World Goth Day is a time to celebrate one of the most iconic music genre movements (and indeed fashion aesthetics) of the 20th century; a movement succeeding the rebellious punk scene, and one that incorporated both experimental and pop aspects to extremely dark effect. Read on for your ultimate goth-influenced playlist:

Arabian Knights - Siouxsie And The Banshees

Siouxsie Sioux was in the vanguard of post-punk, dropping the Banshee's debut album The Scream in 1978. By 1981's landmark record Juju, they had really come into their own, and second single Arabian Knights really highlighted their sensational pop-goth aesthetic.

Temple of Love - The Sisters of Mercy

You can't really talk gothic rock without bringing up The Sisters. Formed in Leeds in 1980, they released their epic single Temple of Love in 1983, but amazingly it wasn't included on an album until 1992's compilation Some Girls Wander by Mistake.

A Forest - The Cure

While The Cure aren't strictly goth (or so says Andrew Eldritch), their aesthetic is very much favoured by the goth community. Plus, you can't deny the dark influences in their sound, particularly when it came to their 1980 second album Seventeen Seconds featuring A Forest.

Release the Bats - The Birthday Party

There just isn't a more goth title than Release the Bats, which is probably why this Hallowe'en-esque track from Nick Cave's pre-Bad Seeds band is such a cult hit, though it never appeared on a Birthday Party album.

Bela Lugosi's Dead - Bauhaus

Bela Lugosi: Famous for his roles in classic horror flicks the likes of Dracula and The Raven, and the famous muse of this Northampton 80s band. The song was Bauhaus' debut single, and it is sometimes considered to be the very first gothic rock record.

Kiss Kiss Bang Bang - Specimen

Considering how iconic they were, these Bristolian goth-rockers don't have the most sprawling of back catalogues. Specimen are best known for founding London's Batcave club night. While they were originally together, they released one EP and four singles; Kiss Kiss Bang Bang was the B-side to Returning (From A Journey).

Sebastiane - Sex Gang Children

Sex Gang Children were one of the more popular bands on London's Batcave scene in the 80s, during which time they only released one album; Song and Legend; on which the rather abrasive Sebastiane appeared.

Red Right Hand - Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds

Nick Cave is possibly one of the more commercial artists on this list, but he nonetheless had quite the influence on the goth scene long after its inception. Red Right Hand is a Southern gothic number with a folk edge, which featured on his iconic Let Love In album.

Personal Jesus - Marilyn Manson

Some goths love him, some goths hate him, but you can't deny that there's a lot to appreciate in Manson's industrial-tinged shock rock aesthetic. His 2004 cover of Depeche Mode's Personal Jesus was both a respectful tribute and a sexier revision.

Moonchild - Fields of the Nephilim

Latecomers to the goth scene but nonetheless influential, Fields of the Nephilim followed their UK indie number 1 Dawnrazor with the semi-eponymous The Nephilim in 1988. Moonchild was the top-charting single, named after the novel by Aleister Crowley.

Wasteland - The Mission

This gothic supergroup formed of The Sisters of Mercy's Wayne Hussey and Craig Adams, Pulp's Simon Hinkler and (formerly) Mick Brown from Red Lorry Yellow Lorry, wrote (in our opinion), one of the catchiest tracks on this list; 1987's Wasteland from their debut album God's Own Medicine.

She Sells Sanctuary - The Cult

She Sells Sanctuary is probably the most famous single by Bradford's The Cult, named after frontman Ian Astbury's previous band Southern Death Cult. It featured on 1985's Love - an album which saw them catapult into the mainstream.

Black No.1 (Little Miss Scare-All) - Type O Negative

It's rare to see a band having stayed together for more than 20 consecutive years with the same original line-up, but that was the case for Type O Negative, who only bowed out following the death of frontman Peter Steele in 2010. This song was their second ever single, released on their 1993 Platinum album Bloody Kisses.


While you wouldn't look at them and think "goth", this Salford post-punk group led by Ian Curtis was one of the first to be described as "gothic rock". Indeed, tragedy struck just before the group released their second album with Curtis' suicide, and Dead Souls was unveiled in the 1981 compilation Still, from the Licht und Blindheit sessions.

Love Like Blood - Killing Joke

Love Like Blood brought Killing Joke mainstream success in 1985, peaking at number 12 in the UK charts. It was a defining moment for the Notting Hill band, and they found similar success with their corresponding fifth album Night Time.

Kiss - London After Midnight

Named after the Lon Chaney silent horror film of the same name, London After Midnight are another band to have adamantly shunned the "goth" label despite the majority of their fans identifying as such. 1995's Kiss was the titular song for their one and only EP release.

The Killing Moon - Echo & the Bunnymen

Liverpool's Echo & the Bunnymen released The Killing Moon in 1984. It's one of their highest charting hits and widely regarded as their greatest song. It's musically inspired by David Bowie's Space Oddity, and lyrically inspired by Ian McCulloch's creative dreams.

More: The Cure perform Friday I'm In Love live

Romeo's Distress - Christian Death

We move to Los Angeles for this early gothic rock band, who featured the epic track Romeo's Distress on their debut album Only Theatre of Pain featuring original frontman Rozz Williams. Naturally this was a band who provoked a lot of controversy with their chosen band name.