Song: “Monster Mash” by Bobby (Boris) Pickett and the Crypt-Kickers
Reached #1: October 20, 1962 (his first, 2 weeks)
Yes, 11 days to Hallowe’en and Bobby Pickett’s send up of dance-craze songs hit #1… today, it’s become the go-to Hallowe’en song, but that’s not totally how Pickett meant it to be taken then.
The late ‘50s and early ‘60s had more than their share of dance crazes… from the Twist to the Watusi to the Mashed Potato (which became the dance move used for live performances of “Monster Mash”). Combine that with Pickett’s impersonations of Boris Karloff and Bela Lugosi, and everything came together for what they thought would be a fun little parody.
The real surprise is that some serious talent has been part of the Mash over the years – Leon Russell appeared on the original version, which was produced by Gary Paxton. For the 1973 tour that followed one of the re-releases of the song, guitarist Brian Ray was one of the Crypt-Kickers – Ray would go on to be the guitarist for Paul McCartney’s touring band.
The song hit the charts in 1962 (twice), 1970, and 1973 – and will always remain a song you hear during the last couple of weeks of October.
Tomorrow, the comeback vehicle for a big star of the ‘50s, and one of the more notorious #1 songs ever.
Other songs that reached #1 on October 20:
1973 – “Angie” by the Rolling Stones (their seventh, 1 week)
1979 – “Rise” by Herb Alpert (his second, 2 weeks)
1990 – “I Don’t Have The Heart” by James Ingram (his first, 1 week)