Dedicated to all the great lost and little-heard Halloween songs that get swept under the "Monster Mash" tide every October. Crawl out of that radio man's dungeon and listen!
Monday, October 3, 2011
Today's selection is a sentimental favorite from my childhood. I remember at least once begging my dad to call and request this song for me on our local radio station because I was afraid to talk to the DJ (but somehow not at all afraid of the song's scary content). Originally recorded by Johnny Fuller, the version of "Haunted House" that I grew up loving was by Jumpin' Gene Simmons. (No relation to Gene Simmons from Kiss, who might very well show up on this site later in the month, although the Kiss member did choose his stage name as a tribute to Jumpin' Gene.)
Jumpin' Gene was from Tupelo, Mississippi, hometown of Elvis, and, like Elvis, began his recording career with Sun Records. He also opened for Elvis, but never came close to The King's level of fame. In fact, "Haunted House" was his only hit until Tim McGraw had his first Top 40 hit with Simmons' song "Indian Outlaw" in 1994.
"Haunted House" is a quick-moving, finger-popping story of defiantly staying in one's house even though it is thoroughly haunted and possibly occupied by aliens. Kind of a double-novelty there, since most of the humans in spooky songs can't wait to get away from whatever spookiness is going on. But Jumpin' Gene isn't having any of it, telling the thing with one big eye and two big feet, "Ain't no haint gonna run me off!"
Since today is the first time I've ever heard the original by Johnny Fuller, I'm including it as well. It has a plunkier sound than Jumpin' Gene's, and some nice screaming/crazy laughing at the beginning and end, but both have a similar wild energy about them that is perfect for the song. Let me know if you have a favorite!