Some of the best songs about monsters are stories about literal monsters, like werewolves and vampires. Other figurative monsters are things like fame, fear, and anxiety.
No matter which type of monster you're looking for, you'll find great songs about it in this list of the best songs about monsters.
1. “Monster Mash” by Bobby Pickett
Song Year: 1962
It would be a surprise if you could get through every October and its Halloween celebrations without hearing this song at least once.
“Monster Mash” became an instant hit in 1962 and still gets regular play 60 years later, especially at Halloween parties and on the radio when Halloween approaches. The tune is one of the best Halloween songs of all time.
There's no need to think in metaphors when listening to this song about vampires, werewolves, and Frankenstein's monster boogying down at a Halloween party.
2. “Thriller” by Michael Jackson
Song Year: 1983
This song became to music what classic horror movies were to the cinema. It's impossible to hear the song, containing creepy lyrics about an evil beast waiting in the dark to strike, without thinking of the iconic “Thriller” music video with Michael Jackson turning into a werewolf.
“Thriller” is so steeped in classic monster movie horror tropes that it even features well-known horror movie actor Vincent Price reading verse in the middle and lending his creepy, famous laugh to the track.
The song was a single release from the Thriller album, an album that's still the second best-selling album ever, and catapulted the already famous Jackson to superstardom.
3. “Purple People Eater” by Sheb Wooley
Song Year: 1958
The alien purple people eater that's the subject of this song starts as something that makes people suspicious, with its one eye, one horn, and tendency to eat people. By the end, the monster in the song turns out to be friendly, misunderstood, and ready to rock and roll.
The upbeat tempo of the novelty song and the fun subject matter made this one of Sheb Wooley's greatest hits.
4. “Ghostbusters” by Ray Parker Jr.
Song Year: 1984
This tune is the theme song for the 1984 feature film Ghostbusters and became one of Ray Parker Jr.'s biggest hits. “Ghostbusters” is on the film's soundtrack and earned an Academy Award nomination for Best Original Song.
The film's popularity that turned it into an 80s classic and a horror-comedy staple has ensured that almost everyone recognizes the song's opening riffs about calling the experts to help with your ghost problem.
5. “Godzilla” by Blue Öyster Cult
Song Year: 1977
“Godzilla” is about the famous kaiju Godzilla, a giant lizard monster that rose from the sea after being awoken by nuclear radiation. The song depicts the creature from the classic 1954 Japanese movie called Godzilla about the creature's origin and reign of terror.
The song doesn't just sing about Godzilla but urges the creature to “go” and is clearly on Godzilla's side while discussing man's destructiveness.
The tune wasn't an instant hit for the band but developed a following among hardcore fans and became one of their most popular songs.
6. “Psychotron” by Megadeth
Song Year: 1992
Heavy metal music seems like the perfect outlet for songs about real monsters. That proves true in “Psychotron,” a hard-rocking song about a creature that's not a man or a cyborg but has bionic elements alongside organic features.
The monster is murderous, computer-controlled, and relentless as part of a war machine to help men do their evil bidding. The driving guitars and lyrics don't let you imagine that the song is about anything other than evil, death, and destruction.
7. “Puff the Magic Dragon” by Peter, Paul & Mary
Song Year: 1963
Not all monsters are scary, so the friendly and easygoing dragon in this classic folk song by Peter, Paul & Mary still counts as one of the best songs about monsters. The song comes from a poem Leonard Lipton wrote in 1959.
The sweet story of the magic dragon and his seaside home has been a favorite children's song for decades, despite persistent rumors that it's a song about “puffing” marijuana.
Lipton and Peter Yarrow, the songwriters, insist that the song has no hidden drug message and is an innocent fantasy tale.
8. “The Thing That Should Not Be” by Metallica
Song Year: 1986
This song appeared on Metallica's top-selling album Master of Puppets. While many of their songs are about metaphorical and figurative monsters, “The Thing That Should Not Be” is meant to be more literal.
Cthulhu, an ancient creature known as an “old one” from the writings of H.P. Lovecraft, is the monster referenced in the title, and the lyrics describe it and how it waits beneath the sea to strike.
