Most people know Oct. 31 as Halloween, but there is another holiday celebrated on that date; Magic Day. Magic Day commemorates the life of the most famous illusionist and escape artist ever, Harry Houdini, who died on this day in 1926. To celebrate Magic Day and the life of Houdini, we've delved into music history to find the 11 best songs about all kinds of magic.
11. Houdini- Foster the People
What better way to celebrate Magic Day than to kick it off with a song that name-checks the man of the hour, Harry Houdini? Foster the People released this single from their debut album Torches in 2012. The music video, featuring the band dying at the song's beginning only to be “reanimated” by electronic and physical manipulation so the show can go on, was nominated for a Grammy.
10. Do You Believe in Magic- Lovin' Spoonful
The Lovin' Spoonful released “Do You Believe in Magic” in 1965 as the lead single from their album of the same name. Detailing the power of music to lift spirits and bring freedom to any who listen, “Do You Believe in Magic” was a Top 10 hit for The Lovin Spoonful and reached the Top 40 a decade later when teen idol Shaun Cassidy covered it.
9. Magic Power- Triumph
Unsurprisingly, musicians find a lot of magic in the power of music and, almost two decades after The Lovin' Spoonful sang about the power of music, Canadian rockers Triumph penned their biggest hit about the same subject. 1981's “Magic Power” detailed the magic feeling of standing on stage to perform, and the transference of that magic into the audience to make their lives better.
8. 24k Magic- Bruno Mars
The newest song on this list, Bruno Mars' 2016 hit “24k Magic,” from the album of the same name, is a celebration of money, fame, and the party lifestyle. The song makes no pretenses at deeper meanings or pithy commentary, but revels in its status as a funky r&b dance number with club appeal, its “magic” being its ability to get people on the dance floor.
7. Barenaked Ladies- Vanishing
An unusually bleak song from fun-loving Canadian rockers Barenaked Ladies, “Vanishing” appeared on the band's 2006 album Barenaked Ladies Are Me. Telling the story of a magician who is confident in his ability to dazzle and amaze audiences with his tricks, but finds his powers fail him when he falls for a girl in the audience, only to watch her leave when the curtain falls.
6. Abracadabra- Steve Miller Band
The Steve Miller Band's final hit was one of his most successful. “Abracadabra” reached #1 in America for two non-consecutive weeks in 1981. The song also spawned Miller's first hit music video, with the notoriously camera-shy vocalist popping up at random in the background while magicians and their beautiful (and scantily clad) assistants took the spotlight.
5. The Wizard- Black Sabbath
Leave it to heavy metal forefathers Black Sabbath to take a literal tack on their song about magic. “The Wizard,” from their self-titled 1970 debut, has remained popular with fans both for its fantasy lyrics about a wizard who uses his powers to make people happy and its rare instrumental turn from vocalist Ozzy Osbourne, who handles the song's harmonica intro.
4. Black Magic Woman- Santana
Sometimes a cover song takes on a life that far exceeds its original. “Black Magic Woman” was written by Peter Green for Fleetwood Mac and was a minor hit for them, but became a Top 10 hit in 1971 for Santana. The lyrics tell of a woman whose beauties and charms are such that she has the “black magic” powers to make the narrator's heart soar or to “make a devil out of me.”
3. I Put a Spell on You- Screamin' Jay Hawkins
No list of magic songs would be complete without “I Put a Spell on You” from Screamin' Jay Hawkins. The 1956 song was Hawkins' biggest hit. While a fairly straightforward song about enrapturing a woman, Hawkins' stage performances, which often involved him emerging from a casket carrying a voodoo cane, wearing a bone in his nose, and screaming gibberish, give it an enjoyably devilish tint. The song was later covered by Creedence Clearwater Revival and Nina Simone.
2. A Kind of Magic- Queen
Queen's “A Kind of Magic” exists in two forms. The original, heavier and broodier, version was played over the credits of the film Highlander. But the version best known by fans is the more upbeat version released on their 1986 album of the same name. Both versions retain the same lyrics, which pepper in phrases about magic and immortality relating to the film throughout.
1. Love Potion No. 9- The Searchers
The Searchers' only Top 10 hit, a cover of The Clovers' “Love Potion No. 9” released in 1965, has retained its popularity on oldies radio for its novelty premise. The song details the adventures of a man who was “a flop with chicks” but attempted to remedy it by taking a love potion provided by the gypsy “Madame Ruth.” Instead of finding love, he goes crazy and ends up arrested after he “kissed the cop down on 34th and Vine.”