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The Writer of the ‘Golden Girls’ Theme Is Blowing Up on TikTok For Being Spooky

Every generation has a Halloween meme that exists somewhere in the Venn diagram of weird, scary, and vaguely horny. For boomers, it’s the Monster Mash; for Gen X, it’s the scene in Ghostbusters where Dan Aykroyd gets a blowie from a ghost; for Gen Y, it’s the KXVO Pumpkin Dance Guy with David S. Pumpkins in close second. Now, Gen Z has their own version of Vaguely Horny Halloween Creepiness thanks to the remix of “Spooky Spooky Skeletons,” a 1996 novelty hit by Andrew Gold that’s now being subject to the TikTok trend treatment.


For the past few weeks, the #teens have been posting TikToks of themselves doing a highly choreographed dance to an insanely catchy dubstep remix of a song called “Spooky Scary Skeletons.” The dance itself is a bit comparable to the Chicken Noodle Dance, albeit jauntier, sexier, and more spasmodic. Some, such as Ellen Show staffers who recently posted a version on the show’s TikTok, are attempting the dance in full-blown skeleton costume; others take a more minimalist approach. An 11-second segment of the song has been featured in about 2.2 million videos, and the #spookydance hashtag has about 243.1 million views.

While “Spooky Scary Skeletons” has only been blowing up TikTok relatively recently, few know the backstory behind the meme, let alone the artist behind the song itself, who spent his career playing a backseat yet key role in shaping many watershed pop music moments. Below, a brief history of the meme itself, as well as an official introduction to the man responsible for sending many a shiver down TikTokers’ spines.

Who sings “Spooky Scary Skeletons”? “Spooky Scary Skeletons” is a 1996 children’s novelty hit by pop musician Andrew Gold. The son of Hollywood composer Ernest Gold and legendary Hollywood ghostsinger Marni Nixon, Andrew Gold started his career in Linda Ronstadt’s band (that’s his guitar work, by the way, on her landmark 1974 album Heart Like a Wheel) before launching his own solo career.

Gold had some minor pop radio hits in the 1970s, most notably “Lonely Boy,” which was later covered by the Foo Fighters and used to heartbreaking effect in the movie Boogie Nights (and, to significantly less heartbreaking effect, in Adam Sandler’s The Waterboy). His most significant contribution to pop culture history, however, is probably writing and performing the original version of “Thank You for Being a Friend” — which is now best known as the theme song for The Golden Girls. 

When it was first released in 1978, “Thank You for Being a Friend” was conceived by Gold as a mellow yet sunny soft rock ditty; in one interview, he said he considered it something of a “throwaway,” and that it took him about an hour to write. Nonetheless, it officially entered the pantheons of pop culture history when it was selected as the theme song for the 1980s sitcom The Golden Girls, where it can be heard on TV Land reruns to this day. (That version was performed not by Gold, but by jingle singer Cynthia Fee.)

Unbelievably, “Thank You for Being a Friend” is not Gold’s only contribution to the NBC sitcom theme song canon. He also wrote “Final Frontier,” the theme for the Paul Reiser and Helen Hunt sitcom, Mad About You. 

Apparently liberated enough by NBC royalties to pursue any number of passion projects, Gold played in a few bands during the 1980s and 1990s before releasing his solo children’s novelty album Halloween Howls (which is available for streaming on Amazon Prime), featuring covers of songs like “Monster Mash” and originals like “Spooky Scary Skeletons.” The original version of the song is much slower and self-consciously creepy than the remix version making the rounds on TikTok. (It also has the unique distinction of being one of the few Halloween novelty songs to prominently feature the very un-Halloween-y xylophone midi sound effect.)

If there can be said to be a Halloween pop music canon, Halloween Howls did not quite enter it; if the album’s Amazon reviews are any indication, prior to its memeification it was primarily played by elementary school teachers and moms during barre class. That changed, however, in 2010, when a YouTuber posted a version of the classic 1929 Silly Symphonies cartoon “The Skeleton Dance” with Gold’s tune in the background, according to KnowYourMeme. To date, the video has racked up more than 34 million views, and it has been credited as integral to the popularization of the skeleton subculture and the overall spooky aesthetic 

In 2013, DJ The Living Tombstone uploaded the sped-up remix that’s currently making the rounds on TikTok. Over the next few years, it was primarily used in video gameplay animations, as well as the aforementioned pumpkinhead dance video.

