There is a lot of Halloween about witches and wizards these days. Pointed hats and long black cloaks are the order of the day. But, there is a more serious side to witches and wizards.
Some practice black magic and live a life surrounded by its imagery. To some, it is a very serious subject. And, of course, there are plenty of songs written about it, which is why I’ve decided to take an in-depth look at the best songs about witches & wizards.
There will be some tongue-in-cheek efforts, and there will be some metaphorical use of the terminology to describe situations. But, there will also be songs that go a bit deeper. So, let’s start with a band and a song that most will know…
Top 12 Best Songs About Witches & Wizards
Witchy Woman by The Eagles
This was a song written by Bernie Leadon and Don Henley. It was recorded in the early days of their “London period” at Olympic Sound. It was the second single released in 1972 from their first album, Eagles.
An important song for the band…
It started the establishment of the members as songwriters capable of putting on enough good material for an album. It wasn’t released as a single in the UK but reached #9 in America.
In their early shows, it became a fixed part of their performances. Rather than having too much “magic” about it, the song has a very Native American feel to it.
The inspiration for the song came from a variety of sources. Most of them were girls they had encountered in their evenings at the Troubadour in West Hollywood. When it comes to songs about witches and magic, this is a well-known track.
Season of the Witch by Donovan
Donovan was not averse to the idea of writing some “interesting lyrics.” This is another good example. The song was taken from Donovan’s third album, Sunshine Superman, released in 1966.
This song was one of the early psychedelic songs of the period. There is a dark foreboding about it, lyrically and musically. It is a story of the paranormal with plenty of mystique and near-paranoia. It has a long list of artists who have covered it, and has been used in films and even TV series.
Devil Woman by Cliff Richard
Dear old Cliff, 81 and still going. Rumor has it they built the roof on the Center Court and Number One courts at Wimbledon to stop him singing to the crowd when it rains.
Just a rumor, but a worthwhile expenditure. And, for those that may have witnessed it, and with respect to him, most would probably agree.
Been there, done that…
His career started at the time of Elvis and still carries on. He has been through rock n roll, ballads, Christian songs, pop rock, standards, and everything in between.
But there have been times when he produced some very good stuff. This song comes from one of those periods, taken from his album, I’m Nearly Famous.
Released in 1976, it reached #9 in the UK and #6 in America. It was a fixture in his stage shows for many years. Sometimes, accompanied by a dancer dressed as a cat in red and looking, well… evil. The song was written by Terry Britten and Christine Authors.
Sometimes you come across a song with a great fictitious storyline attached. This is one of those. A man comes across a stray cat that has “evil eyes.”
The cat puts a curse upon him and, in his desperate state to get rid of it, goes to see a Gypsy medium. But, he finds that the medium was the one who caused the cat to give him the curse in the first place.
Was She a Witch?
Possibly not, but witches are often associated with devil worship and curses, so there is a link. An interesting topic and subject for a committed born-again Christian, especially as the “cat dance” in the show puts in a very seductive performance.
Personally, that doesn’t bother me; it is the music that is foremost. It is a great song about a witch that he sings well, and in the stage show, it was one of his highlights.
Black Magic Woman by Fleetwood Mac (feat. Peter Green)
I recently read that the Fleetwood Mac “cover” of Black Magic Woman was not as good as the Santana version. Just to inform this misinformed youngster that Fleetwood Mac released “Black Magic Woman” as a single in 1968. It then appeared on the Fleetwood Mac album English Rose in 1969.
Santana released the “cover” as a single from their Abraxas album in 1970. The song was written by Peter Green, guitarist with Fleetwood Mac.
The Santana Version
Most will argue that the Carlos Santana version is the most well-known and possibly the better version. That will be true in certain circles, but maybe not in others.
Santana brought something new to the song. More percussion and a different feel, you could say a “sorcery” feel to it. And Carlos’ guitar added a different style as well. A style that very few of his contemporaries ever achieved.
The ‘Greenie’ Version
For some, myself included, this is the superior offering. It has those hallmark “Greenie licks” and has much more of a blues feel to it. Not surprising as a blues band is what they were. And the Boston Blues Set live version breaks into a great straight four blues to finish.
Whichever version you prefer, it is a great song about sorcery and witches.
