – “Sweet Transvestite”
  191. Tracy Morgan & Donald Glover – “Werewolf Bar Mitzvah”
  192. Tyler, the Creator – “Nightmare”
  193. Van Halen – “Runnin’ with the Devil”
  194. Van Morrison – “Moondance”
  195. Vic Mizzy – “The Addams Family Theme”
  196. Warren Zevon – “Werewolves of London”
  197. White Zombie – “I’m Your Boogie Man”
  198. Whodini – “Freaks Come Out at Night”
  199. Willie Nelson – “Gravedigger”
  200. XTC – “The Ballad of Peter Pumpkinhead”

The Music of My College Years, 1981-1985

Beneficence, the symbol of Ball State and commonly called “Benny,” is surrounded by what legend says are the urns of the five Ball brothers. Also, the same legend states that if you kiss a girl by Benny at midnight and the wings flap, the girl is a virgin.

On the Sunday before Labor Day 1981, I arrived on the Ball State campus knowing that I was not going to be running anymore, as I discovered on my first practice a few weeks earlier that 15-mile runs were not my cup of tea. So, for the first time in my life, I was no longer training for a sport, specifically running track or cross country for the first time in about seven years. Instead, I told my parents I was dedicating my life to my then-pre-med studies. They had to know that I was joking. No, I was about to embrace every aspect of the college experience that I could. Sure, there are a few regrets from those years mostly based upon what I did not do as opposed to what I did.

In retrospect, I could have gone to a smaller college than Ball State, but I was tired of everyone knowing who I was during the previous 12 years of schooling. Plus, like I said, I was done with sports at the time. And, on the other hand, I could have chosen to go to some bigger, more prestigious school for my education. But, the big school experience was not for me either. And, believe it or not, I had Marquette University and West Point sniffing around my athletic events a bit, but I was not mature enough to move to Milwaukee at the time while I was never the potential military man that my brother was. It’s just a shame that he did not inherit my analytical mind for math and sciences because he would have been a perfect fit there. Needless to say, I was breaking many family members hearts when I decided to attend the university that was good enough for my parents and my uncle, Ball State.

Campus in the Eighties. Reality is this is only part of the campus, but the building in the forefront was my dorm, specifically the upper back part of the “X.”

But when Mom was working on her Masters Degree in Art Education, my brother and I would travel to Muncie to run around campus while she was in class. Needless to say, I became very comfortable there. Throughout those early years, I would go to Ball State for various events like the nerd’s dream of the Regional Science Fair (I am not kidding! I placed in the Top 3 every year between fourth and seventh grades.). I went up there for the occasional basketball and football games or to do research for some high school classes in Ball State’s fantastic library. So, it was in my blood to go to what David Letterman, arguably our most famous alum, once said, “the Harvard of Muncie.”

Campus today. Actually, this is only half of the campus.

Sure, Ball State, within the state of Indiana, tends as an afterthought as a university. Notre Dame, Indiana and Purdue are the three with the big reputations. Butler, Wabash, DePauw and Hanover are the small universities with prestige. Ball State, along with Indiana State, tend to have developed a reputation over the years as the universities geared for kids coming from poor families in order to become the first people to earn college degrees, much like my parents and uncle.

But, when it came to science at the time, Ball State was vastly underrated. Through my Science Fair appearances, I had met a couple of professors whom I had the privilege of studying under. I was quite impressed with their mixture of research and classroom teaching abilities. Plus, my dentist, who along with his first wife was a college friend of my parents, convinced me to go to Ball State because they are teaching the same stuff as IU but at a cheaper price. So, I became a second generation Ball State grad. Plus, I met my wife there. And, we are the parents of a son, our younger one, who became a BSU alum, as well as his wife (Our older son and his wife are Butler grads, but we don’t hold it against them. He got an excellent financial aid package that Ball State could not beat.).


So, from the Fall of 1981 through the Spring of 1985, I studied at Ball State and graduated on time. During that time I met and befriended many amazing people who remain my friends to this day. College is a weird time in your life. You are not a child, but you are not really an adult. And, in those places, you really don’t have to grow up too quickly. You can get away with the party scene while still maintaining good grades. At least, I could balance it all. Ball State was big enough to afford me some anonymity while keeping me away from people from my high school, but small enough for me to have some interesting experiences.