9. “Bark at the Moon” by Ozzy Osbourne
Song Year: 1983
Anyone familiar with this song probably remembers the video. It was famous for its creepy imagery and what appears to be Osbourne made to look like a werewolf.
While it's possible to interpret the lyrics in many ways, they work best taken literally, about a beast in the darkness at the mercy of the moon's phases.
The single is from the same-titled album that sold over 3 million copies and cemented Osbourne's solo career after being the lead singer of Black Sabbath.
10. “Scary Monsters (and Super Creeps)” by David Bowie
Song Year: 1981
This title track from the album of the same name focuses on a different type of monster than werewolves or computerized killing machines. In the song, a man slowly drives a woman to madness through his behavior.
“Scary Monsters,” as it's commonly known, is one of many songs about how monstrous humans can be and how they can become monsters under the right circumstances. The fear of being alone and the gullible desire to believe something a lover tells you each play heavily into this song.
11. “He's Back (The Man Behind the Mask)” by Alice Cooper
Song Year: 1986
Fans of slasher horror films will be familiar with this theme song for Friday the 13th Part IV: Jason Lives.
The iconic ch-ch-ch-ha-ha-ha whispers, sounds that are misheard ki-ki-ki-ma-ma-ma whispers from the Friday the 13th films, appear in the song. It tells the story of the man behind the mask reappearing at the worst possible times to menace the lovers who want to spend some time alone.
12. “I Want A Monster To Be My Friend” by En Vogue
Song Year: 1998
This song appears on Sesame Street Elmopalooza! with En Vogue helping out by singing with a chorus of famous muppets like Elmo, Grover, and other popular characters.
The song appeared in 1975 and landed on multiple Sesame Street albums. It also appeared regularly on the show until 1984, when some parents complained about lyrics they interpreted in an unwholesome way.
En Vogue's performance changed the lyrics in question to remove any objections.
13. “Furry Happy Monsters” by R.E.M.
Song Year: 1998
R.E.M.'s song “Shiny Happy People” became one of their biggest hits, hitting the top 10 on numerous charts after its release in 1991. “Furry Happy Monsters” is a gentle parody of the song, rewritten with the Muppets in mind.
The group performed the song with the Muppets on “Sesame Street,” singing about how you can be happy, then sad, then become happy again.
14. “Creature Of The Wheel” by White Zombie
Song Year: 1995
This White Zombie song has roots in horror as far back as the fifties.
The song features clips from the 1971 Charlton Heston film Omega Man, a movie based on Richard Matheson's 1954 post-apocalyptic novel I Am Legend.
The “creature of the wheel” is Heston's character, the lone remaining human, as viewed by the vampire-zombie hybrid population created by a plague that swept over the world. The afflicted see the character as an evil monster and blame him for all the ills brought on by modern man.
15. “Dead Skin Mask” by Slayer
Song Year: 1990
“Dead Skin Mask” references the mask of dead skin worn by the serial killer Ed Gein. Gein was the murderer arrested in 1957 that inspired the creators of films like The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and the character of Buffalo Bill in the film Silence of the Lambs.
Gein dug up bodies from a local cemetery and made objects from their skin and bones, including face masks, belts, and furniture. He also murdered two local women in the 1950s and kept parts of their bodies.
16. “Black Sabbath” by Black Sabbath
Song Year: 1970
This song features the ultimate evil monster in many people's eyes: Satan. The lyrics came from the descriptions of Satanic black mass rituals, with figures dressed in black and Satan with burning eyes.
Ozzy Osbourne, the front man for Black Sabbath at the time, reportedly wrote the song based on the experience of a band member who claims to have woken up to a figure in black pointing at him after reading from a Satanic book written in Latin.
17. “Return of the Vampire” by Mercyful Fate
Song Year: 1992
“Return of the Vampire” became one of Mercyful Fate's most popular tunes. It's a straightforward hard-rock song about a vampire born into darkness and leaving his crypt to suck the blood of the living to “return” to life.
The song comes from Return of the Vampire, an album that's a collection of demo songs the band released before their first label release became official.
