I LOVE Christmas music, and I love Universal Monsters. So when I first laid ears on Lon Chaney Jr.’s Monster Holiday it was like finding a really cool present under the tree.
Chaney was 58 years-old when he made this recording, and you can tell that he’s having fun telling the story of one dark Christmas Eve when some famous monsters decided to steal Santa’s sleigh. But don’t worry. It’s a Christmas story, so there’s a happy ending.
The song was originally released in 1962, recorded by Bobby “Boris” Pickett as a quick follow-up to his hit Monster Mash, which probably explains why it sounds so much like “Monster Mash.” Two years later, though, someone had the bright idea to re-release the song with Chaney on vocals, and the rest is pop culture history.
But that’s really just the beginning of this record’s noteworthy pedigree. It was composed and produced by rock & roll pioneer Charles Underwood (“Ubangi Stomp”); music is provided by the legendary session players known as the Wrecking Crew; and background vocals come courtesy of The Blossoms, who contributed to many of the biggest hits of the ’60s. On top of all that, Chaney recorded this song in Hollywood’s iconic Capital Records building.
Listen for yourself and I’m sure you’ll agree that “Monster Holiday” belongs on every Chaney fan’s Christmas playlist. Enjoy!