There were many novelty records around when I was growing up. Some of them would simply record the latest fashion or fad and manufacture a forgettable hit. Most of them don't rate a mention but there is one glorious exception.
Bobby Pickett co-wrote "Monster Mash" with Leonard Capizzi, featuring impersonations of veteran horror stars Boris Karloff and Bela Lugosi (the latter with the line "Whatever happened to my Transylvania Twist?"). It was passed on by every major label, but after hearing the song Gary S. Paxton agreed to produce and engineer it; among the musicians who played on it was pianist Leon Russell. The single became a million seller, reaching #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart for two weeks before Halloween in 1962. It was styled as being by "Bobby 'Boris' Pickett & The Crypt-Kickers". The track re-entered the U.S. charts twice, in August 1970, and again in May 1973, when it reached the #10 spot. In Britain it took until October 1973 for the tune to become popular, peaking at #3 in the UK Singles Chart.
A Christmas-themed follow-up, "Monster's Holiday," was also released in 1962 and reached #30 in December that year. Another of his songs, "Graduation Day", made #80 in June 1963. Pickett also recorded a novelty spoof on Star Trek called "Star Drek" with Peter Ferrara, again performing some of the various voices, which was played on Dr. Demento's radio show. In October 2005, Pickett protested inaction on global warming by releasing "Climate Mash," a new version of his hit single. Amazingly there is a website dedicated to the record and artist Here where you can download the track as an MP3 or a ringtone.
Bobby Pickett died in April of this year. Here is what he'll be forever remembered for.