18. “Eye of the Zombie” by John Fogerty
Song Year: 1986
The zombie in this song is also called a beast, evil, a dead man, and a shadow. It can be a literal zombie or any monster the listener imagines. The song works well as a metaphor for terrorism, which is the song's true meaning, according to Fogerty.
When the zombie flashes its teeth, it appears suddenly and causes the crowd to panic, much like real-life terror attacks.
19. “Monster” by Lady Gaga
Song Year: 2009
The monster in this early Lady Gaga song isn't a literal monster like a vampire or werewolf but a bad boy and the act of falling for him. The figurative monster of loving someone who's not good for you is something most people can relate to, which helped make the song a success.
The song comes from her album Fame Monster. She also calls her fans Little Monsters, so she's fond of monster metaphors.
20. “Werewolves of London” by Warren Zevon
Song Year: 1978
Warren Zevon howls his way through this rock classic inspired by the 1935 film Werewolf of London. The music is upbeat and lighthearted sounding, and many of the images the lyrics conjure are funny.
This song is one of a horror trilogy on Zevon's album Excitable Boy, along with the title track and “Roland the Headless Thompson Gunner.”
21. “Demons” by Imagine Dragons
Song Year: 2012
In “Demons,” the singer claims to be protecting someone else from their demons, referencing the beast and negative qualities they try to hide.
Demons symbolize the darkness inside the singer that they can't get rid of, but don't want the object of their love to see. Essentially, the song recognizes that we all have a monster inside us that we have to face to overcome.
22. “Howl” by Florence + the Machine
Song Year: 2009
“Howl” from the album Lungs has so many monstrous references to being turned into a beast and feeling like an animal that it's easy to take literally. But the lyrics represent someone turned nearly feral by their love and desire for someone else.
The lyrics and beat of the song still bring to mind a dark, gothic setting haunted by a bloodthirsty beast, making it one of the best songs about monsters, no matter how you interpret it.
23. “The Monster Is Loose” by Meatloaf
Song Year: 2006
This Meatloaf song about a freed monster works, whether you interpret it as someone's inner demons being set free or as a song about Satan's release from hell after a thousand years.
Satan is the ultimate monster for many people, but a person's inner demons can be as destructive as any real or imagined darkness. The singer tries to choose what to do now that he's free, hinting at whether he'll take a dark path or a better one.
24. “Monster” by The Automatic
Song Year: 2006
The monster in this song is a metaphor for alcohol and drugs. Drinks and pills are such destructive forces in so many people's lives, so there's no surprise that many songs and other media often use a monster to represent addiction.
“Monster” became one of this Welsh band's most popular songs from their debut album, Not Accepted Anywhere.
25. “Dirty Great Monster” by Duran Duran
Song Year: 2007
Simon Le Bon, the lead singer of Duran Duran, reportedly wrote this song about a friend who suffered childhood abuse. In this tune, the boy's father is the “Dirty Great Monster” that terrifies him and makes him want to hide.
The lyrics hint at a father sexually abusing a child and no one doing anything about it, possibly because it's such a horrible thing that people are often in denial when faced with something that devastating.
26. “Die Monster Die” by Misfits
Song Year: 1999
The Misfits were a punk band that took inspiration from horror films for their songs. This song has the same title as the 1965 Boris Karloff horror film Die, Monster, Die!
The lyrics don't reference the movie in any other way but mention the shocking image of Marilyn Monroe rising from the dead. This song is from the Misfits' 1999 album Famous Monsters, a record filled with horror punk songs.
27. “The Boogie Monster” by Gnarls Barkley
Song Year: 2006
This song starts with a spooky, Halloween-ish laugh and a reference to Dracula. Barkley goes on to sing about monsters hiding in various places like under the bed and in the closet, but eventually looks in a mirror and discovers he was the monster all along.
In the end, the referencing to getting “good head” and another laugh makes the fun song seem more about seducing someone instead of scaring them.
28. “Monsters” by Eric Church
Song Year: 2006
Many songs about monsters come from the heavy metal and punk rock scenes, but this song by Eric Church is pure country with a Christian philosophy. The lyrics reference killing monsters as a child and praying to drive the demons away.
The song uses monsters as a metaphor for childhood struggles and anything difficult one faces in life.
