How quickly a year goes by. Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” leads a rush of Halloween songs on the Nov. 13-dated Billboard Global 200 at No. 28, just as the holiday music season begins to jingle with the re-entry of Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas Is You” at No. 105.
The tracking week for this week’s charts spanned Oct. 29 through Nov. 4, thus, encompassing the final three days leading up to and including Halloween.
Blasting 109-28 on the Global 200, “Thriller” drew 22.1 million streams (up 105%) and sold 8,800 downloads (up 78%) around the world in the tracking week, according to MRC Data. Notably, that’s a nearly 30% stronger streaming showing than last year, when the zombie-terror classic scared up 17 million streams (up 95%) during Halloween week, hitting its initial high of No. 51.
Of course, it’s not an apples-to-apples (or apple cider …) comparison; since Halloween falls on a different day of the week each year, the portion of the tracking week most devoted to spooky listening ebbs and flows year-to-year. In 2020, the corresponding Friday-Thursday tracking week covered Oct. 30-Nov. 5.
Similarly, Rockwell’s “Someone’s Watching Me” hits No. 35 (18.5 million streams) despite not appearing on the chart at all in 2020 (when it logged 5.6 million Halloween-week streams), while Ray Parker, Jr.’s “Ghostbusters” ranks at No. 46 (14.4 million) after reaching No. 119 last year (9.6 million). Additionally, Bobby “Boris” Pickett and the Crypt-Keepers creep to No. 54 with “Monster Mash” (11.8 million; No. 89 high in 2020, 10 million); Andrew Gold’s “Spooky, Scary Skeletons” debuts at No. 120 (5.6 million last year); and AC/DC’s “Highway to Hell” is No. 142 (10.4 million; No. 160 in 2020, 9.7 million).
Of the seven Halloween-themed songs on the Global 200, four make the Global Excl. U.S. chart, all at lower positions than on the worldwide tally. “Thriller” is No. 60, “Someone’s Watching Me” is No. 77, “Ghostbusters” is No. 151 and “Highway to Hell” rounds out the list at No. 183.
Meanwhile, Carey’s ever-dominant “Christmas” ushers in the Yuletide season on Billboard’s global charts. The song re-enters the Global 200 at No. 105 with 11.7 million streams and 2,600 sold in the tracking week, up 128% and 256%, respectively. Continuing with our year-over-year comparisons, the song started its chart ascent the same week in 2020 (on the Nov. 14 tally), although at No. 139 with 11.1 million streams. Its 2021 mid-chart re-entry will likely be followed in the coming weeks by classics from Brenda Lee, Burl Ives, Wham! and a sleighful of others.
Just as Halloween songs fare better on the latest Global 200 than on the Global Excl. U.S. ranking, the same goes for Christmas titles. Over the 2020-21 season, 93 holiday-themed songs appeared on the Global 200, including the entire top nine songs on the Jan. 2 chart, with Carey’s carol at No. 1 for four weeks. On the Global Excl. U.S. list, however, 52 such songs charted, including five of the Jan. 2 top 10 and Carey reigning for one week. And as “Christmas” debuts mid-chart on the Global 200, it is so far shy of the Global Excl. U.S. tally, likely to re-enter next week.