In 1966 saxophone Mike Sharpe and his band recorded an instrumental song titled Spooky. About a year later, the track found its way into the charts and got noticed. A band that mainly played covers named the Classics IV, decided to record a cover of the song also titled Spooky which was released in 1967 and became a huge hit in 1968. The Classics IV added something to their cover that wasn’t on the original, apart from their own instrumentation: lyrics.
The Classics IV track spawned a number of covers. In 1969 Carl Tjader recorded an again instrumental xylophone cover of which you can wonder whether it was based on the Sharpe or the Classics IV version. In 1970 Dusty Springfield recorded a cover of Spooky with the lyrics of the Classics IV version. In 1980 Lydia Lunch did her take on Spooky. Several other bands have played or recorded a cover like REM, Imogen Heap, the Puppini Sisters and many others. The most intriguing ‘cover’ of Spooky is by a band named the Atlanta Rhythm Section in 1979. The band consisted of former members of the Classics IV and another band, the Candymen.
The song didn’t go unnoticed when sampling started. When former model Naomi Campbell released an album, Spooky was used in the track Looks Swank (which I can’t listen to thanks to Sony being a dick on YouTube). Barry Adamson used a clearly recognisable sample of Spooky on his 1996 track Something Wicked This Way Comes. The track found its way onto the soundtrack of the bizarre David Lynch film Lost Highway in 1997. Also in 1996, The Bloodhound Gang used Spooky in their song Why is Everybody Always Pickin’ on Me?
Though technically speaking the Classics IV version of Spooky isn’t the original, it did birth a lot of versions and samples: