Music History

6 Absolutely Godawful Follow-Ups To Hit Novelty Songs

With Hallowe’en fast approaching, “The Monster Mash” returns. Even if you don’t hear the song once this year, you’re bound to be subjected to social media posts about what is arguably one of the most ubiquitous novelty songs of all time.

First released by Bobby “Boris” Pickett in August of 1962, “The Monster Mash” went to #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for the week before Halloween of that year, October 20-27. Every year since then, it has been a staple for DJs of both the radio and dance variety. Its longevity is in part due to the lack of competition. There have been no legitimate Halloween-themed hit songs since then, so DJs have little choice. But that doesn’t mean that nobody tried. Did you know that there was an entire Monster Mash album?

Climate Mash

Even weirder, in 2005 Pickett decided it was time for a follow-up. But instead of just another goofy monster story, “Climate Mash” went with metaphor, comparing the current administration to vampires and zombies, feasting on Big Oil. His heart was in the right place, but the end result was just a mess.

Follow-Up Novelty Songs

And unfortunately, that’s bound to be the result of nearly any attempt to follow-up on a hit novelty song. How many novelty singers can you name off the top of your head that have had more than one hit? Generally speaking, “Weird Al” Yankovic is likely the only one you can name. One of the many reasons that he’s had continued success for more than 3 decades is that he  very rarely does songs that are directly related to other songs he’s already done. And when he does, it’s for a very specific creative reason, it’s never a matter of “that was a hit, let’s build on that!”

I’m not saying that one-hit wonders should stay that way. I am saying that if your one and only hit is a novelty song, trying to follow it up is ill-advised at best, and a gross cash-grab at worst.

Cracked Named Them All

A recent Cracked article goes into a half-dozen of these attempts, including “Climate Mash”. Among the strange tales, we learn that Sir Mix-a-Lot tried to follow up his tribute to big butts by praising guys with less-than-impressive genitalia. And if you’re old enough to remember “Disco Duck”, do you also remember “Dis-Gorilla“? Or if you’re old enough to remember “Snoopy and the Red Baron”, do you remember “Snoopy vs Osama“? I’m not making up either of those.

The strangest story for me is the #1 entry, the only song on the list that didn’t actually happen. The Simpsons attempted to follow up on the success of “Do The Bartman” with a Beach Boys collaboration. Thankfully, it didn’t happen, but the writing which occurred during the attempt became a Beach Boys song that, quite frankly, was just as awful as the original idea.

The article doesn’t go into Chubby Checker and his various “Twist” sequels. I imagine this is partly because, while they may have been cash grabs, they weren’t all that terrible (at least not until he signed on with The Fat Boys).

Read the full list at Cracked.com: 6 Absolutely Godawful Follow-Ups To Hit Novelty Songs

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