Uploaded on Oct 15, 2007
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"Monster Mash" is a 1962 novelty song and the best-known song by Bobby "Boris" Pickett. Pickett was an aspiring actor who sang with a band called The Cordials at night while going to auditions during the day. One night, while performing with his band, Pickett did a monologue in imitation of horror movie actor Boris Karloff while covering The Diamonds' "Little Darlin'". The audience loved it and co band member, Lenny Capizzi encouraged Pickett to do more with the Karloff imitation.
Pickett and Capizzi composed "Monster Mash" and recorded it with Gary Paxton, Leon Russell, Johnny McCrae and Rickie Page, credited as "The Cryptkickers". This song was partially inspired by Paxton's earlier novelty hit "Alley Oop", as well as by the Mashed Potato dance craze of the era.
The song is narrated by a mad scientist whose monster, late one evening, rises from a slab to perform a new dance. The dance becomes a hit when the scientist throws a party for other monsters. The producers came up with several low-budget, but effective sound effects for the recording. For example, the sound of a coffin opening was imitated by a rusty nail being pulled out of a board. The sound of a cauldron bubbling was actually water being bubbled through a straw and the chains rattling were simply chains being dropped on a tile floor. Pickett also impersonated the horror actor Bela Lugosi as Dracula when he said, "What ever happened to my Transylvania Twist?"
On October 20, 1962, eight weeks after it was recorded, "Monster Mash" reached number one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart just in time for Halloween. It has been a perennial holiday favorite ever since. The single was re-released twice, the first re-release was in 1970, and the second re-release resulted in the single peaking at #10 in early-May, 1973. The song remains a staple on oldies radio.
"Monster's Holiday", a Christmas-themed follow up, was released in December 1962 and peaked at #30 on the Billboard chart. The tune was penned by the renowned novelty song composer Paul 'Oops! upside ya head' Harrison.
The Bonzo Dog Band released a version of "Monster Mash" on their 1969 album Tadpoles.
Bobby 'Boris' Pickett and the Crypt-Kickers charted with "Monster Mash" in the UK in 1973 where it peaked at #3 in the early October. The BBC banned the record in 1962 on the grounds they thought the song was "too morbid." Hence part of the reason why the record failed in the UK.
In 2005, "Climate Mash", a version with re-written lyrics about global warming and new vocals by Pickett, was released on the Internet by the organization Clear the Air. "Monster Mash" was written by Pickett and Leonard Capizzi.
Stereo remix from original 3 track master.