Witches Promise by Jethro Tull
Anyone who caught Jethro Tull’s live performances during the 70s will not be surprised at the content of this song. If ever there was a band that was going to write songs about witchcraft, sorcery, and all sorts of magic, it would be Ian Anderson and the boys.
Anderson and Thijs Van Leer of Focus in the same period took the “magic flute” from the grasp of Mozart and thrust it into being a lead instrument in an all-action rock band. Both were classically trained musicians that didn’t rely on 200 effects pedals and silly hats.
“Witches Promise” was recorded in December of 1969 at Morgan Sound Studios in West London. At the time, you could say, “Where else?”
Besides Tull, that month saw the studios also used by Cat Stevens, Yes, Rod Stewart, Ten Years After, and an unknown band knocking out a “pseudo-glam rock” single.
Their Last Stand Alone Single
This would be the last single that Ian Anderson would allow Jethro Tull to release. He wasn’t into singles and didn’t like promoting them. In the future, any singles that Chrysalis wanted to release would have to be taken from albums.
This came out in 1970 and went to #4 in the UK chart. With plenty of interesting timings, flute solos, and acoustic guitar, it was almost a progressive folk song in many ways. However, the vocal is sinister and brings forth a scary tale of not being able to resist temptation.
But it is about more than that…
It is a warning about protecting yourself from becoming overwhelmed by self-importance. I can think of quite a few of today’s musicians to whom that applies to. Perhaps Tull was sending out a warning to them.
Rhiannon by Fleetwood Mac
If you want one of the best songs about witches & wizards and a performance that personified witchcraft, then this is probably it. It is unclear whether Stevie Nicks was ever involved in witchcraft or, as some would say, “The Dark Arts.”
One way or another, she certainly liked to give off the feeling she might be. And on this song, she had plenty of opportunities.
At the expense of more gasps of disbelief, Rumours wasn’t the reincarnated Fleetwood Mac’s finest album. Fleetwood Mac, where this song was taken from, was. Just my opinion.
These are a collection of Welsh myths and stories that date back to the eleventh century and are some of the oldest written traditions in British history. Rhiannon is a key figure in those writings.
Like many traditions of the times, they were orally passed down, and she could be a mixture of different characters. One thing is for certain is that she existed, was powerful, and her traditions are firmly bound to the “Otherworld.”
She was also known for her mystical powers. Her legacy is such that the name has almost god-like recognition for those entrenched in ancient mysticism.
Closer Than You Might Think
For Stevie Nicks, then to come up with a song about this Welsh legend and keep it close to some form of accuracy is very interesting. She wrote the song after reading “Triad: A Novel of the Supernatural.” Not a history book but a novel, yet somehow, she managed to draw out the relevant facts about the mysterious Rhiannon.
Nicks covered herself in a witch’s hat and a black shawl and acted out the part on stage when they performed the song. It was so popular that every concert required her to sing the song in this way. A great song from a great album with plenty of the sinister and strange going on in lyrics and music.
Waking The Witch by Kate Bush
Kate Bush is another female artist known for her theatrics on stage. And it must also be said, the lyrics to her songs can go quite deep. It was originally taken from her album, Hounds of Love, from 1985.
More than just a song…
It forms part of a trilogy of songs referring to the demise of a woman suspected of being a witch. The song is loosely based on the book, “The Witch of Blackbird Pond.”
It is a typically strange composition by her. And it includes the “voices” of her “visitors” trying to wake her up during her trial by drowning. The song has a certain sympathy for the countless women ridiculously accused and murdered for practicing witchcraft and associated acts.
Sisters of the Moon by Fleetwood Mac
Another song from Fleetwood Mac featuring Stevie Nicks doing her wicked witch impersonations. She wrote the song, and there has been commentary that she wrote it about herself or an experience she once had.
It was taken from the album, Tusk and was the fourth single from that album. It only reached #86 in America, so not a big success.
I often read by certain writers that Fleetwood Mac is a British-American rock band formed in London in the 60s. Wrong. Fleetwood Mac was an all-British blues band formed in London in the 60s.
The American link came with first of all Bob Welch, followed by Lyndsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks fifteen years later. By then, the band bore no resemblance to the group led by Peter Green, and they had become something very different.
Lost Their Way?