29. “The Devil Went Down to Georgia” by The Charlie Daniels Band
Song Year: 1979
“The Devil Went Down to Georgia” is another country song about the ultimate monster, the Devil, that's more like a narrative poem about a literal Devil than a metaphor. In this country classic, Johnny, the subject, faces off against Satan in a fiddling duel.
If Johnny wins the musical battle, he'll get Satan's golden fiddle. If he loses, Satan wins his soul. This song was the Charlie Daniels Band's biggest hit and their only single to hit number one on the Billboard Country Chart.
30. “I Was a Teenage Werewolf” by The Cramps
Song Year: 1980
The Cramps were a punk band formed in 1976 that remained active for 30 years. The lead singer often performed shirtless in hip-hugging leather pants, howling and growling throughout this song and others.
The lyrics are about a misunderstood teenager going through puberty, with the werewolf representing dark urges. Some images of this monster are lighthearted, like the reference to a werewolf with braces.
31. “Bloodletting (The Vampire Song)” by Concrete Blonde
Song Year: 1990
This popular Concrete Blonde song references a vampire, New Orleans, and the walking dead. Many people interpret other references like mirrors and drinking to mean the song is about cocaine or alcohol addiction, or even H.I.V. infection.
Lead singer Johnette Napolitano put the rumors to rest by explaining that the inspiration for the song came from Anne Rice's The Vampire Chronicles, a series of books about New Orleans vampires that started with Interview With the Vampire in 1976.
32. “Closer” by Kings of Leon
Song Year: 2008
Like many songs about monsters, “Closer” means different things to different people, from a lonely narrator wronged by a lover to addiction and self-destructive behavior.
The band came up with the song spontaneously and created a unique guitar sound for the tune. Despite all the meaning people assign to the lyrics, it's a mournful song about a lonely vampire looking for love, according to Kings of Leon.
33. “Witch Wolf” by Styx
Song Year: 1973
This song comes from The Serpent Is Rising, Styx's third album. The band hadn't yet reached its eventual superstardom, and the track has much darker lyrics than most of their catalog.
James Young wrote and sang the lead on the song. His songs were usually the more hard-rocking tunes on each album, but this song has more disturbing lyrics than most of his other tracks, referencing brainwashing children, full moons, howling, and darkness.
34. “My Beloved Monster” by Eels
Song Year: 1996
Unlike scary and destructive monsters, the monster in this song by Eels is beloved by the narrator. It references the monster being strong and helping to cushion the narrator from difficult things in the world.
Eels, the band formed by Mark Oliver Everett, also known as E, have other songs about literal and figurative monsters like “Dog Faced Boy” and “Fresh Blood.”
35. “Pet Sematary” by The Ramones
Song Year: 1989
Stephen King's 1983 novel Pet Sematary was a bestseller still so popular that it became a 2019 remake film. King was a fan of The Ramones, so they wrote this straightforward song for the original 1989 film adaptation.
The song played over the film credits and became one of The Ramones' most popular tunes.
36. “Sympathy For The Devil” by The Rolling Stones
Song Year: 1968
From the moment the narrator introduces himself in the first line, the mystery unfolds of who exactly the person could be. The song references the origins of Christianity, wars, and human suffering while asking the listener if they can guess the narrator's identity.
The answer is in the title, but The Rolling Stones song reveals that the singer is Lucifer, the original “monster,” in case anyone is in doubt. This tune remains one of the band's biggest hits, among many.
37. “Wolf” by Iced Earth
Song Year: 2002
You don't need to think in metaphors to appreciate “Wolf” by heavy metal band Iced Earth.
This song is about the 1941 Lon Chaney Jr. horror film The Wolf Man. It even features lines from the poetic and creepy warning given to the doomed Larry Talbot in the movie about being cursed to become a wolf.
Top Songs About Monsters, Final Thoughts
There's no shortage of great songs about monsters, from the lighthearted to those dealing with the horrors of addiction and abuse.
The songs encompass all musical genres, too. You can find the best songs about monsters in the driving guitars of death metal and hard rock, slower and more lyrical country songs, folk music, and tunes for kids.
Hopefully, you found some new favorites and remembered some classics after reading this list.