The origin of that terrible Monster Mash song
The Monster Mash song is back – thankfully, only for another day.
Some things are meant to stay buried. You could certainly make that case for the horrific "Monster Mash" song which escapes from the crypts of long-dead music every year at the end of October.
All you have to do is hear that "graveyard smash" once – on the Web, on TV – and you're doomed. It'll be stuck in your head long after you get the caramel out of your teeth.
It’s been haunting folks since 1962 when Bobby Pickett channeled Frankenstein actor Boris Karloff with an imitation that he thought, at the time, was pretty spot on.
Lenny sat down at the piano and began futzing with various four-chord progressions and I stood next to the piano. Like me, Lenny was a major horror movie fan from childhood. He loved Bela Lugosi as Dracula. He knew I had the Boris Karloff voice pretty nailed, although in retrospect, I feel that what I actually had was a very cartoonish rendition of that wonderful actor's voice.
In any case, we'd both seen how the audiences had loved it when I was with the group and we'd sing “Little Darlin'” and I did the monologue in the middle of the song in Boris's voice. We agreed that the Karloff voice was the most obvious one to tell the story. And what was the story?
“Well,” Lenny suggested, “Maybe the Frankenstein monster should start a dance craze.”
“That's it!” I said.
He became “Bobby ‘Boris’ Pickett ” for the record’s release, which, according to his official website, was the first of three. After its 1962 premier, when it reached number one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, it was re-released in 1970 and 1973.
It’s also been covered numerous times through the years, most notably by Vincent Price and again by the Misfits.