The graveyard smash that will never die
Sixty years ago in the U.K. in 1962, Monster Mash was banned for 11 years by the BBC for being “too morbid.” Because of the ban, the Monster Mash climbed to the top of the Billboard charts before Halloween in the US in 1962. It stayed on the charts for 14 weeks. The ban was eventually reversed in 1973, it went to number three on the UK charts, and number 10 on the Billboard charts again.
The tune was a career-definer for Bobby “Boris” Pickett, an aspiring actor and singer who did a passable Boris Karloff impression. Encouraged by band member Lenny Capizzi to build a song around the impression. Pickett and Capizzi then composed ‘Monster Mash’, and recorded it with Gary S Paxton, pianist Leon Russell, Johnny MacRae, Rickie Page, and Terry Berg, named ‘The Crypt-Kickers’.
“Let’s just say that it has paid the rent for 43 years,” Pickett told The Washington Post when asked if the royalties from the song helped him through life. Pickett also claimed that “The song wrote itself in a half hour and it took less than a half hour to record it.”