Our newest feature B-Side Bios is getting a spooky makeover this week. This week’s Boo-Side Bio is a quick introduction to some of the maybe unknown facts about the artist behind one of the most iconic Halloween anthems, the Monster Mash.
Robert George Pickett was born February 11, 1938, though became known as Bobby "Boris" Pickett the singer, songwriter, actor, and comedian known for co-writing and performing the 1962 hit song the Monster Mash.
Growing up with his dad working as a theatre manager, young Bobby would fuel his imagination with all of the horror movie screenings a kid could ever hope to watch. As an aspiring actor, Bobby would incorporate impressions of these horror films into his nightclub act and as an aspiring musician with a sense of humour, he’d often bring satire and parody to his songs.
The Monster Mash was a spoof on the dance crazes popular at the time, the Twist and the Mashed Potato, which inspired the title of the song. In fact, the song was equally as popular as songs like “The Twist” and even knocked the Four Seasons’ song “Sherry” off its five-week run at the top of the charts.
The whole idea of the song began with a Boris Karloff impression that Pickett performed often on stage. In fact, all of the impressions and sound effects were accomplished by “Boris” Picket and his co-writer, Leonard Capizzi. The sound of a coffin creaking open? They got that sound by pulling a rusty nail from a wooden plank. A bubbling cauldron? Simply the sound of blowing bubbles in water through a straw.
A ton of covers were made of the Monster Mash, but The Beach Boys had to be the biggest fans of the song, making it a feature of their live performances for years.
To follow the success of his “Monster Mash,” Pickett recorded “Monsters’ Holiday,” which was supposed to be the Monster Mash, but for Christmas. That song had a little success, so next came “Monster Rap,” which includes the line “now rap for daddy”, so I’ll leave that to your own judgments. The best song associated with “Monster Mash” was the eventual version of “Transylvania Twist” which was released in 2005.
Bobby went on to appear in a handful of films, including the beach party movie It's a Bikini World, a biker flick Chrome and Hot Leather, a horror movie called Deathmaster, and a sci-fi film titled Lobster Man From Mars. He also wrote a bunch of musicals like Frankenstein Unbound and narrated the 2004 kid’s movie Spookley the Square Pumpkin.
Pickett never stopped performing. His last performance on record was in November 2006, just five months before he died of leukemia. With songs like the Monster Mash, he’ll certainly not be forgotten. It has to be one of the most notable Halloween songs of all time, selling over four million copies worldwide.
Did ya learn something?
And there we have it, another B-Side, or should I say, Boooooo-Side Bio. As always, for a fun Pull the Plug added bonus check out our PTP Spotify Playlist. This week, well, you can guess which song we’re adding.