Double, double, toil and trouble; fire burn and cauldron bubble!
Witches stole humanity’s collective imagination well before Macbeth’s famed poem “Song of the Witches.”
Fortunately for the modern-day practitioner, the 20th and 21st centuries celebrate witches with song instead of fearfully hunting and burning them at the stake. Revel in the mystical spirit and sing praise to sorceresses, both past and present, with these top songs about witches.
The 15 Best Songs About Witches
Songs featuring magic spells and witches run the gambit from children’s Halloween songs through epic motion picture soundtracks to often misogynistic rants about alluring enchantresses who captivate hapless men. Some use the historical persecution of witches as a metaphor for current affairs, while others use it to celebrate female empowerment.
You can find songs about witches across genres, from classic rock to pop, folk music to modern alternative rock.
Whatever your interest in witches and witchcraft, there’s an epic song about witches for you!
Season of the Witch (Donovan)
Donovan’s 1966 Season of the Witch is a soulful rock ballad bemoaning strange sensations he feels when he looks around at the strangers among him. Although Donovan blames witches for the paranoia in the song, there’s no clear indication that’s the case. The guitar strings and tone are typical of the psychedelic music of the era, making it a fantastic addition to your playlist if you’re interested in creepy tingles.
Ding Dong (The Witch is Dead) (The Wizard of Oz)
The Wizard of Oz classic features a chorus of munchkins rejoicing at the demise of their oppressor, the Wicked Witch of the East. The fun tune is one of the earliest songs about witches on the list and a chipper addition to any Halloween sing-along.
I Put a Spell on You (Hocus Pocus)
Although the original “I Put a Spell on You” was released in the 50s by Screamin’ Jay Hawkins, it’s one of the most frequently covered songs about witches in pop culture. Hundreds of artists, from Creedence Clearwater Revival to Annie Lenox, have put their spins on the classic. Bette Midler’s rendition from the Halloween cult classic Hocus Pocus is a favorite.
Defying Gravity (Wicked)
Wicked is a celebration of witches, even the wicked ones. One of the best songs on the soundtrack, Defying Gravity, is an inspiring tune turning the “evil” witch stereotype on its head. Elphaba, the notorious wicked witch, vows to stand up to the wizard, who, as it turns out, isn’t as good as he seems. -The song symbolizes female choice and empowerment, the perfect choice for a witchy sing-a-long.
Witchy Woman (The Eagles)
Witchy Woman is one of the most famous classic songs about witches. The Eagle’s hit is about a raven-haired beauty captivating men with her wiles. Add it to your playlist for the great rifts and haunting lyrics, but keep in mind that sexual, confident women aren’t actually evil witches.
Waking the Witch (Kate Bush)
Kate Bush’s 1985 melody about witches is a techno ballad admonishing medieval witch trials. Lyrically, the song flows in a dream-like state, with whispers about waking up, confessing, burning, and torture. The techno beats fill listeners with foreboding about the trial, making it a perfect addition to any Halloween soundtrack.
Black Magic Woman (Santana)
Although originally written by Peter Green and released by Fleetwood Mac, Santana’s version of Black Magic Woman thrust the song into fame. The Latin rock jazz infusions Santana is famous for surround the title woman with a shroud of mystery. The lyrics about the spell she cast further the stereotype that exceptional women are dangerous to men. Despite the stereotypical message, it’s a fun song with exceptional guitar rifts that make anyone want to sway to the music.
Which Witch (Florence and the Machine)
Florence Welch’s soulful and ethereal voice is the perfect vessel for a song comparing medieval witch trials to the trials and tribulations of modern romance from a woman’s perspective. Welch’s passion shines through in every note, creating a striking melody that somehow manages to be forlorn yet inspiring, often at the same time.
Witches Brew (Katy B)
If you want a fun pop song about witches you can dance to, add Witches Brew by Katy B to your playlist. The fast-paced beats almost make you forget that the song is mainly about a witch brewing a love potion to get her heart’s desire to fall in love with her. An unusual twist to the “women = witch” formula standard in songs about witches in that it’s written and performed by a woman; Witches Brew remains a fun dance beat perfect for a Halloween party.
Dolly Dagger (Jimi Hendrix)
Rock legend Jimi Hendrix’s most famous song about a witch showcases the spectacular guitar riffs the master musician is celebrated for, offering a terrific jam perfect for a party or road trip. Unfortunately, the song’s lyrics are typical of the time: the beautiful, confident woman who knows what she wants must be a witch.
