Having your novelty song go big is bittersweet. On the one hand, you’ve secured your legacy. On the other hand, your legacy kind of sucks, and you probably won’t even be able to cash in on it for very long. So it’s no wonder that most bands follow up a novelty breakthrough with some weird, embarrassing, desperate stuff. Such as how …
Remember “Snoopy vs. The Red Baron”? Next Came “Snoopy vs. Osama”
The Royal Guardsmen never intended “Snoopy vs. The Red Baron” to be their signature song, but when a music executive showed up at one of their gigs asking them to lay down an inexplicable ditty about Charlie Brown’s dog battling WWI German flying ace Manfred von Richtofen, the band figured “Screw it, it’s a record deal.” After the song became a surprise hit, they found themselves reluctantly running a cottage industry of pop tunes about Snoopy. The devil always comes to collect.
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The Royal Guardsmen’s Snoopy catalog includes a Christmas ballad, a song which sends Snoopy to the moon, and a concept album about Snoopy’s presidential campaign that had to be hastily edited after Bobby Kennedy was assassinated. That’s not a joke. But the band hit peak weirdness 40 years after their initial success with the release of “Snoopy vs. Osama.”
If the title alone doesn’t tell you everything you need to know, we will elaborate. Snoopy and Charlie Brown enlist in the military and hunt down Osama bin Laden by any means necessary. We know what you’re wondering: Is there a verse wherein Charlie Brown is gravely wounded by a roadside bomb, leaving Snoopy to gun down the architect of 9/11 on a solo mission? Yes, of course there is. Please don’t ask stupid questions, hypothetical reader.
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Even though bin Laden is reviled as one of our century’s greatest monsters, it’s hard not to be creeped out by lines like Snoopy smiled and aimed and he fired his gun / “Take this, bin Laden, now you won’t have to run.”
You’re fucking next, Shermy.
The “Monster Mash” Guy Loved Monsters, Hated Climate Change
For most people, “Monster Mash” is nothing but a silly little song about a bunch of old-timey movie monsters who set aside their differences for one night in order to get fully lit. You know, like human Halloween. For the guy who wrote it, though, “Monster Mash” was a way of life. Unlike some artists, who resent being pigeonholed, Bobby “Boris” Pickett cheerfully stuck with his schtick for much of his career. He produced new “Mash” rehashes sporadically for four decades, including a full-length Monster Mash album which followed the adventures of Dracula, Igor, the Wolfman, and all of their ghoulish cronies.