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!.[1]


The lyrics were written by Theodor "Dr. Seuss" Geisel, the music was composed by Albert Hague, and the song was performed by Thurl Ravenscroft, best known as the voice of Tony the Tiger and numerous voices throughout Disney films and theme park attractions such as The Haunted Mansion. 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, Mr. Grinch". The song has seven verses.[2]

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.[3] 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.[citation needed]

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; in 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.[citation needed]

Cover versions[edit]

Due to the song's popularity, "You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch" has been covered by a number of other artists:

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Green, Joey (2012). Weird and Wonderful Christmas: Curious and Crazy Customs and Coincidences from Around the World. Black Dog & Leventhal Publishers, Inc. p. 145. ISBN 978-1-57912-924-8. 
  2. ^
  3. ^ McCracken, Elizabeth (2005-12-25). "Our Cereal Hero". The New York Times. Retrieved 2009-12-27. 
  4. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on December 20, 2014. Retrieved December 10, 2014. 
  5. ^ "Electric Six covers "You're A Mean One, Mr. Grinch"". Retrieved 2013-04-12. 
  6. ^ "AllMusic". Retrieved 19 October 2015. 
  7. ^ "DUCK THE HALLS: A ROBERTSON FAMILY CHRISTMAS RELEASES SOON!". UMG Nashville. Retrieved 23 December 2014. 
  8. ^
  9. ^ "Lyrics and Video for Venetia Fair Cover". Retrieved 24 December 2014. 
  10. ^ "AllMusic". Retrieved 19 October 2015. 
  11. ^ Pereira, Hugo H. (2014-06-29). "Conheça Brawl in the Family: Volume 1 e sua coleção de hilárias tirinhas" (in Portuguese). Nintendo Blast. 

External links[edit]