Dead Man's Party

Album: Dead Man's Party (1985)

Songfacts®:

  • This song is about attending funeral and being buried. The lyrics make a few clever references to it Even from the opening line of "All dressed up with nowhere to go/Walking with a dead man over my shoulder." Later Danny Elfman sings, "Got my best suit and my tie, Shiny silver dollar on either eye, I hear the chauffeur comin' to the door, Says there's room for maybe just one more..." Being dressed in his best suit refers to the tradition of dressing the dead in their finest clothes, the silver dollars were once used to weight the eyelids closed, and the dead would pay the ferryman to cross the River Styx from Greek mythology.

    The chauffeur saying there is room for one more refers to campfire horror story were a man is woken up in the night by a car honking and as he looks out the window. He sees six of his friends in the car dressed in suits, the driver then tells the man that there is room for one more. Later the man tells a friend the story before dying in car wreck and the friend believes the man had predicted his own death. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Goff - Spokane, WA
  • This song was featured in the Rodney Dangerfield movie Back To School, where Oingo Boingo play at a college party.
  • The song was one of Oingo Boingo's most loved by fans, and the dancing skeletons became one of the most recognized symbols of the band.
  • Danny Elfman of Oingo Boingo is the well-known composer for many Tim Burton movies, including The Nightmare Before Christmas (on which he is also the singing voice of Jack Skellington), Batman, the theme for the Simpsons, and many, many others. He is also the uncle to actress Jenna Elfman, star of Dharma And Greg. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Margaret - Buellton, CA, for above 3

Comments: 7

  • Seventhmist from 7th HeavenAlong with his work for OB and his superb movie scores, I also remember Elfman's song (using his name, not the group's) "Gratitude" that appeared on the Beverly Hills Cop soundtrack.
  • Aidan from Pretoria, SaI am fascinated by this band, don't know why, but I love its high energy and mixture of styles, keeps me listening to each song in detail, definitely takes you on a journey. Great to see others out there that also like it. Struggled so hard to get an original album in my country and no one seems to know it here. I wish they would do "Heard Somebody Cry".
  • Nancy from Washington, DcI don't know why, but I can never get bored of this song. I love it! The beat and Danny Elfman's voice is so cool...
  • Kandys from Lompoc, CaI so agree. I love most all Oingo Boingo songs and would like to know more about the stories behind them.
  • Blake from Placentia, Cafirst oingo boingo song i heard
  • Kristi from Hillsboro, MoAn episode of "Buffy the Vampire Slayer," episode #3.2 was named "Dead Man's Party."
  • Anonymous from Dixon , CaThis song is a great Halloween song, but I wish Songfacts.com included other Oingo Boingo songs,
    like "Stay", "Just Another Day", "Wake Up(It's 1984)", and "Weird Science". All are great songs.
see more comments

Editor's Picks

"Private Eyes" - The Story Behind the Song

"Private Eyes" - The Story Behind the SongSong Writing

How a goofy detective movie, a disenchanted director and an unlikely songwriter led to one of the biggest hits in pop history.

David Bowie Lyrics Quiz

David Bowie Lyrics QuizMusic Quiz

How well do you know your David Bowie lyrics? Take this quiz to find out.

Jon Foreman of Switchfoot

Jon Foreman of SwitchfootSongwriter Interviews

Switchfoot's frontman and main songwriter on what inspires the songs and how he got the freedom to say exactly what he means.

Intentionally Atrocious

Intentionally AtrociousSong Writing

A selection of songs made to be terrible - some clearly achieved that goal.

Who Did It First?

Who Did It First?Music Quiz

Do you know who recorded the original versions of these ten hit songs?

Martyn Ware of Heaven 17

Martyn Ware of Heaven 17Songwriter Interviews

Martyn talks about producing Tina Turner, some Heaven 17 hits, and his work with the British Electric Foundation.