1. Bauhaus | "Bela Lugosi’s Dead"
"Bela Lugosi’s Dead" by Bauhaus from the album Bela Lugosi's Dead (1979)
Obvious? Maybe. Warranted? Absolutely. Written and recorded live (in one take) a mere six weeks after Bauhaus’s 1979 formation — this isn’t really remembered as a ’70s composition, is it? — “Bela Lugosi’s Dead” has done more than define the gothic-rock subculture, it sculpted it. Peter Murphy’s gloomy baritone, decrying the death/undeath of the iconic Hungarian actor who famously brought Dracula to life, isn’t even needed until nearly three minutes in. The bloodline in “Bela” remains a hauntingly perfect orchestral maneuver in the dark: Kevin Haskins’s frigid percussion relentlessly tapping like midnight rain, Daniel Ash’s sprawling guitar shrieks from the far corners of the room, and perfectly timed bass intrusions by David J., whose effort builds like gentle, timid, steps down a staircase into never ending darkness. Play the nearly 10-minute-long version on repeat, and you’ll soon forget where it begins and ends. Much unlike gothic rock as a whole.