Last weekend was Homecoming at Ball State. Unfortunately, we missed it. A few years ago, we celebrated with some of my fraternity brothers, which was crazy. Many of us had not seen each other since we were last on campus as undergrads. As I get older, I appreciate what I got from Ball State. Crazy thing is I could have experienced more there if I had stuck with sports, and that is sometimes a regret.

Since my college years seem to represent the final years of my musical wheelhouse which probably begins in earnest during my fifth grade year in 1974. So, from 1974 through 1985, rock music was an important part of my life. The love for the music was intense during these years. And, while I truly enjoy music to this day, none of it compares to the emotional response elicited by songs from my era, much like anyone else who survives their developmental years with the help of music.

So, today, I am paying homage to my college years to 100 of the most important songs.


  1. Joan Jett & the Blackhearts – “I Love Rock & Roll”
  2. Men at Work – “Who Can It Be Now?”
  3. Queen & Dave Bowie – “Under Pressure”
  4. Rick James – “Super Freak (Part 1)”
  5. Soft Cell – “Tainted Love”
  6. Squeeze – “Tempted”
  7. The Go-Go’s – “Our Lips Are Sealed”
  8. The Go-Go’s – “We Got the Beat”
  9. The Human League – “Don’t You Want Me”
  10. The J. Geils Band – “Centerfold”
  11. The Police – “Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic”
  12. The Rolling Stones – “Start Me Up”
  13. Tom Tom Club – “Genius of Love”


  1. ABC – “The Look of Love”
  2. Adam Ant – “Goody Two Shoes”
  3. Afrika Bambaataa & the Soul Sonic Force – “Planet Rock”
  4. Billy Idol – “White Wedding”
  5. Bow Wow Wow – “I Want Candy”
  6. Culture Club – “Time (Clock of My Heart)”
  7. Daryl Hall & John Oates – “Maneater”
  8. Dazz Band – “Let It Whip”
  9. Dexys Midnight Runners – “Come on Eileen”
  10. Duran Duran – “Hungry like the Wolf”
  11. George Clinton – “Atomic Dog”
  12. Grandmaster Flash & the Furious Five – “The Message”
  13. Huey Lewis & the News – “Do You Believe in Love”
  14. Joe Jackson – “Steppin’ Out’
  15. John Cougar – “Jack and Diane”
  16. Kajagoogoo – “Too Shy”
  17. Marshall Crenshaw – “Someday Someway”
  18. Marvin Gaye – “Sexual Healing”
  19. Michael Jackson – “Beat It”
  20. Michael Jackson – “Billie Jean”
  21. Modern English – “I Melt with You”
  22. New Order – “Temptation”
  23. Peter Gabriel – “Shock the Monkey”
  24. Pretenders – “Back on the Chain Gang”
  25. Prince – “1999” / “Little Red Corvette” / “Delirious”
  26. Prince – “D.M.S.R.” / “Let’s Pretend We’re Married”
  27. Roxy Music – “More Than This”
  28. The Clash – “Rock the Casbah”
  29. The Gap Band – “You Dropped a Bomb on Me”
  30. The Jam – “Town Called Malice”
  31. The Psychedelic Furs – “Love My Way”
  32. The Time – “The Walk”
  33. Wall of Voodoo – “Mexican Radio”


  1. Cheap Trick – “I Can’t Take It”
  2. Cyndi Lauper – “Girls Just Want to Have Fun”
  3. David Bowie – “Let’s Dance”
  4. Def Leppard – “Photograph”
  5. Elton John – “I Guess That’s Why They Call It the Blues”
  6. Elvis Costello & the Attractions – “Everyday I Write the Book”
  7. Eurythmics – “Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)”
  8. Frankie Goes to Hollywood – “Relax”
  9. John Cougar Mellencamp – “Authority Song”
  10. Lionel Richie – “All Night Long (All Night)”
  11. Madonna – “Borderline”
  12. Men Without Hats – “The Safety Dance”
  13. New Order – “Blue Monday”
  14. Quiet Riot – “Cum On Feel the Noize”
  15. R.E.M. – “Radio Free Europe”
  16. Talking Heads – “Burning Down the House”
  17. The Police – “Every Breath You Take”
  18. The Style Council – “Long Hot Summer”
  19. U2 – “Sunday Bloody Sunday”
  20. Van Halen – “Jump”


  1. Band Aid – “Do They Know It’s Christmas?”
  2. Bruce Springsteen – “Dancing in the Dark”
  3. Chaka Khan – “I Feel for You”
  4. Daryl Hall & John Oates – “Out of Touch”
  5. Echo & the Bunnymen – “The Killing Moon”
  6. Frankie Goes to Hollywood – “Two Tribes”
  7. Glenn Frey – “Sexy Girl”
  8. John Waite – “Missing You”
  9. Madonna – “Like a Virgin”
  10. Nik Kershaw – “Wouldn’t It Be Good”
  11. Phil Collins – “Against All Odds (Take a Look at Me Now)”
  12. Prince – “When Doves Cry”
  13. Prince & the Revolution – “Let’s Go Crazy”
  14. Queen – “Radio Ga-Ga”
  15. R.E.M. – “So. Central Rain (I’m Sorry)”
  16. Ratt – “Round and Round”
  17. Sheila E. – “The Glamorous Life”
  18. Steve Perry – “Oh Sherrie”
  19. Tears for Fears – “Everybody Wants to Rule the World”
  20. The Smiths – “How Soon Is Now?”
  21. The Style Council – “My Ever Changing Mood”
  22. The Time – “The Bird”
  23. Tina Turner – “What’s Love Got to Do with It”
  24. Twisted Sister – “We’re Not Gonna Take It”
  25. U2 – “Pride (In the Name of Love)”
  26. Van Halen – “Hot for Teacher”
  27. Wham! – “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go”


  1. Bruce Springsteen – “Trapped”
  2. Madonna – “Into the Groove”
  3. Phil Collins – “One More Night”
  4. Prince & the Revolution – “Raspberry Beret”
  5. Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers – “Don’t Come Around Here No More”
  6. USA for Africa – “We Are the World”
  7. Whitney Houston – “Saving All My Love for You”

An Ode to the PHHS Class of ’81 in Music

The 15-year-old version of me is in this pic. Believe it or not, this team was ranked in the lower realms of the state rankings. Despite their looks, these guys were gamers. I’m in the middle row, at the end, next to my coach.


When I walked out of the doors of Pendleton Heights High School on my graduation day back on a rainy night in late May 1981, I swore I would never come back. Sure, I did return for three events while in college. Plus, I never could turn down a free basketball game, so my dad, the principal at an elementary in the same school system, would get me to visit during my college days, my internship and my five short years living away. Then, just a scant decade after making my statement, I found myself permanently moving back to the community in which I grew up. Ironically, it is my brother who never minded living here who left and only comes back for short visits.

Why bring all of this up? To be blunt, my fortieth class reunion is tomorrow night. With that comes a bunch of memories from the first eighteen years of my life. It’s crazy that this group of close to 300 people had left such a mark on me. Unfortunately, 22 of them are gone now, all of them friends to many of us trudged through 12 years, more or less, of schooling together.

Say what you will about your college and post-college friends, few have them saw your through those innocent elementary years, the zit-faced awkward years of middle school and early high school, only to see you grow up, leave and return. During those developmental years, they saw you at your best and your worst. Many of those people suffer through those seemingly endless classes about Romeo and Juliet with you or watched in horror as some idiots decided to have a rubber stopper battle in the chemistry lab by firing the stoppers off the compressed air nozzles across the room at each other.

Did we always get along? No. I specifically got in more arguments and fights over my smartass mouth than I’d care to remember. Then, there was a hierarchy to school, that could be stifling and very confining, like being a butterfly cooped up in the smallest damn chrysalis imaginable, only to truly begin to discover yourself and talents away from the community in which you were raised.

Yet, when you see these people, no matter how long its been, for the most part, things pick up where they left off, without many of the petty jealousies of our youth. And, maybe that’s what makes reunions so very difficult for many people. Personally, reunions have been something of a stealth therapy session. At my ten year, I partied like the person I was in college that my high school classmates thought that I wasn’t. And, when I came to my twentieth reunion, I was riding high as a coach and teacher, so I really didn’t feel the need for affirmation from my high school crowd. Additionally, I did go to the 25th and 30th reunions, but I left in pain.

But, tomorrow is different since I am a physically broken man, not the invincible guy of 20 years ago. My medications for my pain and my subsequent inactivity have wrecked havoc on my body and mind. So, instead, I am turning to music to get me through the night.

As the reunion approached, I began to dig through my collection listening to those great old records of yesterday, beginning with the songs from the summer of 1977, when I started playing basketball and running cross country over the summer as a high school athlete, through the songs that lead up to my graduation date. All 50 of these songs elicit specific memories to me, which is the beautiful thing about music.

Are these the 50 best songs of that era? Probably not. Did I include any older songs like Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Free Bird,” which was something of an unofficial song of the class? No. The songs had to have been released during our high school days.

Well, now, it’s time for my 50 favorite songs from my high school daze.

  1. Bee Gees – “Stayin’ Alive” (1977)
  2. Fleetwood Mac – “Dreams” (1977)
  3. Kiss – “Love Gun” (1977)
  4. Parliament – “Flash Light” (1977)
  5. A Taste of Honey – “Boogie Oogie Oogie” (1978)
  6. Bruce Springsteen – “Prove It All Night” (1978)
  7. Commodores – “Easy” (1978)
  8. Devo – “Satisfaction” (1978)
  9. Donna Summer – “Last Dance” (1978)
  10. Earth, Wind & Fire – “September” (1978)
  11. Evelyn “Champagne” King – “Shame” (1978)
  12. Heatwave – “The Grooveline” (1978)
  13. Joe Walsh – “Life’s Been Good” (1978)
  14. Meat Loaf – “Paradise by the Dashboard Light” (1978)
  15. Ramones – “I Wanna Be Sedated” (1978)
  16. Styx – “Renegade” (1978)
  17. The Cars – “Bye Bye Love” (1978)
  18. The Rolling Stones – “Miss You” (1978)
  19. Todd Rundgren – “Can We Still Be Friends?” (1978)
  20. Boomtown Rats – “I Don’t Like Mondays” (1979)
  21. Cheap Trick – “I Want You to Want Me (live)” (1979)
  22. Electric Light Orchestra – “Don’t Bring Me Down” (1979)
  23. Elvis Costello & the Attractions – “(What’s So Funny ‘Bout) Peace, Love and Understanding” (1979)
  24. Journey – “Lovin’, Touchin’, Squeezin'” (1979)
  25. Neil Young – “Hey Hey, My My (Into the Black)” (1979)
  26. Pink Floyd – “Comfortably Numb” (1979)
  27. Prince – “I Wanna Be Your Lover” (1979)
  28. Queen – “Crazy Little Thing Called Love” (1979)
  29. Sniff ‘n’ the Tears – “Driver’s Seat” (1979)
  30. Talking Heads – “Life During Wartime” (1979)
  31. The Clash – “Train in Vain (Stand by Me)” (1979)
  32. The Knack – “My Sharona” (1979)
  33. The Sugarhill Gang – “Rapper’s Delight” (1979)
  34. Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers – “Even the Losers” (1979)
  35. AC/DC – “You Shook Me All Night Long” (1980)
  36. Billy Joel – “Sometimes a Fantasy” (1980)
  37. Blondie – “Rapture” (1980)
  38. Dan Fogelberg – “Same Old Lang Syne” (1980)
  39. Daryl Hall & John Oates – “Kiss on My List” (1980)
  40. David Bowie – “Ashes to Ashes” (1980)
  41. Lipps Inc. – “Funkytown” (1980)
  42. REO Speedwagon – “Keep on Loving You” (1980)
  43. Stevie Wonder – “Master Blaster (Jammin’)” (1980)
  44. The J. Geils Band – “Love Stinks” (1980)
  45. The Jam – “Going Underground” (1980)
  46. The Police – “Don’t Stand So Close to Me” (1980)
  47. The Romantics – “What I Like About You” (1980)
  48. Van Halen – “Everybody Wants Some” (1980)
  49. Phil Collins – “In the Air Tonight” (1981)
  50. Rush – “Limelight” (1981)