It's Witchcraft: Popular Songs About Various Sorceresses

It seems like only yesterday, but it was actually 317 years ago this month that the last people were hanged for witchcraft in the United States. The eight were all convicted defendants in the Salem Witch Trials, proving that Massachusetts - then a province, of course - had a ways to go before becoming a blue state.

Though not as popular as vampires or zombies, witches have always been better represented in popular music, possibly because it's easier to rhyme "witch" than it is "nosferatu," but more likely because witches are traditionally female, and if you can't blame a woman for "doing you wrong" in a song, you can at least accuse her of casting a spell on you.

Frank Sinatra, "Witchcraft": The Chairman of the Board is perhaps the only person who could sing a song overtly referencing the occult in 1957 and not get burned in effigy. He then went on the marry Mia Farrow, who starred in Rosemary's Baby. Coincidence?

Donovan, "Season of the Witch": Not to be confused with the horrible Halloween sequel of the same name, Donovan's dark ode to the Age of Aquarius serves as an impromptu "witch" rhyming primer: stitch, ditch, switch, rich... His itch to bewitch would seem a glitch, but at least he found his niche.

The Eagles, "Witchy Woman": Wow, Don Henley is like the Anti-Peart with that spartan drum kit. And if the banter between Glen Frey and Bernie Leadon is indicative of their usual 70s stage presence, we can understand the internal animosity that led to their eventual break-up.

Santana, "Black Magic Woman": Originally a Fleetwood Mac song, Carlos and company were the ones who recorded the definitive version that would last through the ages. Or until SoBe turned it into a commercial with Naomi Campbell and a bunch of lizards. Whatever.

Fleetwood Mac, "Rhiannon": Possibly desiring a Lifewater endorsement deal of her own, Stevie Nicks penned this ode to the Welsh goddess, whom she described as an "old Welsh witch." The ensuing mix-up would confuse legions of fans and lead to the band's laughable inclusion on lists of "Satanic acts" alongside the likes of Rush, Styx, and...Hawkwind.

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Peter Vonder Haar writes movie reviews for the Houston Press and the occasional book. The first three novels in the "Clarke & Clarke Mysteries" - Lucky Town, Point Blank, and Empty Sky - are out now.
Contact: Pete Vonder Haar