Top 10 Scariest Song Stories

What are the most frightening song backstories and lyrics of all time? Be warned, this list is genuinely frightening.

Ultimate Guitar

Happy Halloween! This week we asked readers to vote for the scariest song stories of all time We didn't realise it would be one of the hardest articles we've ever had to write - and that's really saying something, after past Halloweens. The stories in this list are both shocking, surprising and even gruesome - with some really stomach turning content. You have been warned.

10. Led Zeppelin "Stairway to Heaven"

Jimmy Page bought Aleister Crowley's house where he performed his rituals. it was also built where a church had burned down. He wrote "Stairway to Heaven" there and Robert Plant suddenly just wrote lyrics that started coming to him. Not to mention all the theories of it having Satanic subliminal messages played backwards. Here's a sample of the song backwards so you can decide for yourself:

9. "Gloomy Sunday (The Hungarian Suicide song)"

The song was composed by the Hungarian songwriter Rezso Seress while living in Paris in late 1932. Seress wrote the song at the time of the Great Depression and increasing fascist influence in the writer's native Hungary, although sources differ as to the degree to which his song was motivated by personal melancholy rather than concerns about the future of the world. There have been several urban legends regarding the song over the years, mostly involving it being allegedly connected with various numbers of suicides, and radio networks reacting by purportedly banning the song. Press reports in the 1930s associated at least 19 suicides, both in Hungary and America, with "Gloomy Sunday." However, most of these claims are unsubstantiated. In January 1968, some 35 years after writing the song, its composer Rezso Seress did commit suicide. He survived jumping out of a window in Budapest, but later in the hospital choked himself to death with a wire. We just want to post the Diamanda Gallas version to picture how depressing it is. But be warned - it's quite hard thing to listen to! We will also attach the Billie Holiday and Sarah Brightman versions.

8. Annihilator "Alison Hell"

A true story about a little girl named Alison in Montreal who feared seeing the bogey man every night. Her parents ignored her, but the poor girl eventually went crazy with fear - this song tells the story of what happened.

7. The Cure "Lullaby"

This one is supposedly about a recurring nightmare singer Robert Smith used to have about a bogey man (which he calls the Spider Man) which visits him in the night. There's all sorts of creepy sexual connotations in this track; "His arms are all around me and his tongue in my eyes, be still be calm be quiet now my precious boy, don't struggle like that or I will only love you more" - hopefully this really was just based on a bad dream and not some tragic real experience.

6. Immortal Technique "Dance With the Devil"

If you think there's no place for rap on a song like this, you're about to be proven wrong. The lyrics to this song are undoubtedly some of the most unpleasant you'll ever read. It's a long story, but it's about a greedy young gangster who wants to move on to a bigger nastier gang. They say he has to rape and kill someone to join their gang, so they capture someone and mask her, almost killing her in the process (I told you it was nasty). They proceed to dome something rather unpleasant to her, and just and the young gangster is about to shoot her and seal his place in the gang, he recognizes her as his mother and jumps off a roof. The rapper then swears the song is true, because he was in the gang and is followed by the devil to this day. Mighty storytelling with a big reveal, if not the kind of thing that would make any sane person feel sick.

5. Korn "Pretty"

Singer Jonathan Davis: "It's a story about this little girl that came into the coroner's office when I was working there and she was f--ked by her dad. She was an 11 month old little baby girl. Her legs were broken back behind her and he just f--ked her like a toy doll and chucked her in the bathroom. It was the most heinous thing I've ever seen in my life and I still have nightmares about it." Scary, right?

4. Rammstein "Mein Teil"

The true story of how, in 2001, two men with cannibal tendencies in their '40s arranged to meet each other for a dinner you'll never forget. One man called Brandes had his penis cut off, which they both sat and ate politely, before the other called Meiwes was given permission to kill Brandes and eat his remains. The band were "fascinated, shocked and amused at the same time" and wrote a song about it.

3. Nine Inch Nails "Downward Spiral"

A simple song about suicide. It was recorded in the Sharon Tate house (where the Charles Manson murders occurred). It's worth mentioning that there is advice and help for anyone who ever gets suicidal thoughts and feelings - check out the link at the end for support.

2. Slayer "Angel of Death"

Late Slayer guitarist Jeff Hanneman was fascinated with Nazi history, and wrote this about the awful Auschwitz concentration camp in Poland which killed countless Jews in World War II. The "Angel of Death" in question is Nazi physician Josef Mengele whose surgical experiments on Jews were some of the cruellest things ever to be done to humans in modern history.

