songs about ghosts
Entertainment & Playlists

30 Best Songs About Ghosts of All Time

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Written By Will Fenton
Entertainment & Playlists

30 Best Songs About Ghosts of All Time

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One way or another, artists have always been drawn to the concept of ghosts.

Ghosts are often associated with death, mystery, and dark places, but they can also represent something that haunts us.

To explore this topic further, we did a little research and selected the best songs about ghosts.

Many of these songs refer to ghosts in a metaphorical way, but some of them have truly spooky vibes…

1. “Misguided Ghosts” by Paramore

The song Misguided Ghosts examines how a person copes with the anguish and shame that result from committing a mistake. The track was included in the self-titled album that Paramore released in 2009.

The best friend of the vocalist Hayley Williams, who took her own life when she was 13 years old, served as the song’s primary inspiration.

In the video, a number of individuals are seen shaking their heads in a manner that conveys a negative response, while a single individual affirms, “Yes, we all have our problems.”

2. “Ghosts That We Knew” by Mumford & Sons

This melancholy melody had its debut with Mumford & Sons at a live performance at a radio station in 2011, one year prior to its inclusion on the album Babel.

The song is about going through a devastating breakup and has a heartbreaking tale about going through the experience.

3. “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald” by Gordon Lightfoot

During a terrible storm on November 10, 1975, the SS Edmund Fitzgerald dove to the bottom of Lake Superior, where it has remained ever since.

It is said that it is a ghost ship, and when it was discovered, there was no one running the boat. This is the basis for the legend. It was simply cruising along.

There are many stories surrounding the ship, and Gordon Lightfoot used the main narrative as well as some of the other stories to inspire the song.

Both the narrative and the music have a ghostly air to them.

People continue to assert that they have witnessed the ghost of a ship without a captain when it was cruising on the seas of the Great Lakes; however, it is unknown whether or not these reports are based on fact or only supposition. Who could say?

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4. “Ghost Song” by The Doors

This song was written by Jim Morrison in memory of a close friend who had passed away. It would appear that the family discouraged him from recording the event.

It is reported that ever since the first time he sang the song, he has seen a pair of spectral blue eyes staring at him from behind.

In spite of the allegations, the song itself is a huge hit with fans and is the Doors song that has been covered the most frequently by other artists.

5. “Watching You Without Me” by Kate Bush

The song, which was composed using a historical perspective, tells the narrative of a shipwrecked woman who is not yet aware that she has passed on to the other side.

As her spirit returned to her house, she made several attempts to speak to her loved ones, but they were unable to hear her.

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

This track is taken from the band’s album Mirror Moves, which was released in 1984. It is about how everyone is troubled by ghosts, either of someone who has passed away or of memories of individuals who are gone from our lives.

During an interview with Noisey, the main vocalist of the band, Richard Butler, stated his belief that every person is capable of seeing ghosts.

7. “Ghost” by Michael Jackson

The lyrics of the song tell the story of a spirit that is bound to the person whom they once loved. However, these people do not pass on after death; rather, they remain in this world to be touched or breathed, but they are unable to communicate in any way.

There is a lot of religious symbolism in the music video, including pentagrams and churches that are being burned down. M.J. claims that his own personal encounters with ghosts in real life were the source of inspiration for this song.

He asserts that when he was between the ages of four and five, he saw a vision of himself in the future. This song was sung to him by a younger version of himself when he was much older.

8. “The Ghost Inside” by Broken Bells

The words to this song were inspired by a real-life ghost tale that included James Mercer’s wife. Mercer is the lead vocalist for this band. She said that she had heard unusual noises coming from their cellar, so she went down there to see what was going on.

After seeing a shadow of something, she became terrified and hurried back up the stairs. She was convinced that there was some kind of presence down there, and the thought of it was terrifying enough for her to force her out of the house for many days.

Actually, this tale serves as the inspiration for the music video, and actress and model Dania Ramirez plays the role of the wife. It takes some inspiration from the horror film The Changeling, which was released in 1980.

9. “Midnight In Montgomery” by Alan Jackson

This song is a little bit different from the others because it was written as a tribute to Hank Williams, but it tells of how the spirit of Hank Williams has haunted others, including the songwriter who senses and feels Hank’s presence and sees his spirit.

