Editor’s Note: This feature has been updated after originally running ahead of Misfits’ 2016 reunion.
With singer Glenn Danzig’s inimitable voice and love affair with countless horror films, the Misfits rose to prominence in the late ‘70s/early ‘80s as one of punk rock’s most explosive acts. But as with any relationship built upon chaos, there were fights — lots of fights. After just two albums, 1982’s Walk Among Us and 1983’s Earth A.D./Wolf’s Blood, Danzig and only consistent member Jerry Only parted ways, but not before establishing themselves as punk rock royalty.
Only re-formed the Misfits in 1995 with a new lineup and released four more albums, as well as the previously shelved Static Age, originally recorded in 1978. For more than 30 years, Danzig and Only couldn’t set their differences aside — until 2016, when they finally reunited to perform at that year’s Riot Fests. Since then, with Doyle Wolfgang von Frankenstein on guitar and founding Slayer member Dave Lombardo on drums, they’ve played a number of select “Original Misfits” concerts over the past few years, including an incredible show at Madison Square Garden in 2019.
Recently, Danzig said he was done touring with his various bands, but would still play the occasional show here and there. No matter what he does for the rest of his career, Danzig left one helluva legacy with the horror-punk songs he wrote for the Misfits. See our picks for the iconic band’s 10 Best Songs below.
10. “Astro Zombies”
Glenn Danzig’s love of ’50s doo-wop is front and center on the Walk Among Us track “Astro Zombies,” as is his love of vintage horror films. The song takes its name from the 1968 sci-fi movie The Astro-Zombies, and features such wholesome lyrics as, “With just a touch of my burning hand/ I send my astro zombies to rape the land/ Prime directive, exterminate/ The whole human race.”
09. “London Dungeon”
This gem from 1981’s 3 Hits From Hell EP saw Danzig turn a real-life conundrum into a memorable tune. The Misfits had been an ill-fated UK tour with The Damned, when one night Danzig and then-guitarist Bobby Steele were locked up for two nights in a Brixton jail after engaging in a physical confrontation with some skinheads when they went to see The Jam perform at a nearby venue.
08. “20 Eyes”
As the album opener for Walk Among Us, “20 Eyes” was either influenced by the 1965 horror movie The Eye Creature or comes from a scene from 1957 film The Fly. Either way, for almost two minutes, Danzig’s undeniable gift for constructing creepy, make-your-skin-crawl lyrics keeps spewing forth every single second.
07. “Where Eagles Dare”
“I ain’t no god damn son of a bitch” is probably one of the most memorable hooks in any Misfits song. It’s the one sang the most — drunk — over a pitcher of PBRs at the local dive bar. Inspired by the classic WWII film Where Eagles Dare (starring Richard Burton and Clint Eastwood), the lyrics are an ode to prostitution, S&M, and various sexually transmitted diseases. It also served as the B-side to 1979’s “Night of the Living Dead.”
06. “Mommy Can I Go Out and Kill Tonight?”
This is probably the last question a mother would want to hear, but nonetheless, Danzig is asking it. (By the way, what’s with Danzig and mothers?) Told from the perspective of a bullied child, this Walk Among Us track is about being Eddie Haskell by day and Michael Myers at night, with the protagonist bringing his victims’ body parts home to his mother as souvenirs. Cute, eh?
05. “Hybrid Moments”
By 1985, Misfits had been broken up for over a year, so in order to avoid paying his bandmates any money, Danzig overdubbed the guitar and bass tracks on several songs, including “Hybrid Moments” from the Legacy of Brutality collection, because Danzig does what he wants.
As perhaps one of the most lyrically simplistic Misfits songs of all time, the Walk Among Us track “Skulls” has a total of about a dozen words, easily memorizable by any fan of the band. Like a quick punch to the gut, it perfectly exemplifies how punk rock was meant to sound.
03. “Horror Business”
As the third Misfits single, “Horror Business” further cemented the group’s reputation as a “horror” punk band.” Released in 1978 on Danzig’s Plan 9 Records, the cover features a skeletal figure inspired by a poster for the 1946 film serial The Crimson Ghost, which would eventually become the band’s logo.
02. “Die, Die My Darling”
Before Danzig was singing “Mother,” he was pleading for his anonymous darling to die. The band had officially broken up by the time “Die, Die My Darling” was released in 1984 — although the song was recorded in 1981 for the Walk Among Us sessions, but had surprisingly gotten scrapped. It’s unclear who Danzig’s target is in the song, but whoever it’s dedicated to got one hell of a send-off.
01. “Last Caress”
Metallica famously covered this 1980 classic off the Beware EP, and it’s the one Misfits song poseurs and hardcore fans alike seem to immediately recognize either for being one of the most shocking songs they’ve ever heard or simply because it rules. “I got something to say/ I killed a baby today,” Danzig proudly sings in such a way that seemingly makes it okay to publicly profess any homicidal tendencies one may have.