"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. The song's lyrics describe the Grinch as being foul, bad-mannered and sinister, using increasingly creative put-downs, metaphors and similes, beginning with the opening line "you're a mean one, Mr. Grinch".

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. Until Ravenscroft was publicly credited, Tennessee Ernie Ford was also speculated to be the voice behind the song.[2]

Mainstream and pop acts have covered the song, usually for holiday-themed albums.

In 1992, an emerging alternative band from New Jersey named Whirling Dervishes covered the song for their Wish it Would Snow EP. Their cover version took on a cult status in the region and went on to outlast the band's existence eventually becoming one of their only breakthrough hits. The song is still requested regionally during the holidays.[3]

American singer and drag queen RuPaul covered the song for his 1997 Christmas album Ho Ho Ho, which incorporated elements from funk.[4] Billboard's Melinda Newman negatively responded to RuPaul's version, writing that "he should have left [it] alone".[5]

Jim Carrey sang this song in the 2000 live action film adaptation, Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas, as the Grinch himself.

In 2011, Electric Six performed a cover of the song as part of The AV Club's "Undercover Holiday" series.[6] They went on to perform the song at live shows on their 2011 tour.[7] The band will record the song for inclusion on their upcoming Christmas album A Very Electric SiXmas.[8]

In 2013 another New Jersey band, Misfits covered the song for Christmas-themed seven-inch promotion.[9]

In 2017, Lindsey Stirling released her version with Sabrina Carpenter singing on her holiday album Warmer in the Winter.[10]

See also


  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. ^ McCracken, Elizabeth (December 25, 2005). "Our Cereal Hero". The New York Times. Retrieved December 27, 2009. 
  3. ^ Acampora, Rob (November 29, 2011). "Jersey Band Forever Tied to Character Who Turns 45 This Year". SOJO 104.9. Retrieved April 7, 2017. 
  4. ^ Smith, Shawnee (December 1998). "RuPaul 'Vh-1 Presents RuPaul: Ho Ho Ho'". Vibe. Eldridge Industries. Archived from the original on April 10, 2017. 
  5. ^ Newman, Melinda (December 6, 1997). "Fresh from Santa's Music Workshop: Some Sets For The Naughty, Most Nice". Billboard. Eldridge Industries. Archived from the original on April 10, 2017. 
  6. ^ https://music.avclub.com/electric-six-covers-youre-a-mean-one-mr-grinch-1798163271
  7. ^ https://www.setlist.fm/stats/electric-six-53d66fe9.html
  8. ^ https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/e6absolutetreasure/a-very-electric-sixmas-and-chill-out
  9. ^ Gentile, John (December 22, 2013). "Misfits cover Mr. Grinch". Punknews.org. Retrieved April 7, 2017. 
  10. ^ "ALBUM REVIEW: Lindsey Stirling - 'Warmer In The Winter'". Celeb Mix. October 19, 2017. Retrieved October 23, 2017. 

External links