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‘Season of the Witch’: 8 tracks for your oldies fall playlist

Fall is here, and as the leaves begin to change, images of beautiful red, orange and brown flood our minds. The weather gets colder, and we start to crave warm apple cider. 

Nothing feels more satisfying than pulling out the cozy cardigan that has been awaiting this time of year. The “Season of the Witch” is upon us, and along with all of these characteristics of autumn, our music becomes influenced as well. Here are eight tracks that embody the feeling of fall:

“California Dreamin’” by The Mamas & the Papas 

This folk song was meant for a stroll through College Green as the leaves are changing and colors cover the ground. This is personally one of my favorite fall tunes because the flute and guitar come together, creating a beautiful melody that makes you want to twirl around.

Released in 1966, the lyrics create a dreary scene, as the first verse starts with “All the leaves are brown / And the sky is gray.” Listeners get the idea the band misses the warmth of the sun and is ready for the cold weather to leave. Knowing Ohio weather, it will feel right to be singing along and wishing for sunnier days as we get deeper into autumn.  

“Gold Dust Woman” by Fleetwood Mac 

Stevie Nicks’ voice sounds mystical in this 1977 masterpiece. Picture this: rain pelting the windows, thunder rolling in and the occasional lighting strike illuminating the sky. The room is lit up with candles, and “Gold Dust Woman” starts to play. This song feels like it should be blaring through a thunderstorm as the drums intensify and unite with the constant stroke of the guitar. While listening to this tune, it would only be right for one to dress in flowy lace garments as the legend herself, Nicks, so famously does. “Rock on, ancient queen / Follow those who pale in your shadow” is my favorite verse. It is empowering and might make listeners feel as if they are being embraced by the “witch aesthetic.” 

“Hotel California” by Eagles 

The instrumental opening to this piece is magical, and the essence of this song “affirmed the band’s shift from laid-back country-tinged pop act to major players in the rock & roll fast lane” according to Rolling Stone. Glenn Frey, lead vocalist for the Eagles and co-writer of this song, includes sinister imagery as he sings, “We are all just prisoners here of our own device” and ends with “They gathered for the feast / They stab it with their steely knives / But they just can’t kill the beast.” The spooky atmosphere this song brings is too good not to play while taking a late-night drive in Athens. 

“Rhiannon” by Fleetwood Mac

One of the most popular hits by Fleetwood Mac is “Rhiannon.” Nicks wrote the song around Halloween and made the mythical character of “Rhiannon” come to life. This song was meant for sunny fall days. Pull out those roller skates, or go for a walk on the bike path. This song is sure to brighten any mood.

“Season of the Witch” by Donovan 

This will be my anthem for the whole month of October. Donovan created this supernatural folk song that brings a chilling sound. He sings how strange things are happening and knows it “must be the season of the witch.” These spooky lyrics will get you into the Halloween spirit as we come closer to the season. 

“The Chain” by Fleetwood Mac 

Yes, another Fleetwood Mac song, but how could I not? It has some of the greatest hits, which are too perfect for the fall weather. The harmonizing voices and instrumental in “The Chain'' make it a must-listen. Playing this song while exploring The Ridges should be added to your fall bucket list, as the melody will heighten the already supernatural feeling of the old asylum. 

“Werewolves of London” by Warren Zevon

“Ah-hooo, werewolves of London” is a great soundtrack for hiking through the woods of Hocking Hills State Park. Who wouldn’t want the image of werewolves and the sound of howling as they hiked. This adds a special eeriness to the surroundings (just make sure to go in the daylight). This catchy melody always has everyone singing along, and listeners can’t help but howl with Warren Zevon.

“Gypsy” by Fleetwood Mac 

The queen of the phrase “witchy woman,” Nicks wrote this song that embodies the idea of freedom and fearlessness. She is nostalgic in this song, as she refers to her past while also talking about how free she has become because of it. The fun and bouncy melody of this piece is uplifting and should be played whenever a pick-me-up is needed. Nicks’ influential style, songs and values will never be forgotten, as her whimsical spirit will always live on. 


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