What are the Background Singers Singing in ‘Monster Mash’?
Hiding in plain sight, that's how we should describe this conundrum concerning the Halloween hit song Monster Mash and the lyrics that the background singers are enunciating during its performance. In all the times you've heard it, it's been an October staple on radio since 1962, have you ever noticed the reference to footwear in the song?
That is just one of the surprised I discovered as I was researching some tunes for a Halloween playlist to use later this month. The song, Monster Mash, was written by Bobby Pickett and Leonard Capizzi in the early 60s. The song was inspired by Pickett's performance with The Cordials.
During a cover of The Diamonds' "Little Darlin'," Pickett would often do the spoken word portion of the song in a Boris Karloff accent. It was just a goof at the time but it turned out to be quite a payday for Pickett and Capizzi in later years.
The song was recorded in one take. The sound effects, the creaking of a door and the bubbling of a laboratory were created the old-fashioned way. The creaking door was the sound of a rusty nail being removed from a stubborn board and the bubbles were the sound of the studio engineer blowing through a drinking straw into a glass of milk.
But what about the footwear?
If you listen to the background vocals over the bridge, the background singers are basically singing "Ooooh, tennis shoe, wah-ooh". To this day, the writers, producers, and singers of the song have no idea why these lyrics were added or included.
Here you can listen for yourself.
You know, the legendary Elvis Presley is said to have commented on the Monster Mash, to paraphrase the King of Rock and Roll, he said it was the dumbest thing he'd ever heard.
I wouldn't argue with Elvis on that point but I do know Bobby "Boris" Pickett has made a fortune off the song. And speaking of background singers. What are the background singers saying in the Original Batman TV Theme song?
Do you actually hear them saying "Batman" or are they just making a noise that sounds like the word "batman"? I hear no diction and enunciation, just human voices mimicking trumpets, but you tell me, you're the one listening right now.
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