The Misfits - Night Of The Living Dead [7-inch] (Cover Artwork)

The Misfits

Night Of The Living Dead [7-inch] (1979)

Plan 9

By the summer of ‘79, The Misfits had already released three 7-inch EPs. And with a few line-up changes since their inception in 1977, the band had begun to cement their sound and image by the time Night of the Living Dead was released in November 1979. The now famous Crimson Ghost had been used on a poster for a show in Kansas City and had graced the cover of their third EP, Horror Business. And with a new logo, came a new look. The devilock hairdo, black clothing, skeleton shirt and gloves, and eye makeup were all becoming more prevalent (as can be seen on the back cover of this 7-inch). All of which had set the tone for their fourth release, Night Of The Living Dead.

While Glenn Danzig and Jerry Only had been there since the beginning, this was only the second release with Bobby Steele on guitar and Joey Image on drums (both of which would leave the band soon after this EP). Originally, the band made 2000 copies on black vinyl, but the record was a bit of an audible disappointment because of bad mastering. In the end though, the songs speak for themselves.

The A-Side featured the title track, which had more or less combined the sounds of the previous releases into somewhat of a trademark sound. The song started with pounding toms, raw guitars, and a ghoulish howl. And when the verse started, it was tough to deny Danzig’s vocal ability. Though the vocals were high and crackling, the power remained as he navigated through the horror lyrics with a smooth delivery. And as on most great Misfits songs, it was the background vocals that turned “Night Of The Living Dead”  from a musically sloppy song into an amazing song.

The B-side featured “Where Eagles Dare” and “Rat Fink”. The first tune contained somewhat of a ‘50s surf vibe, starting with a fuzzy bass line, which continued through the first verse until the chorus kicked into a blessed  cacophony of punk rock noise. It wasn’t until the second chorus that you could really hear Danzig’s range and ability as he screeched, “I ain’t no goddamn son of a bitch. You better think about it baby.” The other song on the flip side, “Rat Fink”, was a big departure from the other two songs on this release both musically and lyrically. The song contained very few lyrics other than the name of the song and contained a long blues guitar progression with some lead guitar licks that were somewhat unheard of on Misfits songs.

While The Misfits have produced many notable records, it can be argued that Night Of The Living Dead was their pivotal release, though it may not have garnered the attention it deserved when it was first released. It secured the bands look and sound as we now know it. Also, it has been rumored that this was Glenn Danzig’s favorite time with the band.