The song is called “Midnight in Montgomery.” This song tells the story of Hank Williams Sr. and how he passed away on January 1, 1953, while riding in the backseat of his automobile.

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The legend has it that Hank’s spirit appeared to Alan Jackson at a gig in Montgomery, Alabama, that took place at midnight. Both the tale and the music are lovely.

The combination of Alan Jackson’s eerie voice and the sound of the steel guitar creates an atmosphere that is virtually identical to that of being at Hank’s grave. You can just make out the figure of him standing there if you close your eyes.

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

Tom Joad, a courageous character in John Steinbeck’s timeless masterpiece The Grapes of Wrath, served as the inspiration for Bruce Springsteen.

His song “The Ghost of Tom Joad” has a socio-political undertone, and the character of Joad is meant to symbolize community and togetherness in the midst of challenging times.

This acoustic song was frequently performed by Springsteen at live events during intermissions.

11. “Jenny Of Oldstones” by Florence and The Machine  

This is arguably one of the most powerful songs with the ghost in the lyrics.

The song was featured in one of the episodes of HBO’s “Game Of Thrones”. Although it’s performed by one of the characters (Podrick), it fits the scene perfectly.

But when it comes to original, it’s all about Florence’s mesmerizing vocals, haunting melodies, and beautiful lyrics… And that’s all you need for a compelling song about ghosts.

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

Although it didn’t become very popular, RHCP’s “American Ghost Dance” is a quirky and rather funky song with a ghost in the title.

The Ghost Dance is a traditional Native American dance, so the song is presumably based on that. Native Americans used it to avoid the settlers and the religion they forced upon them.

13. “Pet Sematary” by Ramones

“Pet Sematary” by Ramones is one of the Halloween classics.

It was written and 1989 and it’s based on Stephen King’s novel of the same name. It’s a pretty good book, by the way.

The music video is also filmed in the cemetery. So, it’s quite obvious why it became one of the most popular Halloween songs about ghosts.

14. “Ghosts” by Stevie Nicks

Another ghost-theme song written in 1989 is “Ghosts” by Stevie Nicks.

But this is actually a song about ghosts of the past. It’s mellow and sentimental, and although it’s not very spooky, it does some Halloween-ish elements.

15. “Ghost Town” by The Specials

But if you’re looking for a real Halloween treat, look no further – “Ghost Town” by The Specials is your jam.

Released in 1981, the song actually tackles the themes of deindustrialization, unemployment, and violence in British cities.

So, it’s a ghost-themed song with a message.

16. “Ghost Towns” by Radical Face

A song with a similar name but with completely different vibes is “Ghost Towns” by Radical Face.

It’s actually a very emotional song. Gentle, melancholic, dreamy, hopeful…

And it’s one of the Radical Face’s most famous songs. However, it still doesn’t get the attention we believe it should.

17. “Living In A Ghost Town” by The Rolling Stones

Speaking of ghost towns… We can’t skip this gem.

“Living In A Ghost Town” was recorded during sessions of the Rolling Stones in 2019. So, it’s a rather new song, but it sounds like it’s a timeless Stones hit.

 Either way, it deserves a spot on this unique list of songs about ghosts.

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18. “Ghost” by Ella Henderson

Ella Henderson’s “Ghost” is by far one of the most popular songs about ghosts. It was released in 2014, and it feels like it’s been playing on the radio ever since.

The song was co-written and produced by Ryan Tedder, so its global popularity makes sense.

Nonetheless, it’s a catchy, uplifting tune, and it’s presumably about someone from Ella’s past. So, it’s a very specific ghost, in this case.

19. “Ghosts of Beverly Drive” by Death Cab for Cutie 

This indie rock song about ghosts was released on Death Cab for Cutie’s album “Kintsugi” in 2015.

It sounds like an easygoing track, but the meaning behind the song is probably not so cheerful.

The song could be about someone from the past (most likely a failed relationship), or something even more profound and painful.

20. “Ghosts” by Halsey

This pop song about ghosts tells a story of a woman who is haunted by the ghost of her former lover.