Witchcraft (Frank Sinatra)
The idea that alluring women must be witches isn’t new. Frank Sinatra’s easy-listening classic “Witchcraft” is one of the earliest versions of the trope in song that we still listen to today. Although it’s a killer song for classic dinner parties, the lyrics make it clear that Sinatra is powerless against his partner’s feminine whiles, thus blaming his attraction on witchcraft.
Burn the Witch (Radiohead)
Radiohead’s Burn the Witch starts with an upbeat intro, betraying the somber tone of the content and offering an impressive contrast to lead singer Thom Yorke’s intense lyrics. Burn the Witch uses the imagery of medieval witch trials as an allegory to modern discrimination and celebrates those who stand up against oppression even in the face of persecution.
Witches Song (Marianne Faithfull)
The 1979 recording Witches Song by Marianne Faithfull is an ode to the classic view of witches: sisters chanting on a hill calling to their father, the devil. Faithfull’s folksy drawl and the easy instrumentals make the song seem like a celebration of classic witches, but the lyrics about danger and loneliness suggest a deeper meaning. Is it about witchcraft, sisterhood, the devil, or the overall oppression of women? Listeners can be the judge.
Abracadabra (Steve Miller)
Steve Miller’s 80’s pop hit isn’t about witchcraft so much as it’s about the intensity of sensations between lovers. Miller likens the exhilaration to magic, using the enchanted words “abracadabra” in the chorus to highlight the mystical illusion. Although the lyrics focus on magic, the beat and instrumentals are quintessential eighties, with lasers and unique techno-style effects that are great for dancing but don’t invoke any captivating emotions.
Strange Brew (Cream)
Cream’s rock classic about a potentially unstable woman has confusing lyrics matched with excellent guitar riffs. It’s anyone’s guess as to what the song is about, but with lyrics such as “in her own mad mind,” “she’s a witch of trouble,” and “kills what’s inside of you,” the overall message suggests it’s about a woman labeled as crazy or unstable, so of course, she must be a witch. The rock song has a bluesy yet seductive feel, making it a perfect slow jam for any playlist.
Bonus: Witches on Halloween (Bounce Patrol)
This one is for the kiddies! Parents can find a plethora of child-appropriate Halloween songs about witches on YouTube, but the iconic Witches on Halloween from Bounce Patrol is sure to be a hit.
Best Witchy Soundtracks for Halloween
Some of the best tunes for your witchy playlist don’t have lyrics, so aren’t technically about witches. However, the ethereal sounds and epic instrumentals reach deep into your soul, thrusting you into a magical zone that many lyrical songs can’t grasp.
Add these iconic soundtracks to your playlist about witches to truly feel the enchantment.
- The Witches Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
- The Witches of Eastwick Motion Picture Soundtrack
- Harry Potter Motion Picture Soundtrack
A Cultural Perspective on Songs About Witches
Traditional, Evil Witches
Songs featuring witches or alluding to witchcraft abound in pop culture. However, you may have noticed that many of these songs have a misogynistic slant, equating women who know what they want or refuse men’s advances with sultry enchantresses.
Unfortunately, the cultural history regarding witches primarily represents this angle. Many witches in stories throughout history are mistresses of evil, embracing devil worship, murder, and mayhem. Medieval witch trials often targeted young single women or widows, advancing the idea that unencumbered women are suspicious.
Witches as a Symbol for Female Empowerment
On the other end of the scale are songs celebrating female empowerment, claiming past insults as badges of honor. Starting in the 1970s with Stevie Nicks, witches in song were celebrated. The alluring women once castigated as witches are now worshipped as ethereal, spiritual beings.
Witches are no longer creatures to fear but strong, powerful women celebrating the divinity of the feminine. Songs about witches on this side of the spectrum often criticize the unjust treatment witches of the past faced and celebrate a modern approach to witchcraft.
Fantastic Songs About Witches on All Ends of the Spectrum
Each side of the spectrum features an abundance of great songs. Although listeners may disagree with a specific piece’s overall theme or message, we can all agree that the combination of melody, lyrics, instrumentals, and tone makes every song on this list an epic masterpiece.
Melanie Allen is an American journalist and happiness expert. She has bylines on MSN, the AP News Wire, Wealth of Geeks, Media Decision, and numerous media outlets across the nation. She covers a wide range of topics centered around self-actualization and the quest for a fulfilling life.