With the release of Tusk, some might say so. What had they become after two very good albums? A pop rock band? Tusk, in my opinion, was a disaster. Some good songs, “Sisters of the Moon” and “Storms” being two.
But, the rest are very ordinary and, in some cases, rather odd. “Sara” was a pretty ‘pop’ song, but as a band, they seemed to have lost their way.
This song is about a witch that appears to be trying to recruit someone to join her. It has a deep, dark feel to it, typical of Stevie Nicks’s writing at the time. As I mentioned, this is one of the very few highlights from this album, but it does happen to be one of the best songs about witches & wizards you can listen to.
I Put a Spell on You by Alan Price
Alan Price was the original keyboard player with the British early rock/blues band, The Animals. He was a key organist on songs like “The House of the Rising Sun” and “Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood.”
As their success began to take them out of the country, especially to America, Price suddenly quit the band. He cited his dislike of flying and touring overseas as the reason. So, he formed his own band, The Alan Price Set, and this was one of their early singles.
It was a cover of a song written and originally recorded by Screaming Jay Hawkins. It reached #9 in the UK and #80 in America. And it remains a popular song about spells and witches.
The original was sung by a man who may have been one of the first “shock-rock” performers. Climbing out of coffins, smoke-enveloped stages, and live snakes were all part of a stage act. Contrasted by Alan Price, who sat behind his keyboard, in a suit and tie, and just sat and played the song.
I was still very young and at school when this came out. I can still remember very clearly being very impressed with the Price version when I heard it.
Witchcraft by Frank Sinatra
Let’s go back in time with this song from Frank Sinatra, 1957, to be exact. It was composed by Cy Coleman and Carolyn Leigh. Sinatra must have liked this song as he recorded three different studio versions of it. It reached #6 on the American chart.
It is a song about a man thinking that the power his lady has over him must be witchcraft. However, he seems to indicate he quite likes the idea of her having that control over him.
A typical semi-jazz arrangement that allows the crooner to surface. If you like Sinatra, then you will like this.
That Old Black Magic by Ella Fitzgerald
Staying in the 50s, we have this from one of the jazz greats. Ella Fitzgerald creates a great atmosphere with her rendition of this Johnny Mercer song. It was taken from her album, Sweet And Hot.
What you might call a classic old-school song and performance from a lady who knew how to deliver. A simple song about black magic and its seeming overpowering effects on the relationship between people.
The Witch Queen Of New Orleans by Redbone
I can remember the first time I heard this and thought, “Wow!” Released in 1971, it was written by two members of the band, Native American brothers Lolly and Pat Vegas.
It was taken from their album called The Witch Queen of New Orleans in Europe and Message from a Drum in America.
Very successful in the UK, it went to #2, but in America only made #21. A track that you might say has a very special feel to it and was quite unlike most other recordings around at the time. You can hear certain influences from R&B and even a little Southern Blues.
Who Was The Witch Queen?
It was written about a real-life voodoo practitioner from New Orleans called Marie Laveau. She was a very well-known lady who, apart from her voodoo and creole practices, was also a midwife.
She would attend to those condemned to death and was accused of offering them poison the night before their execution. Her daughter, also named Marie, carried on the family tradition. She had many adherents, but upon her death, most followers just drifted away.
Nevertheless, an interesting character and very worthy of the title of “The Witch Queen of New Orleans.” And the inspiration behind a memorable song about witches.
Looking For New And Interesting Songs?
We can help with that. Take a look at our detailed articles on the Best Songs About Magic, the Best Songs About Fire, the Best Songs About Monsters, the Best Songs About Tequila, the Best Songs About Space, Stars and the Universe, and the Best Songs About Time for more great song selections.
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Best Songs About Witches & Wizards – Conclusion
Weird and strange is probably the best way of describing witches, wizards, and these practices. Some songs have used imagery to describe powerful feelings. But, it goes a lot deeper than just words for descriptive purposes.
Like it or not, there is a reality to it, and there are some that believe in its powers. There are ample examples of historical figures that stretch over 800 years, from the valleys of Wales to the riverboats of New Orleans, who practiced these arts.
There is something very strange going on that we will never understand. Perhaps, in some cases, that is a good idea. It has certainly inspired plenty of great music, which has to be a positive.
Until next time, happy listening.