The month of October is two-thirds over, and we’re in the home stretch for Halloween. Of course, that still leaves a few October-edition Monday Music Videos to go. Now, if circumstances were ideal, I’d probably be placing this song right on Halloween proper, but as it is, October 31st just happens to fall on a Thursday this year. And while I could include it on the Monday before Halloween, I think we all know that there’s a particular song that most people are expecting for that day. So Helloween’s almost-eponymous single “Halloween” will just have to arrive a little bit on the early side.
Note: For some reason, the uploader repeated 30 seconds towards the end. Just cut it off at 5:00.
Helloween was a German metal band who came together in the mid-80s from various smaller bands. Their initial album and EP were speed metal and thrash metal, but a slight transition was made when they added singer Michael Kiske afterward (their previous lead singer, Kai Hansen, remained part of the band as lead guitarist). With Keeper of the Seven Keys, they transitioned into power metal, becoming one of the earlier bands in the sub-genre. The initial intent was to release Keeper of the Seven Keys as a double album, but their record label balked, possibly at the risk of trying to market a double album for a relatively new band. It was instead released as two separate albums, with Keeper of the Seven Keys, Part I coming out in 1987, and Part II following the next year.
With their name, it was perhaps inevitable that they would do a song with a Halloween theme, and that this song would be receive special attention. However, it was “Future World” that was released as a single, and not “Halloween”. Despite this, it was “Halloween” which received a music video, making a rare disconnect between singles and videos in the music video era. The version of the song in the video is considerably abridged from the original track, although the cuts will appear seamless to somebody unfamiliar with the song. The reason for the cuts is obvious; at five minutes in length, the video is already a bit longer than is typical (most videos are a little under four minutes). The original album track, meanwhile, is two and a half times longer, at 13 minutes. Even assuming the studio wanted to put up the funding for the additional footage, it’s unlikely it would have seen airplay at that length.
The band has undergone many line-up changes since, with Kai Hansen departing after Keeper of the Seven Seals Part II, and Michael Kiske being fired in 1995. 1995 also saw the suicide of drummer of Ingo Schwichtenberg, after struggling with depression and drug abuse. However, Helloween has persisted, and have had a stable line-up since 2005. Two original members of the band have remained with Helloween through all the lineups: Michael Weikath on guitars, and Markus Grosskopf on bass. They have released several more studio albums, including a follow-up to the ones that made them famous, in Keeper of the Seven Seals: The Legacy. They have reported shown a renewed level of success in Europe and occasionally in North America… where they’re still probably best known as “the guys who did that really long Halloween song.”