Halloween Music History #3 (2015)

Halloween Song #3:
“Haunted House”
Jumpin’ Gene Simons, 1964

He’s rubbed elbows with two performers who had #1 singles of a calendar year. One was Elvis Presley, 
whose “Heartbreak Hotel” was 1956’s biggest hit…and in 1957, did it again with “All Shook Up.” It makes 
sense that the two met because Elvis and this singer, Jumpin’ Gene Simmons, were both born in Tupelo, 
The other was Sam Samudio, better known as Sam the Sham. Sam headed the group Sam The Sham and 
The Pharoahs, who had the #1 song of 1965, “Wooly Bully.”
As the story goes, Sam was in no mood to record this one song, so in stepped Gene…and his rendition of 
“Haunted House” today ranks as the #3 Halloween song of all time.
 Sam eventually recorded the song as I’ve found his version on a Halloween hits CD.
Simmons’ version of “Haunted House” reached #11 in 1964. Simmons, who should not be confused with 
Gene Simmons of the rock group Kiss, had one other chart single. “The Dodo” reached #83 in late 1964. His 
other releases included “Drinkin’ Wine,” “The Batman” and “Keep The Meat In The Pan.”
Simmons recalled meeting Elvis Presley before the Pelvis emerged into the starlight. “I guess it was 1954,” 
said Simmons. “I was visiting a cousin of Elvis Presley’s. I didn’t know who Elvis was at the time but somebody 
said he played the guitar, so I handed him one and he just smiled. He said, ‘I only play one for myself.’ 
Personally, I thought the guy looked weird. Greased-back hair, tight pants, all that. Yeah, this guy was hipper 
than we country boys.”
Sadly, Gene Simmons died of cancer on August 29, 2006. He was 69.


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