1. Black Sabbath "Black Sabbath"

Rock legend says that bassist Geezer Butler's obsession with black magic and satanism had singer Ozzy lend him a book on witchcraft. Putting it on a shelf in his room adorned with pictures of satan, Geezer went to bed and thought nothing of it. Little did he know that in the night a black figure would awaken him, stand eerily at the end of his bed, before disappearing into thin air. When Geezer went to get the book from its place on the shelf, it too had disappeared. This also marks the second week in a row that this very song has topped an Ultimate Guitar poll. But it's brilliant, so there's no surprise there.

That's the end of our scariest song stories list, and probably the most unpleasant list we've ever posted. Happy Halloween and be careful! If you or anyone you know has experienced suicidal thoughts or feelings, help is available for dealing with these feelings. Visit for more advice.

130 comments sorted by best / new / date

    i'm sorry..something's missing.
    Jeremy for sure, and while Stan is certainly freaky, I would think Kim should be on this list (I know, he didn't actually kill her, but the lyrics are grounded in more reality than a lot of the songs that did make it).
    Something by Shining! And probably Apocalypticas cover of Hall of the Mountain King.
    The Window by The Black Dahlia Murder should have been in there. It was about Gilles De Rais and his kidnapping and raping of children, but oh well...
    how old is everyone here? i think its very important when it comes to these lists.
    hmm..what about a little piece of heaven??it's creepy enough with murders, necrophilia, revival of the dead,and marriage..
    Eminem Stan and Pearl Jam Jeremy definitely should be on this list since they got so many votes. I don't see how Black Sabbath got top spot. It isn't scary or disturbing in anyway.
    If we're just talking about scary lyrics specifically, the spoken word portion at the end of In The Arms of God by COC is probably one of the more "Holy shit, you are so unbelievably ****ed" lyrical deliveries I've heard. The lyrical content and the delivery are about as ****ing ominous as it gets. I've read in a couple of places that portion of the song was written right after Pepper had learned that Dime had been killed, which is ****ed up, but man if that's about writing from a deep, dark, ****ed up place.
    How bout Number of the Beast being written about nightmares given to Steve Harris after watching The Omen 2...and the trouble had while recording the album.?
    Black Sabbath by Black Sabbath from Black Sabbath is terribly overrated.
    Crowleys house is called Boleskine House. Led Zep wrote Stairway at Bron-Yr-Aur, a completely different house. From Wikipedia "The song originated in 1970 when Jimmy Page and Robert Plant were spending time at Bron-Yr-Aur, a remote cottage in Wales, following Led Zeppelin's fifth American concert tour. According to Page, he wrote the music "over a long period, the first part coming at Bron-Yr-Aur one night".[10] Page always kept a cassette recorder around, and the idea for "Stairway" came together from bits of taped music:[11]" Nice researching Ultimate Guitar.
    I enjoyed the list, it wasnt what I would choose, but Immortal Technique def gets much respect
    How come Sabbath's Black Sabbath is number one on every list? I think it's overrated afterall. :/
    What about Chicago man? Little Nicky knows his messages, being the son of satan and all
    Cat's in the Cradle... Imagine realising you've missed your son growing up and it's too late to do anything about. That must be pretty scary.
    Kinda surprised that Slipknot - Before I Forget wasn't on this list. Although I suppose it's the loop at the end of the song that was the supernatural part, technically not the actual song itself, so would it still count?
    What about this one? It's one of the most disturbing songs I've ever heard
    holy shit..... dance with the devil deserves to be higher on the list like around 2 or 3. That song just gave me goosebumps... damn.
    Very good list. Another good one I can think of is Headless Cross by Black Sabbath (about the plague ravaging the village of Headless Cross - where the singer Tony Martin is from - in the Middle Ages, and the people attributing it to witches and Satan). However, I can't complain about any of the entries on the list, they all deserve their spot.
    My brother always used to play Eminem's Kim.. it scared the shit out of me when I was a little kid haha
    I came here only to make sure that Immortal Technique was included. I would've been disappointed if Dance with the Devil wasn't on the list.
    For Eminem, easily should have been '97 Bonnie and Clyde' That song is far creepier than Stan
    I'm not complaining about the list, it's pretty good, But has anyone heard of the Industrial Band Throbbing Gristle? Most of there shit was based on true stories and medical papers, I've only listened to them a few times because they freak me out.
    not too bad of a list glad and surprised to see immortal technique on here! dance with the devil gave me chills the first time i heard it
    Diamanda Galas version of Gloomy Sunday is really disturbing... I couldn't listen to the whole song
    Galas' is the definitive version. Lyrically, vocally and musically profound. I mean no disrespect nor intend to sound pedantic but I find Billie Holiday's and every version ripped from that one to be far too lighthearted and ignorant to the original source material. Galas' version captures all the stark, unaltered and vehement grief exceptionally. Could listen to it all day ironically .
