What would be really surprising, in retrospect, is if there had been no Freddy Krueger novelty records at all. But most of us will do much worse things for money. Aside from the Fat Boys’ “rappin’ Freddy” single, “Are You Ready for Freddy,” the big item in the child killer’s slender discography is the 1987 LP Freddy’s Greatest Hits, credited to the Elm Street Group.
The title is misleading, and not just because there weren’t any hits. Freddy’s only contribution to many songs is a joyless cackle that sounds like the devil’s laughter in Chick tracts (“HAW! HAW! HAW!”). The actual lead vocals, usually performed by one Stephanie Davy, emerge from a band that sounds like it has run out of drugs midway through scoring a contemporary Chevy Chase vehicle. Does Freddy get the chance to stretch out, to demonstrate his range, his imagination, or his gifts as an interpreter of songs? Did Freddy and the Elm Street Group keep after, say, “Moon River” all night long, through take after nicotine-stained take, until the song finally opened up like a thousand-petaled lotus long after everyone had grown too tired to think, and a hush fell over the studio as the sun stole over the horizon and the last notes died away because everyone knew they had just played “the one,” the take for all time, and they could still feel it hanging in the air? No. On his recording debut, Freddy mostly says “HAW! HAW! HAW!”
What can this flawed collection tell us about the artist? Freddy is a Boomer, apparently. Four of the nine tracks are covers of Fifties and Sixties rock hits: Freddie and the Dreamers’ “Do the Freddie,” Sam the Sham & the Pharaohs’ “Wooly Bully,” Wilson Pickett’s “In the Midnight Hour” and the Everly Brothers’ “All I Have to Do Is Dream.” While the latter two selections are obvious enough jokes, the inclusion of “Do the Freddie” and “Wooly Bully” reveals a surprising dimension of Freddy’s character. He wants you to dance!
Nowhere is this more evident than on the original tune “Dance Or Else,” where Freddy invites you to cut a rug. Sure, Stephanie Davy intones that it’s easier to get into Club Freddy than it is to get out, and the man himself keeps asking you to check out his “manicure,” but Freddy undercuts these warnings by having such a get-down, foot-stomping good time. It’s like he’s trying to do the “Dance, rummy” routine from a Western and it comes out “Happy Halloween, friend! HAW! HAW! HAW!”
Below, celebrate the 30th anniversary of A Nightmare on Elm Street 3 (the Patricia Arquette one) and Freddy’s Greatest Hits with “Dance Or Else.”
And here’s Freddy rhyming with the Fat Boys in the “Are You Ready for Freddy” music video: