What Happened To The Man Who Sang Monster Mash?

Every year, people celebrate Halloween in their own special way. The holiday is rife with traditions and staples too numerous to count. In terms of Halloween-themed media, pop music has its fair share of entries in the seasonal canon. As The Current explains, spooky songs like Michael Jackson's "Thriller" or "This is Halloween" from "The Nightmare Before Christmas" have dominated the airwaves and the holiday for years. A fair amount of Halloween-related music also has roots in the blues and rock n' roll. 

One Halloween song that gets plenty of airplay come October is "Monster Mash" by Bobby "Boris" Pickett. As NME says, this insanely catchy 1962 track became one of the most popular Halloween songs of all time immediately after release, dominating the charts at #1 for a long time. (One of Pickett's performances of the tune on "American Bandstand" is posted on YouTube.) But whatever happened to Bobby Pickett, the song's singer and creator? And what did he himself think about the most popular song he had ever made? 

A brief history of Bobby Pickett's Monster Mash

The song "Monster Mash" was both a commercial and critical darling. As NME states, the song was essentially era-defining, with big music players like the Beach Boys doing performances of the song in the 1960s and, later, Eddie Van Halen. The song was disliked by only the BBC, which once called it too morbid for radio play. The co-creator of the song, Pickett, drew huge influence from the horror films he saw as a kid. He had a penchant for all things macabre and creepy, with "Monster Mash" being the absolute culmination of these interests. 

As U Discover Music explains, the song was eventually banned from BBC radio entirely, given its supposed dark content matter. It might seem strange nowadays, especially given the kinds of songs one would normally hear on the radio, but the 1960s had different standards and censorship. The other creator of the song, Leonard Capizzi, one of Pickett's bandmates in The Cordials, was apparently the one who encouraged Pickett to use his Boris Karloff impression in the track. The result was memorable and a hit. 

What happened to Bobby Pickett?

So, whatever happened to the man himself, Bobby Pickett? A fair amount of Pickett's career after "Monster Mash" was basically making sequels to the song or spoofs of other media. Pickett made a "Star Trek" parody called "Star Drek" back in 1975 (also on YouTube). He produced another 1980s song, called "Monster Rap" (on YouTube, too), which was essentially a sequel to the original, but this time performed as a rap song. Another song, "It's Alive," was also a kind of sequel to "Monster Mash," created in 1993 (via Slate). 

As Slate says, Pickett had spent a good chunk of his life trying to follow up the hit success of "Monster Mash," with many of the results being rather mixed or falling swiftly into obscurity. Pickett also had a number of acting roles in various projects as well, like "Monster Mash: The Movie," and "Boogie with the Undead." His 2005 project "The Climate Mash" was another spoof aimed at raising awareness of global warming.

According to The New York Times, Pickett died on April 25, 2007, from leukemia. He was 69 years old, survived by his sister, his daughter, and two grandchildren. Some might have considered Pickett a one-hit wonder, but as Bob Dylan said, "his one hit comes back year after year." As for Pickett's feelings about the song? "When I hear it, I hear a cash register ringing" (via The Hollywood Reporter).