Frankenstein (instrumental)

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Frankenstein Edgar Winter.jpg
Single by The Edgar Winter Group
from the album They Only Come Out at Night
B-side "Undercover Man"
Released February 21, 1973
Recorded 1972
Genre Instrumental rock, hard rock, progressive rock, funk rock
Length 4:44 (Album Version)
3:28 (Single Version)
Label Epic Records
Writer(s) Edgar Winter
Producer(s) Rick Derringer
The Edgar Winter Group singles chronology
"I Can't Turn You Loose"
"Free Ride"

"Frankenstein" is an instrumental by The Edgar Winter Group from their album They Only Come Out at Night.

The song topped the US Billboard Hot 100 chart for one week in May 1973, being replaced by Paul McCartney's "My Love". It sold over one million copies. In Canada it fared equally well, reaching #1 on the RPM 100 Top Singles Chart the following month,[1] the same month that saw it peak at #18 in the UK.[2]


The song's title, coined by the band's drummer Chuck Ruff, derives from the fact that the original recording of the song was much longer than the final version, as the band would often deviate from the arrangement into less structured jams. The track required numerous edits to shorten it. The end result was pieced together from many sections of recording tape using a razor blade and splicing tape. Winter frequently refers to the appropriateness of the name also in relation to its "monster-like, lumbering beat". (One riff was first used by Winter in the song "Hung Up", on his jazz-oriented first album Entrance. He later tried a variation on it, "Martians" on the Standing on Rock album.)

Winter played many of the instruments on the track, including keyboards, saxophone and timbales.[3] As the release's only instrumental cut, the song was not initially intended to be on the album, and was only included on a whim as a last-minute addition. It was originally released as the B-side to "Hangin' Around", but the two were soon reversed by the label when disc jockeys nationwide in the United States, as well as in Canada, were inundated with phone calls and realized this was the hit. The song features a "double" drum solo, with Ruff on drums and Winter on percussion. In fact, the working title of the song was "The Double Drum Song".[4] The single was one of the few No. 1 chart records to include an extended passage featuring the ARP 2600 synthesizer. The group performed the song on The Old Grey Whistle Test in 1973.[5]

The song was actually performed three years previously when Edgar was playing with his older brother Johnny Winter at the Royal Albert Hall in 1970. This rare recording was recently released as one of several live bonus tracks included in the two-disc Deluxe Edition CD of Johnny Winter's Second Winter. Rolling Stone lists it as one of the top 25 best rock instrumentals.[6]

Sections of the track were edited and sequenced into idents and jingles for Alan Freeman's Top 40 and Saturday Rock shows on BBC Radio 1 and Radio 2 (UK) for many years, often followed with Freeman's trademark opening line 'Greetings Pop Pickers...'

In live performances of the song, Edgar Winter further pioneered the advancement of the synthesizer as a lead instrument by becoming the first person ever to strap a keyboard instrument around his neck, giving him the on-stage mobility and audience interaction of guitar players.[7]



"Frankenstein" has been covered by the rock group Phish 87 times as of February 2016, with the first time in 1989; keyboardist Page McConnell often utilizes a keytar for the synthesizer solo. The bass player Marcus Miller. In 1991 it was covered by the thrash metal band Overkill on their album Horrorscope. The Southern California band Bazooka covered "Frankenstein" on their 1993 debut album Perfectly Square. In 1996, British psychedelic glam group Doctor and the Medics wrote lyrics to go along with "Frankenstein" and included it on their album Instant Heaven. Derek Sherinian's 2001 solo album Inertia includes his cover of the song. It was covered in 2003 by surfer-rock guitarist Gary Hoey. Tomoyasu Hotei covered it on his 2009 covers album Modern Times Rock'N'Roll. Claude François, the French singer and writer of "My Way", used the song, played with a brass section, as an introductory theme to his live concerts. Primus covered the song at midnight during their 2012/2013 New Year's Eve show. A few bars of an edited version of the song feature at the very beginning of the 1993 film, Wayne's World 2, as the Paramount Pictures 'Stars' logo appears. Those Darn Accordions recorded an accordion-based version of the song for their 2004 album Lawnball. There is a cover version of the song on Guitar Hero, one of the tougher songs on the game. Warren Hill features a version for saxophone on his 2015 release Under the Influence.[citation needed]


  1. ^ "Item Display - RPM - Library and Archives Canada". Retrieved 2016-10-08. 
  2. ^ Dafydd Rees & Luke Crampton, Rock Movers & Shakers, 1991 Billboard Books, ISBN 978-0874366617
  3. ^ synthhead (2010-05-08). "The Story Of Edgar Winter's Frankenstein – Synthtopia". Retrieved 2016-10-08. 
  4. ^ Morse, Tim. Classic Rock Stories: The Stories Behind the Greatest Songs of All Time, 1998.
  5. ^ The Old Grey Whistle Test (DVD). Warner Home Video. 2003. 
  6. ^ "The Twenty-Five Best Rock Instrumentals | Rolling Stone". 2013-08-03. Archived from the original on 2013-08-03. Retrieved 2016-10-08. 
  7. ^ Keyboard Magazine, November 01, 2008, p. 19
  8. ^!/article/the_real_story_behind_the_edgar_winter_groups_frankenstein_by_joebosso
Preceded by
"You Are the Sunshine of My Life" by Stevie Wonder
US Billboard Hot 100 number-one single
May 26, 1973 (one week)
Succeeded by
"My Love" by Paul McCartney and Wings
Preceded by
"Daniel" by Elton John
Canadian RPM 100 number-one single
June 16, 1973 (one week)
Succeeded by
"Playground In My Mind" by Clint Holmes

External links[edit]