    Yeah despite I couldn't listen to it completely I found it more loyal and true to the source material as you said
    neither could I, and I absolutely love the song. but I just found that her voice ruined it. Not at all the tone you would expect from someone in that mood. Brightman's version is mind blowing, but I have to say that Billie Holiday's is my favorite, as it was my submission
    What the Fuck UG?? Do you seriously just pick whichever songs you want, or do you not know how to count? After just a quick check, at least The End, Jeremy, and A Little Piece of Heaven all had more votes than some of the songs on this list... What is the point of asking us to vote if you are just going to pick your own list? I've never noticed this before, do they do this every week???
    Some songs would be disqualified because they were not what the question asked for. A little piece of heaven has a cool story and music video, but the question asked for songs with creepy back stories.
    I understand disqualifying songs that don't fit the question, but the title of the list is "Top 10 Scariest Song Stories." You could debate that Little Piece of Heaven doesn't match the question posed within the original article, but it certainly fits the title. And Jeremy got ignored no matter how you look at it!
    Well Jeremy tops the story of Black Sabbath which seems to win every vote UG puts up (Heaviest riff, scariest song, most classic metal song or whatever it was some time ago and the list goes on..) but it's UG and the users vote...
    The story behind mein teil is not exactly like that, Brandes wanted his penis to be cut off as an act of masoquism, they met at Meiwes' house where the penis was cut off and then cooked but it ended up being uneatable, Brandes couldnt be at the table cause he was in shock due to the massive blood loss and he was freezing so he asked for a warm bath where he agonized for several hours until Meiwes finished the job with a knife... then Brandes' body was dismembered and stored in a fridge for several months. The creepiest thing is that everything was taped. PS. There is an spanish documentary about it... maybe its on YT. Edit: letters
    I can't listen to Dance with the Devil without mentally preparing myself first. Even though i've listened to it a ton, I still get the same feelings I did when I listened to it for the first time.
    Man, Eagles, Hotel California!!!
    I nominated that one first (second and third were part of a double-post late in the cycle), and I got like 30-something likes. I'm a bit disappointed it didn't make it in the top ten.
    Thought for sure that Cattle Decapitation's "Forced Gender Reassignment" would've made the list:
    Cool song with a ****ed up video, but it has no place on this list.
    Fair enough! I was going based upon the lyrics and felt that they were narrative enough to consider it a story but there are certainly better examples. The video IS insane though
    Man I love Pinkly Smooth. I'll always be bummed that with The Rev's passing, that project is absolutely dead. Always had my fingers crossed that Gates and The Rev would do that on the side again for fun.
    At least Syn and the other PS-members are planning a remaster. Again, The Rev was one crazy mother****er, rest in peace.
    I don't know why I didn't think of them before but The Toadies have at least 2 eerie songs, "Possum Kingdom" and "Tyler" off of Rubberneck.
    I was really hoping I'd see Good Mourning/Black Friday by Megadeth. I used to turn the volume down on that one so my mom wouldn't hear lines like "I seek to dismember - a sadist fiend, and blood baths are my way of getting clean!" or "I unleash my hammer - with sadistic intent!" haha!
    that dance with the devil song is ****ed. gangsters are pieces of shit if thats the kind of shit they do to get respect. what the ****.
    As a fan of Immortal Technique I'd just like to clear up that even though he says " I was there with Billy Jacobs and I raped his mom too" he has stated multiple times that this story is fiction but thought to add to the story he would say he was there I guess. Also keep in mind that this was a very early song from Tech, when he was around 21 years old.
    I remember seeing an interview where he says the song is an allegory for the way women are treated within the poor areas where a lot of these gangsters are from. He wrote himself into it because he used to be part of some gang before he went to jail and got rehabilitated (and then became a rapper), so in a way he was one of the people responsible for the violence towards women
    That was the first Immortal Technique song I ever heard, back when I was younger. I've been a fan ever since, but damn. Still a ****ed up story. I guess it shows how good IT is to write a song that gets you like that lol.
    "They proceed to dome something rather unpleasant to her, and just and the young gangster....." .....what?
    matteo cubano
    The descriptions are mostly user comments. I recognized the stairway to heaven paragraph was my comment.
    I've come to the conclusion that all UG articles are written in Russian and then put through Google translate.
    Dance with the Devil is a brutal song, I'm actually kind of surprised it made it on here though. I'm shocked at the lack of Type O Negative though, not a single song? Really?