The origin of the actual Spooky Spooky Skeleton choreography that we currently see trending on TikTok remains something of a mystery. From what we can tell, the choreography appears to have been popularized. if not created, by TikTok creator minecrafter2011, a 16-year-old whose version of the dance appears to have been posted last month (TikTok does not currently have a timestamp feature), which has garnered nearly 5.2 million likes. The dance itself appears to be culled together from a melange of different sources, including this 2015 Vine of Beyonce and her backup dancers set to the song, as well as this 2014 YouTube video of glow-in-the-dark skeletons dancing to yet another dubstep remix; either way, we’ve reached out to minecrafter2011 for more clarity, and will update if we hear back.

Unfortunately, Andrew Gold is no longer around to enjoy the renaissance of his decades-old Halloween novelty song; he died of a heart attack in 2011 at the age of 59. Nonetheless, subscriber-hungry teens will continue to pay homage to his work on TikTok for generations to come — or at least until the end of spooky season rolls around come November 1st.


Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

For years, Absofacto’s “Dissolve” has been a fixture on Tik Tok — specifically the first few seconds of the chorus, a hooky rising vocal line singing the words, “I just wanted you to watch me dissolve…” The song never broke as big as “Old Town Road” or “The Box,” but TikTok fame has given it millions of streaming plays and even a minor chart breakthrough in 2019, a full four years after it was released.

But last weekend, Jonathan Visger (who records under the Absofacto name) got some alarming news from his followers. “I started getting messages from people that were survivors of childhood sexual abuse,” says Visger. “They told me there were videos on TikTok using my song that were extremely upsetting to them.”

The messages were about an unsettling meme that had grown up around Visger’s song. Described as “daddy daughter POV” videos, the videos show young users making direct eye contact with the viewer, setting a scene of a daughter accidentally walking in on her father. The lighter instances of the meme were only vaguely creepy, but others seemed to be straightforward references to incest and sexual abuse. None were explicit enough to trigger moderation, but they were still deeply disturbing. For longtime fans, it was jarring to see it soundtracked by a song they loved.

“I probably wouldn’t have understood the meaning behind this trend, if the people who had been affected hadn’t told me about it and asked me to do something,” Visger says. “This is uncharted territory for me.”

The result has been an unusual fight to reclaim “Dissolve.” Unlike most content fights, this one has mostly taken place among users, avoiding top-down moderation in favor of mass action within the strange ecosystem of TikTok. But for Visger and other musicians who have used the platform to reach a new audience, it’s an ugly reminder of how little control there is over how a song is used, and how hard it can be to take back your work.



♬ original sound – sunrisemusic

From the beginning, Visger seemed to be fighting an uphill battle against TikTok’s algorithm. Users who register likes on a lot of “Dissolve” memes are likely to be shown more of them, which means the users who already had an attachment to Visger’s song were the ones most likely to see the unsettling meme. And because recommendation algorithms tend to surface content that gets a lot of reactions — whether it’s likes, comments or TikTok duets — the controversy around the videos may have only promoted them more.

Visger’s first response was a TikTok post, calling on fans to take back the song and beat back the “gross daddy POV trend,” as he called it. “This song means a lot to me,” he wrote in a caption. “Please save it from being associated with this daddy play acting thing.” The post brought in half a million likes, and launched a wave of countermemes under the same audio tag, a slowed down version of Dissolve’s familiar hook. One popular user posted a POV video with the caption “I’m your cool aunt looking at a picture you just colored with your other aunt after I get back from burying your creepy pedophilic dad in the woods,” which spun off an entire wave of response videos. In another response, a gay couple poses with their infant child under the caption “POV: you got taken away from your creepy dad and adopted by a lesbian witch family.”

Along the way, many of the users behind the original daddy-daughter meme have gotten the message. Many have taken down their posts, sometimes posting apologies alongside them. (Visger duetted one on Friday, trying to boost the message.) After last week’s flood, the memes are now difficult to find on TikTok, and far less likely to pop into the pivotal For You page.

Still, the experience has left Visger unsettled, and with a radically new perspective on what it means to be a popular artist on TikTok. He’s decided that, at least for a while, he’ll dedicate his TikTok account to spreading awareness about child sexual abuse, hoping to comfort survivors and turn the experience into something more positive.

“I’m so happy I spoke up and I’m so thankful to the CSA survivors who put it on my radar,” he says. “The stress probably took a year off my life, but it was worth it.”

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TikTok is knee-deep in spook, thanks to a creepy version of a 19th century song called “Daisy Bell.” 

What TikTokers call the “Daisy Daisy” song has spawned an unsettling meme. People are rehashing unexplainable moments from their lives and sharing sinister historical anecdotes scored to the tune. Here’s why you might feel a cold shiver run down your spine the next time you hear someone sing “Daisy Daisy.” 

The original sound was creepy from the start

The first user who uploaded the audio showed footage of an abandoned Disney World. What was once full of bustling, happy people now looks like a haunted swamp. 

