You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch
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"You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch" is a Christmas song that was originally written and composed for the 1966 cartoon special How the Grinch Stole Christmas!. The lyrics were written by Theodor "Dr. Seuss" Geisel, the music was composed by Albert Hague, and the song was performed by Thurl Ravenscroft. The song's lyrics describe the Grinch as being foul, bad-mannered and sinister using increasingly creative put-downs, metaphors and synonyms, beginning with the opening line "you're a mean one, Mister Grinch". The song has six verses.
Because Ravenscroft was not credited in the closing credits of the special, it is often mistakenly attributed to Boris Karloff, who served as narrator and the voice of the Grinch in the special but who himself could not sing. After becoming aware of the oversight, Seuss himself called Ravenscroft and apologized profusely, and later wrote letters to columnists nationwide telling them that it was Ravenscroft who provided the song.
Ravenscroft recorded two versions of the selection, one version for the television special and the other version for the soundtrack. The two versions differ in the order of the verses; the instrumentation—the soundtrack version's accompaniment is more straightforward, and features fewer instruments and "sound effect" musical events, than the version heard during the special; the nature of singing (Ravenscroft uses more sprechgesang in the version heard on TV than the soundtrack version, which is mostly sung straight and in rhythm) and the transitions between verses—the soundtrack's transitions are shorter and less abrupt.
The song, You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch has been covered by a number of other artists:
- Blue Meanies, titled "Hey Mr. Grinch," on the A Very Punk Christmas compilation.
- Suzy Bogguss covered the song on her 2nd Christmas CD, I'm Dreaming of a White Christmas, released November 28, 2010
- Tracy Bonham
- Bus Stop, titled "Grinch," on the album Miracle Time!
- Jim Carrey, for the 2000 live-action version of the film, in which he portrayed The Grinch who sings the song himself while preparing for his burglary.
- Cee Lo Green, on his Christmas album, Cee Lo's Magic Moment, along with Straight No Chaser.
- Slaid Cleaves, on the Holiday Samper EP
- The Coats, on the album On Christmas Time
- Crash Test Dummies
- Electric Six, for The A.V. Club's Holiday Undercover series in November 2011.
- Flipmode Squad featuring Jim Carrey, a rap version where Carrey, rapping as the Grinch, collaborates with Flipmode founder
- Fareed Haque
- The Heebee-jeebees, a capella, on the album Christmas Crackers!, with additional music and dialogue describing a duel between The Grinch and Santa Claus.
- Gary Hoey, guitar instrumental, on the album Where Are You Now?
- Doug Lacy covered the song and parodied it for the 2010 Christmas special for The Angry Video Game Nerd, titled "You're a Mean One, Mr. Nerd"
- Doug Walker covered the song and parodied it for his 2011 Nostalgia Critic review of How the Grinch Stole Christmas, titled "You're a Mean One, Mr. Grump"
- Bob Malone
- Aimee Mann, on the album One More Drifter in the Snow
- Ian Casselman, Marianas Trench (band)
- Mannheim Steamroller, on their album Christmasville, sung by Jeffrey Morrow
- Matthew Morrison and k.d. lang, on Glee The Music: The Christmas Album
- NewSong, on their album The Christmas Shoes
- Mojo Nixon & Toadliquors, titled "Mr. Grinch," on the Horny Holidays album
- Queens Club covered the song for the Happy Christmas 5 compilation
- Red Wanting Blue, an indie rock & roll band from Columbus, Ohio
- Busta Rhymes. The only part of the original song heard is the first verse during the chorus
- Rockapella, a cappella
- RuPaul, on the album Ho, Ho, Ho
- Brian Setzer Orchestra, from the Dig That Crazy Christmas album.
- Sixpence None the Richer
- Straight No Chaser covered the song on their album, Christmas Cheers, released November 3, 2009
- Take 6, on their album The Most Wonderful Time of the Year
- Ron "Bumblefoot" Thal, live in 2006 on a Guns N' Roses concert in Los Angeles.
- That Handsome Devil covered the song, titled as "Mr. Grinch" as a 2008 Christmas single
- The Whirling Dervishes
- Dweezil Zappa on his album Automatic
- Tay Zonday
- Asylum Street Spankers on the album A Christmas Spanking
- The Venetia Fair, on their EP The Pits
- Hip Heavy Lip the 99x Deck the Hall Ball 1998 Compilation
- McCracken, Elizabeth (December 25, 2005). "Our Cereal Hero". The New York Times. Retrieved December 27, 2009.
- "Electric Six covers "You're A Mean One, Mr. Grinch"". Retrieved 12 April 2013.
- Lyrics to "You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch" (TV version)
- Lyrics to "You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch" (Soundtrack version)