This is actually a quite common topic. Ghosts represent someone from the protagonist’s past in countless songs.

But Halsey somehow always sounds fresh, and she tackled this theme in her characteristic way.

21. “Ghost Lights” by Woodkid 

Well, Woodkid is definitely a unique artist, and he never fails to mesmerize with his music.

He released “Ghost Lights” on his debut studio album “The Golden Age” in 2013. It’s a fantastic album, full of captivating songs, haunting melodies, and thoughtful lyrics.

22. “Ghostbusters” by Ray Parker Jr.

Who you gonna call? Ghostbusters!

Without a doubt, this is one of the most iconic songs about ghosts. “Ghostbusters” is actually a famous soundtrack of the movie of the same name from the 80s.

So, if you’re making a Halloween playlist, you can’t go wrong with “Ghostbusters” by Ray Parker Jr.

23. “The Kingdom of Dreams”, The Sandman OST

However, if you want to surprise the guests of your Halloween party with something more fresh and spooky, why not include the brilliant soundtrack from “The Sandman”?

Although this is not specifically a song about ghosts, “The Kingdom of Dreams” is full of mystery and wonder, and it could very well be a song about the realm of ghosts.

24. “Give Up The Ghost” by Radiohead

Radiohead released “Give Up The Ghost” on their eighth studio album “The King of Limbs” in 2011.

The song is slow-paced but very captivating and sentimental. After all, it’s Radiohead.

And the background chant in the song (“Don’t hurt me” and “Don’t haunt me”) adds up to the whole atmosphere.

25. “Ghosts” by James Vincent McMorrow

“Ghosts” by the Irish singer and songwriter James Vincent McMorrow was released as a part of the “Twilight: Breaking Dawn” movie.

All the Twilight Sada movies actually have a great soundtrack. There are many brilliant artists and compelling songs, including “Ghosts” and James Vincent McMorrow.

26. “The Ghost On The Shore” by Lord Huron

Another great indie song with the ghost in the title is “The Ghost On The Shore” by Lord Huron.

The song was released on Lord Huron’s fantastic studio album “Lonesome Dreams”, and it’s definitely not spooky (apart from the lyrics, perhaps).

But it’s hauntingly beautiful.

27. “Ghost Dancing” by Simple Minds

Simple Minds performed “Ghost Dancing” during the iconic Live Aid show in 1985.

Although the band included religious symbolism in their music on several occasions, their track “Ghost Dancing” is lyrically open to interpretation.

28. “Ghost Of The Navigator” by Iron Maiden

Another rock song about ghosts is “Ghost Of The Navigator” by Iron Maiden.

The song appears on their album “Brand New World” released in 2000.

“Ghost Of The Navigator” tackles the idea of a life coming to an end, and it includes symbolism of a ship going on its final journey.

29. “Ghost On The Dancefloor” by Blink 182

So far we’ve covered ghosts from the past, ghostbusters, scary ghost stories… And now it’s time to include the ghost on the dancefloor.

However, “Ghost On The Dancefloor” actually expresses some sentimental thoughts such as missing someone (who perhaps passed away) after hearing a song that reminds you of them.

30. “Haunted” by Evanescence

Now, this is a true song about ghosts.

“Haunted” is a song about being haunted and followed, as well as occupied with thoughts about someone from the past.

Whether you want to take it literally or metaphorically is up to you.

Songs About Ghosts – Final Thoughts

There are many, many more songs about ghosts, but it’s time to wrap it up.

We tried to make this list quite versatile and provided you with spooky Halloween music as well as meaningful songs about ghosts from the past.

So hopefully, you found what you were looking for!

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Will Fenton

Introduced to good music at a young age through my father. The first record I remember being played was "Buffalo Soldier" by Bob Marley, I must've been six years old. By the time I was seven, I was taking drum lessons once a week. The challenge but the euphoric feeling of learning a new song was addicting, and I suppose as they say the rest was history. Favorite album of all time? Tattoo You by The Rolling Stones Best gig you've ever been to? Neil Young at Desert Trip in 2016 Media mentions: Evening Standard Daily Mail

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