The Real Story Behind The '80s Song 'Goo Goo Muck' By The Cramps

Another '80s-era alternative rock deep cut — "Goo Goo Muck" by The Cramps — has resurfaced thanks to its inclusion in the Netflix hit series "Wednesday," according to Esquire. The show stars Jenna Ortega as the Addams family's eldest daughter, Wednesday Addams, in a teenage detective storyline set at her school, Nevermore Academy (via Netflix). The song's inclusion in the show has caused a resurgence of interest in "Goo Goo Muck," as Wednesday Addams improvises her best spooky dance moves to the surf-rock influenced tune, similar to how Season 4 of "Stranger Things" sent viewers online to relisten to the 1985 Kate Bush song "Running Up That Hill" in summer 2022 (per Deadline). 

Prior to "Wednesday," "Goo Goo Muck" was most commonly thought of as a song by The Cramps (Cramps singer Lux Interior and guitarist Poison Ivy are pictured), and it's that version that Wednesday dances to in the Netflix series. But The Cramps version, released in the early 1980s, was never a particular hit for the band, and what's more, it's a cover. The first version of "Goo Goo Muck" was released in the early 1960s, and it was a minor novelty hit for the band that wrote it, Ronnie Cook & The Gaylads, according to Louder. At no point in its long history, though, has the song "Goo Goo Muck" reached "Wednesday"-inspired levels of popularity. 

The original version of Goo Goo Muck came out in 1962

As Louder goes on to note, the original version of "Goo Goo Muck" by the Bakersfield, California-based rockabilly band Ronnie Cook & the Gaylads was released in 1962, and that version of the song (posted on YouTube) shares the same swingin' '60s garage and surf-rock sound as The Cramps cover. The lyrics — telling the story of young teenagers out on the town at night and ready for trouble as a thinly-veiled metaphor for sexual awakening — are largely unchanged in The Cramps version.

All combined, there was a trend for similar lighthearted, monster-themed music in that era, such as the Halloween classic "Monster Mash" by Bobby "Boris" Pickett and the Crypt-Kickers, which also came out in 1962, according to Smooth Radio. (Notably, in the same vein, "The Addams Family" TV show, based on The New Yorker comics by Charles Addams and starring Lisa Loring as Wednesday Addams, came out two years later, per IMDb.)

The Cramps released their version of Goo Goo Muck in 1981

With a few minor tweaks in the song lyrics to amp up the sexual themes, as well as some added punk rock sensibility, The Cramps version of the song "Goo Goo Muck" came out in 1981 and was included on the band's debut album, "Psychedelic Jungle" (via AllMusic). Beloved among fans of punk and gothic-inspired rock music, The Cramps innovated a style of music known today as psychobilly. But while they were an underground hit and highly influential for other musicians, they never reached what's sometimes called "Top 40" success, and neither did their version of "Goo Goo Muck — that is, until the Netflix show "Wednesday," according to Billboard.

As of this report, the song's viral revival has yet to reach "Running up that Hill" levels of popularity, but there's no doubt been a bump in online streams and revenue. As Billboard writes, prior to the show's release, the song had around 2,500 daily streams, but after "Wednesday" came out, that number jumped to more than 200,000. Speaking with Billboard, musician Jim Shaw, who owns the publishing rights to the song thanks to an unusual sequence of events, called the recent boost in listens inspired by "Wednesday" an "amazing, fun little bonanza. ... That's what every songwriter, and publisher, hopes will happen. Anything they put on YouTube, they hope something goes viral."