"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!. 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 synonyms, beginning with the opening line "you're a mean one, Mister Grinch". The song has six verses.
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. After becoming aware of the oversight, Seuss himself called Ravenscroft and apologized profusely, and later wrote letters to columnists nationwide telling them that it was Ravenscroft who provided the song.
Ravenscroft recorded two versions of the selection, one version for the television special and the other version for the soundtrack. The two versions differ in the order of the verses; the instrumentation—the soundtrack version's accompaniment is more straightforward, and features fewer instruments and "sound effect" musical events, than the version heard during the special; the nature of singing (Ravenscroft uses more sprechgesang in the version heard on TV than the soundtrack version, which is mostly sung straight and in rhythm) and the transitions between verses—the soundtrack's transitions are shorter and less abrupt.
"You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch" has been covered by a number of other artists:
Blue Meanies, titled "Hey Mr. Grinch," on the A Very Punk Christmas compilation.
Suzy Bogguss covered the song on her 2nd Christmas CD, I'm Dreaming of a White Christmas, released November 28, 2010