19 Songs About Ghosts

Whether you’re a hardcore paranormal enthusiast or simply a fan of eerie narratives wrapped in melodies, this curated list has something to spark your imagination and stir your thoughts.

Haunted houses, spectral beings, and the ever-present specter of death – such uncanny themes have woven their way into the heart of countless melodies over the years. These ballads and tunes not only send shivers down your spine but sometimes even inspire a chuckle or two with their light-hearted ghostly narratives.

1. “Misguided Ghosts” by Paramore

Immerse yourself in the deep emotion of Paramore’s “Misguided Ghosts” from their 2009 album. The song, inspired by a personal tragedy of vocalist Hayley Williams, weaves a heartrending tale of guilt and pain. The hauntingly beautiful video portrays diverse experiences of inner turmoil, symbolizing our collective human struggle.

2. “Ghost Song” by The Doors

Step into the spectral world with The Doors’ “Ghost Song”, a melancholic melody about loss and connection. Rumored to bring ill luck due to the haunted blue-eyed apparition that started appearing to Jim Morrison post its creation, this track, however, remains a timeless favorite.

3. “Thriller” by Michael Jackson

This horror-themed masterpiece, replete with sinister storms and creeping footsteps, heralds an impending ominous event. With accolades from VH1 and Rolling Stone, its eerie allure continues to capture the imagination of listeners worldwide.

4. “The Ghost in You” by The Psychedelic Furs

This thought-provoking song delves into how we are all haunted by ghosts, whether they are lost loved ones or mere memories. Lead singer Richard Butler assures that these spectral echoes stick around until we resolve our issues and move forward. 

5. “Ghost Riders in the Sky” by The Ramrods

Originally written by Stan Jones, this song has been covered many times throughout history. However, it was The Ramrods in 1958 that made it popular. It tells the story of cowboys who died in gunfights and now ride through the sky with dead coyotes and rattlesnakes.

6. “Ghost” by Michael Jackson

MJ’s “Ghost” is an ethereal narrative of a spirit trapped in the mortal realm, bound to a past love. The song portrays a poignant scenario where the departed hover around, craving connection, but locked in eternal silence. The king of pop revealed that he drew inspiration from his own spectral experiences, making the song even more intriguing.

7. “Ghost Town” by The Specials

“Ghost Town” offers a grim portrayal of a town stripped of life post a nuclear war, with only spectral figures inhabiting the desolate buildings. The Specials use this powerful track to voice the brutal consequences of war. The song serves as a chilling warning – continue our destructive wars, and our world might soon mirror the ghost town from their video.

8. “What’s It Feel Like To Be A Ghost?” by Taking Back Sunday

TBS has been well known for its emo/punk rock style since its self-titled 2002 album. This song has a music video featuring the band walking around an old haunted mansion as well as walking through town on Halloween night. They question what it feels like to be a ghost and if ghosts feel anything at all.

9. “The Ghost Inside” by Broken Bells

Inspired by a bone-chilling experience of lead vocalist James Mercer’s wife, this song’s lyrics resonate with real-life horror. The music video, featuring Dania Ramirez as the terrified wife, borrows its narrative from the 1980 horror movie, “The Changeling”.

10. “Ghost Dancing” by Simple Minds

Another track inspired by James’ wife’s encounter with the supernatural, this song is a captivating dance with the unknown. Her account of feeling a presence passing through her while she was dancing adds a surreal element to this haunting melody.

11. “Spirits in the Night” by Manfred Mann’s Earth Band

Penned by the inimitable Stan Jones, this classic spins a tale of spectral beings haunting the still of the night. These vengeful spirits, victims of an unresolved past, refuse to rest while their murderer walks free. Stan remarks that songs about this unsettling theme achieving popularity are quite the rarity.

12. “Haunted” by Taylor Swift

A speculation-ridden masterpiece, many believe that “Haunted” recounts Swift’s tryst with heartbreak, particularly with her ex-boyfriend, Taylor Lautner. Post their split, Swift felt his phantom presence lurking around, making her feel like she was being followed.

13. “Give Up the Ghost” by Radiohead

A haunting tale of a spectral figure desperate for the attention of its loved ones, willing to resort to violence for their acknowledgment. This gripping narrative was sparked by an eerie scene from “The League of Gentlemen,” a horror TV show co-created by Jeremy Dyson, which left a lasting impact on Thom Yorke, inspiring him to pen this chilling tune.

14. “Ghost of Corporate Future” by Regina Spektor

This track serves as a potent commentary on the impact of rampant greed and materialism on future generations. The “ghost” signifies the yet-unrealized consequences that could potentially shape our world, for better or worse.

Notably, the lyrics reference a president penning hit songs about getting hit in the face, which many enthusiasts speculate refers to George Bush’s song “Why Don’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant?”.

15. “The Ghost on the Shore” by Lord Huron

A heart-wrenching tale of two lovers journeying across the sea, where tragedy strikes and the man drowns, morphing into a spectral presence. His lover, refusing to accept his demise, insists on their eternal togetherness. This poignant tale is speculated to be inspired by Ben Schneider’s personal experience, adding a layer of authenticity to this ghostly melody.

16. “The Ghost of Tom Joad” by Bruce Springsteen

Inspired by John Steinbeck’s “The Grapes of Wrath,” this song doesn’t feature literal ghosts but explores the spiritual haunt of a destitute family during the Great Depression.

They’re haunted by a bleak future and the crushing weight of an economic system that stifles their progress. Springsteen’s song also paints the poignant picture of Pauline, a character from the novel, haunted by her past life despite her attempts to let it go.

17. “The Ghosts That We Knew” by Mumford & Sons

A direct delve into the spectral, this song speaks about a haunting presence from the past that continues to linger. Described as “dealing with the demons of a previous relationship,” this song has sparked diverse interpretations – some see it as a tale of a person battling depression, while others see political undertones aligning with Obama’s presidential campaign slogan, “Forward”.

18. “American Ghost Dance” by Red Hot Chili Peppers

There’s no actual ghost in this song, but it echoes the spectral spirit of Native Americans displaced and obliterated during the European colonization. The lyrics prophesize their resurgence, despite the common belief of their extinction. Interestingly, the band’s frontman, Anthony Kiedis, penned this song based on historical readings, never having visited a Native American reservation himself.

19. “Ghost of Me” by Daughtry

A more personal ghost story, this song expresses the haunting torment one experiences when trying to move on from an ended relationship. The fear of bumping into the ex, the raw emotions resurfacing, and the phantom presence of what was once a significant part of their lives makes for a relatable ghost story for many.

Final Thoughts

These tracks not only present an enchanting blend of spectral storytelling and captivating melodies but also offer a unique peek into the world of the unseen. Eerie yet emotive, they are ideal for a chilling listening experience, be it during a solitary night or as the perfect addition to your Halloween playlist. Let the ghostly vibes fill the air as you press play on these tracks!