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 unpleasant, foul-smelling, bad-mannered, despicable and diabolical, using increasingly creative put-downs, metaphors, similes and off-hand comments by the singer, 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.
Mainstream and pop acts have covered the song, usually for holiday-themed albums. Jim Carrey, as the Grinch, with Louis Prima-esque vocals, sang a slightly condensed version of the song in the 2000 live action film adaptation, Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas, with 1940s style big band music by James Horner, with an additional off-hand expression not included in the original: "You know if you ask the Who's Who of Whoville, No one's denied it!". A version by Bob Malone was used in the teaser for the 2018 CGI-animated adaptation of The Grinch. A drastically altered version of the song was covered for the movie and its soundtrack by Tyler, the Creator.
Thurl Ravenscroft version
|US Billboard Hot 100||49|
- 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.
- McCracken, Elizabeth (December 25, 2005). "Our Cereal Hero". The New York Times. Archived from the original on November 15, 2012. Retrieved December 27, 2009.
- @billboardcharts (December 30, 2019). "Thurl Ravenscroft earns his first career #Hot100 entry this week, posthumously, with "You're A Mean One, Mr. Grinch" (debuts at No. 49)" (Tweet). Retrieved December 31, 2019 – via Twitter.