A colorized image of Bela Lugosi as “Dracula” by artist Micah Carey.
Well, it’s that time of year again when most of us turn our attention to all things Halloween, including yours truly. So, to get you in the spirit of the season, let’s learn a little bit about an Italian cat by the name of Bruno Martino. The jazz composer, piano player, and crooner who gave us the musical gift that is the “Dracula Cha-Cha” (also known as the “Dracula Cha-Cha-Cha”).
For most of his career, Martino played the nightclub circuit in Europe and wrote music for other performers. His 1960 song “Estate” would bring him his greatest success and was covered by the likes of jazz trumpeter Chet Baker and Shirley Horn. Though for my money Martino’s jam about the Prince of Darkness and everybody’s favorite blood-sucker Dracula, the “Dracula Cha-Cha” is Mr. Martino’s crowning achievement. Martino wrote the bouncy number along with Bruno Brighetti, and it is quite the earworm. The song is said to have inspired the bonkers 1998 novel by author Kim Newman, Dracula Cha-Cha-Cha (the third book of Newman’s “Anno Dracula” series) which reveals a wild reality where Dracula was never killed by Dr. Van Helsing. The groovy tune has also been covered by a long list of other musicians including experimental Australian band The Tango Saloon with the fucking glorious vocals of Mike Patton on their 2008 album appropriately titled Transylvania.
I’ve included images of various album covers for Martino’s “Dracula Cha-Cha” as well as his original 1960 version of the song. I’ve also posted The Tango Saloon/Mike Patton version below because it rules and let’s face it, Patton is God. Dig it, ghouls.
Bruno Martino’s original versio of the “Dracula Cha-Cha” 1960.
The Tango Saloon’s cover of “Dracula Cha-Cha” with Mike Patton on vocals.
Previously on Dangerous Minds:
‘Dracula 1972 A.D.’: Behind-the-scenes with Christopher Lee in ‘Prince of Terror’
‘Son of Dracula’: Harry Nilsson and Ringo Starr’s cult comedy horror rock opera
The blood dripped from Dracula’s fangs: The golden age of Hammer Horror movie posters
Gothtastic pics of the alluring Carroll Borland as Dracula’s daughter in ‘Mark of the Vampire’