Meet this week’s “Special Person of the Week:Robert George “Bobby” Pickett
We thought it would be fitting especially on this time of year as we get closer to Halloween to honor a great Somerville legend who was a big part of the city and never forgot where he came from.
Even after his big hit song “Monster Mash” he would always return to Somerville where it all began for him.
Artist Biography by AllMusic
Robert George Pickett, 11 February 1938, Somerville, Massachusetts, USA, d. 25 April 2007, Los Angeles, California, USA. Bobby ‘Boris’ Pickett (And The Crypt-Kickers) recorded the US number 1 ‘Monster Mash’ in 1962, a song which has remained alive for decades due to perennial radio airplay each Halloween. Pickett moved to Los Angeles in 1961, upon his release from military service, hoping to become an actor. Instead, he joined a singing group called the Cordials. Pickett, an avowed fan of actor Boris Karloff, worked an impression of the horror film star into some of the group’s songs and he and the Cordials’ Leonard Capizzi wrote ‘Monster Mash’ to cash in on the dance craze launched by Dee Dee Sharp’s ‘Mashed Potato Time’ hit of 1962. Pickett was signed to Gary S. Paxton’s Garpax label and ‘Monster Mash’ (featuring a young Leon Russell on piano) worked its way to the top of the charts in time for Halloween 1962. The record later returned to the US charts twice, this time on Parrot Records, reaching number 91 in 1970 and then hitting the Top 10 for a second time three years later. It was not until 1973 that the song made any significant impact upon the UK chart, when it reached number 3 in September. It was also successfully covered by the UK act the Bonzo Bog Doo-Dah Band. In 2004, Pickett rewrote the lyrics to the song to protest President George W. Bush’s environmental policies.
Pickett had two other minor US chart singles in 1962-63, including the Top 30 ‘Monster’s Holiday’, but he is indelibly linked with the classic novelty number.
He also enjoyed a career in Hollywood with walk-on parts in numerous B-movies.
Pickett always loved Somerville and on many occasions back in the day he would always come back to Somerville and could sometimes be found at the Winter Hill Yacht Club in Somerville visiting old friends.
Pickett died of leukemia in 2007.
We here at the Somerville News Weekly salute and thank you for the many fond memories that you left behind for everything that you have done to make Somerville a better place.
Click on link below to hear ‘Monster Mash’