Top 10 Scariest Song Stories

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

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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:

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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?

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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 HelpGuide.org for more advice.

130 comments sorted by best / new / date

    BassKid101
    I realize this is UG but I'm upset that Stan didn't make the list..
    Mouloudo
    you realise it's not a real story?
    archangels
    What, you think the thing about Geezer seeing a mysterious black figure is real? C'mon.
    Mouloudo
    no but he claims so, as the dude in immortal technique claims he witnessed the rape of one gang member's mother, but Stan was never proclaimed a true story
    bifteksupernova
    He says in a video that it's not a 'true story' in the sense that he was actually "there with billy jacobs and I raped his mom too...", but that things like that happen all the time in gang culture and he's experienced crazy shit such as that. Still an awesome story and song, but not entirely true
    Retiredboxer
    The story behind the Korn's song was pretty ****ing disturbing.
    5t0rM
    My thought exactly. My stomach turns the whole damn day because I can't stop thinking about it.
    RCA1186
    "They proceed to dome something rather unpleasant to her, and just and the young gangster....." .....what?
    ChucklesMginty
    I've come to the conclusion that all UG articles are written in Russian and then put through Google translate.
    matteo cubano
    The descriptions are mostly user comments. I recognized the stairway to heaven paragraph was my comment.
    Von II
    Maybe it's not for this Top 10, but you can't forget about Type O Negative if you're talking about scary songs and Halloween.
    sonic_hippy
    Even know the list is for song storys, I think I should mention bathory enter the eternal fire as a truly scary song.
    DevilsRedRider
    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 ****.
    The_Dayman
    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.
    Hair_Trigger
    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.
    GeriatricNinja
    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
    HardRock369
    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?
    Pierfrittella
    i'm sorry..something's missing.
    Lord_Doku
    Yeah, I lost my book too.
    DaniArrow
    "Robert Plant suddenly just wrote lyrics that started coming to him"... I'm pretty sure that's how most people do it.
    teknoman
    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
    evanfurillo
    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
    elcapitan1800
    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???
    jonathan.keeler
    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.
    elcapitan1800
    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!
    AARWave
    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...
    Firebreather01
    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.
    KJtan
    Auschwitz was german concentration camp, but it was located in Poland. Not in Germany.
    dimlight2
    Man, Eagles, Hotel California!!!
    sideslick
    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.
    damillion
    Something by Shining! And probably Apocalypticas cover of Hall of the Mountain King.
    AwesomeOne3
    Not bad of a list, but theres a few songs missing. I can't name some at the moment but there out there,
    Niiko_Xeneize
    Nothing to Gein by Mudvayne. A song about Ed Gein, murderer and body snatcher.
    burnsz82
    Blind Melon had written a song about Gein on their album Soup (Skinned)...and I believe Shannon wrote a song about the band watching a young woman commit suicide in Detroit during soundcheck.(St. Andrews Fall)
    Shadow914
    Nevermore - Dreaming Neon Black. The album concept is inspired by the story that singer Warrel Dane had a girlfriend leave him and join a cult and she was never heard from again. Then, one night Warrel had a dream of her drowning and screaming for him to help. The album cover is exquisite.
    gateway01
    Anyone interested in a cool one, check out the story behind Bedlam in Goliath by the Mars Volta. Would have voted had I seen the post.
    blinkdragonid
    TomWhaley
    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.
    sideslick
    At least Syn and the other PS-members are planning a remaster. Again, The Rev was one crazy mother****er, rest in peace.
    Xpl0r
    What about Chicago man? Little Nicky knows his messages, being the son of satan and all
    JimBonJovi
    I'm kind of disappointed in UG. In previous years I remember the site being transformed into the theme of the particular day. Halloween day used to be very unique on here. There used to be a lot more lists & such. It's a shame UG didn't put that much effort into it this year.
    sykest70
    Can we stop putting Black Sabbath at the number one spot on EVERY countdown. It's expected now. Every time I see a "Top 5" article, Black Sabbath is usually number one. There are waaaaay more sick and twisted horror stories in metal.
    Chronologo
    Diamanda Galas version of Gloomy Sunday is really disturbing... I couldn't listen to the whole song
    Shadow914
    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 .
    Chronologo
    Yeah despite I couldn't listen to it completely I found it more loyal and true to the source material as you said
    Metalisnotmusic
    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
    Vrstone87
    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.?
    bagmanbac
    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 true...talk about writing from a deep, dark, ****ed up place.
    ChuySmit
    My brother always used to play Eminem's Kim.. it scared the shit out of me when I was a little kid haha
    bongburn3r666
    I enjoyed the list, it wasnt what I would choose, but Immortal Technique def gets much respect
    Jmoarguitar
    Had no idea the Downward Spiral was recorded in that Charles Manson murder house, that is definitely pretty creepy. Could only imagine what vibes Trent would have been feeling while recording that.
    alinn4
    how old is everyone here? i think its very important when it comes to these lists.
    petruzh
    The End by the Doors got the more votes than some of these songs..
    axld
    Yes, but if I'm not mistaken, the end is about Jim Morrison breaking up with a girl. Not exactly a scary story.
    Zoso67
    Surprised not to see any Alice Cooper or King Diamond make the list.
    KingV911
    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!
    haifisch234
    You chose a wrong Rammstein song. Mein Teil isn't really scary, Mein Herz Brennt would've fitted much better(study the lyrics and you'll find out what I'm writing about).
    Anjohl
    Black Sabbath by Black Sabbath from Black Sabbath is terribly overrated.
    lpwjbklyn
    Thought for sure that Cattle Decapitation's "Forced Gender Reassignment" would've made the list: http://vimeo.com/56447021
    jonathan.keeler
    Cool song with a ****ed up video, but it has no place on this list.
    lpwjbklyn
    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