Monday, June 7

Horror Rock Pioneers - Sheb Wooley

Sheb Wooley a.k.a. Ben Colder is an unlikely candidate for the horror rock list, and in fact I hesitated to add him here. He was mainly a country music performer and actor, and is best known for a novelty song. But that novelty song, recorded in 1958, is one that put him on the map nationally and brought the horror novelty craze into full swing. I'm talking about the infamous "Purple People Eater."

There are two novelty songs that are above and neyond all others in scope of popularity - this one and the Monster Mash. Ask anyone to name a couple of horror halloween songs, and this one will be on their list. Sheb continued making some other novelty songs, but none had the same impact as this one - it reached number one on the US charts.

Some of his other songs include Purple People Eater #2, Santa Claus Meets the Purple People Eater, and Luke the Spook. His other hits include the theme songs for both Raw Hide and Hee Haw. He also appeared on The Muppet Show as a drunk singer named Ben Colder, a pseudonym he used in recording from time to time.

Sheb also lived right here in Hendersonville, TN, where I live. The last couple of years of his life I tried to interview him, but he was not in good health. He passed away Sept 16, 2003.

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