Songs That Are Also Ghost Stories

I read something recently, probably on these boards, about how a belief in the supernatural was one of the common characteristics of human societies. Not me personally , I like to think – but I have to confess it goes a little deeper than that. I’m not keen on ghost stories because they scare me – even something like The Wife Of Ushers Well can cause a shiver, and that’s a song fer chrissakes.

Which made me think – there must be other songs which are also ghost stories. An interesting little sub-genre for a thread. I’ll kick us off with the aforementioned Wife Of Ushers Well:

I can think of one more example, but it’s a bit of a cheat. I’m guessing there must be quite a few others.

What have you got?


Genesis-Home by the Sea. The second half is all instrumental except for a vocal reprise at the end of the song

Does a dark song sung from the perspective of a dead man count? Then I offer “Long Black Veil”. Here’s the Johnny Cash version:

I Come And Stand At Every Door

I prefer the This Mortal Coil to The Byrds or Seeger interpretations:

All you need, right here.

Phantom 309 is an obvious example.

There’s the classic (Ghost) Riders In the Sky, which has been recorded many times. Here are a couple of versions:

Does “Deep Purple” qualify?

“Wildfire,” is a ghost story – ghost girl, ghost horse coming to get the hero and ghost him (literally).

You know someone was going to do it sooner or later so I thought I would just get it done.

Camouflage by Stan Ridgeway


“With Her Head Tucked Underneath Her Arm”

In the same spirit (no pun intended) this is the “one more example, but it’s a bit of a cheat” that I mentioned at the top of the thread:

Less a ghost story, more a ghost postscript.


PS: to the question “Does this count?”, asked a couple of times - of course!

That’s what I came in to mention.

Beat me to it! That’s the one I immediately thought of when I saw the post title. Here’s an atmospheric version I like, by the Chieftains, with Mick Jagger as guest singer:

(Spoiler) The lovers die at the end (end Spoiler) so it’s a Ghost Story. Blue Oyster Cult and Don’t Fear The Reaper

Also SNL “More Cowbell” sketch


Great version I hadn’t heard, thanks! I’ve also always liked the Band’s take on the song:

ETA: it’s one of those folk songs that sound like it’s old as the mountains, but actually it was written as late as 1959.

Kate Bush singing as Cathy, who is a ghost, in Wuthering Heights