31 Days of spooky, day 19: Goo Goo Muck by The Cramps

Every day until Halloween, we'll post a spooky song to celebrate the annual thinning of the veil between this world and the next
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A few days ago, or week, or something... (time has lost all meaning in the spooky realm) I wrote about teen tragedies, splatter platters, and death disks, basically pop songs from the late fifties and early sixties about teenagers dying in horrible ways. It seems that this era had a greater taste for the macabre than we give it credit for. Goo Goo Muck by The Cramps was actually a cover of a track from 1962 by Ronnie Cook and The Gaylads.

Stop sniggering.

A goo goo muck is some kind of ghoul or beastie that roams the streets by night in search of victims, and the song was a Halloween staple in the sixties, alongside the Monster Mash.

What's surprising about finding out that Goo Goo Muck is a cover is that it's basically a manifesto for The Cramps' image. The Cramps signature sound was an irreverent parody of mid-century schlock horror, and "Goo Goo Muck" sounds like the quintessential example of that image. But the 1962 original was itself irreverent fun.

The Cramps' version of "Goo Goo Muck" is a parody of a parody

The Cramps may have not brought anything new to "Goo Goo Muck," but by making it their own, they basically invented a new genre, by mixing outré new wave punk with old weird rockabilly stylings of Screamin' Hay Hawkins and Vince Taylor, they created Psychobilly music.

But I really think we overestimate how much the psychobillies brought to the table. The original stuff they were referencing wasn't as innocent as they assumed. The big lyrical difference between The Cramps' "Goo Goo Muck" and the original is changing "I'm the night headhunter looking for a head" to "I'm the night headhunter looking for some head." But I'm not convinced that they weren't just making an already present double entendre slightly more explicit.

Still, The Cramps version is exhilarating.

Speaking of the mid-centuy's taste for macabre irreverence, Goo Goo Muck will now forever be associated with The Addams Family, after it was popularised by Netflix's Addams Family reboot Wednesday, with a jaw-dropping dance scene. Streams for Goo Goo Muck jumped from 2,500 a day before Wednesday premiered to 134,000 a week later.

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