By: Jason Songe
A man carries his own head. He’s walking down the hill where he was just decapitated. That’d be strange enough, but he’s also talking. His jaw moves, moving the fingers holding it with care. But, is the head where the sound of his words comes from? Or is it his faceless body?
St. Denis was pretty Halloween-y. The first Bishop of Paris was martyred in the 3rd century A.D. with his missionary companions, Rusticus and Eleutherius. They were too effective at converting pagans to Christianity, so the Roman Emperor had the three executed on the highest hill in Rome. Christian legend says St. Denis proceeded to pick his head up and walk six miles, preaching repentance. The saint must have been a frightful sight. Which is why he wonderfully represents the three day span of Halloween, All Saints Day, and All Souls Day.
In 2016 American rock band the Pixies wrote a song about of the most famous of cephalophores, entitled “Head Carrier.” It details the story of St. Denis, “Rusty,” and “Luther.” Listen to it on the playlist below, which is a mix of songs about darkness, saints, and souls. Notes about the songs follow the playlist.
I. Michael Jackson–“Thriller”–The seventh(!) single from the album of the same name. Written by Rod Temperton. Temperton also wrote “Off The Wall” and “Rock with You” for Jackson. Temperton wrote the spoken word section for Vincent Price.
IV. Screamin’ Jay Hawkins–“I Put A Spell on You”–No. 313 on Rolling Stone’s Top 500 Songs of All Time
V. Ray Parker Jr.–“Ghostbusters”–Carly Simon sings background vocals.
VII. Warren Zevon–“Werewolves of London”–Mick Fleetwood and John McVie of Fleetwood Mac played on this track. Jackson Browne produced it.
XII. Rockwell–“Somebody’s Watching Me”–Rockwell is a son of Motown’s Berry Gordy. Michael Jackson sings on the chorus.
XXV. Rolling Stones–“Paint it Black”–The opening riff is played on a guitar, not a sitar, by Keith Richards.
XXXII. John Williams–“Imperial Death March”–This first appeared in “The Empire Strikes Back.”
About the Author: Jason Songe
Jason is a seminarian in First Pre-Theology.
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