The lyrics start off with an upbeat singer crooning, “Daisy Daisy,” and then it switches to a much creepier voice, who continues, “Give me your answer, do!” The voices continue to alternate as they say, “I’m half crazy/ all for the love of you!” 

The spooky voice is actually a sample from MTV’s Scream television series. 

The real song has an eerie story behind it

British songwriter Harry Dacre wrote “Daisy Bell (Bicycle Built for Two)” in 1892. The song is said to be inspired by King Edward VI’s mistress, Daisy Greville, Countess of Warwick. 

When Dacre came to America, he had to pay a hefty import fee to transport his bicycle. His friend, songwriter William Jerome, joked, “It’s lucky you didn’t bring a bicycle built for two, otherwise you’d have to pay double duty.” Dacre was moved by the phrase “bicycle built for two” and penned the song around it. The tune became famous in the U.S. when Jennie Lindsay sang it at the Atlantic Gardens on the Bowery in 1892. 

“Daisy Bell” is also a part of history in another major way. In 1961, it became the earliest song performed using computer speech synthesis by the IBM 704. 

Examples of the ‘Daisy Daisy’ TikTok trend

TikToker Aaron Bernard used the song to highlight disturbing historical photos, like a vintage photo of a mother and her deceased child along with a “normal” picture of the convicted serial killer Michael Gargiulo.  

Bernard also shared photos of “scary things hidden in photos.” 

Meanwhile, @justroughdrafts recalled the time he was 13 and predicted his family’s car crash moments before it happened.

The user @milfbody shared a dream where a friend told her to wake up… because there was someone in the room with her in real life.

TikToker @cheysecret00 had her own disturbing story. While flying home on a near-empty plane, her gut told her a passenger was going to open the emergency door. She strapped herself in with seatbelts seconds before the passenger opened the door. Horrifying. 

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If you liked this story, check out this article on a creepy device used to break into hotel rooms.

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“Daisy Daisy” Scary Tik Tok Sound - WATCH AT YOUR OWN RISK ⚠️

Why are teenagers on TikTok obsessed with an eerie 1950s song?

Mention of the video-sharing platform TikTok brings to mind two things: a) the endless torrent of spellbindingly inane 15-second clips created by its gargantuan teen userbase, and b) its ironclad ability to make anyone born before the turn of the millennium feel like a bewildered OAP. Yet since the app’s global launch in 2018, TikTok has carved out another reputation: as a musical tastemaker. Forget Spotify algorithms or, shudder, the mass media, nowadays young people are discovering their new favourite tunes layered under bedroom makeup tutorials or films of body-popping GCSE students.

That means TikTok can make unknown tracks go stratospheric; Old Town Road, Lil Nas X’s country-rap smash, owes its success to a cleverly engineered TikTok challenge. Yet the app also uses its hit-making powers to give random songs a second life: decade-old singles, such as Mariah Carey’s Obsessed and Jay Sean’s Ride It, have both enjoyed massive popularity spikes thanks to tie-in TikTok dance challenges.

But they are far from the strangest songs to have been resurrected. Take, for example, Spooky Scary Skeletons, a 1996 Halloween children’s song by Golden Girls theme writer Andrew Gold. A remix of this novelty number currently soundtracks 2.6m TikTok videos thanks to, you guessed it, a viral dance challenge. Or even odder, the popularity of Tonight You Belong to Me, an eerily twee unrequited-love song made famous by sister act Patience and Prudence in 1956. Hearing its unusually quaint melody reappropriated as a teen anthem is extremely discombobulating; on the app you can watch a gaggle of excitable friends bellowing the haunting top line while swaggering through a shopping centre.

To the casual observer, it may seem as if these old songs have been plucked from the internet’s infinite music catalogue by the modern future-humans of Gen Z, who have identified some exciting and mysterious lure inaudible to anyone over the age of 21. The truth is far less strange: TikTok is simply echoing existing success stories. Spooky Scary Skeletons was already a massive hit on YouTube, thanks to a 2010 video that paired it with a vintage Disney animation, while Tonight You Belong to Me has been repeatedly covered by artists and often crops up on TV.

In fact, TikTok’s penchant for excavating vintage tunes can be rather comforting: recently, the app found itself in the grip of YMCA mania, thanks to a challenge involving the school disco standard and face-tracker software. The global, never-ending talent show that is TikTok teenagerdom might seem horrifyingly newfangled, but it feels like a relief to know this tomorrow’s world can’t quite leave the past behind.


Songs tiktok creepy

“Spooky Scary Skeletons” has become the unofficial anthem for Halloween, and the backstory behind its creation is bittersweet.

TikTok user @TheVictoriaGold uploaded a video singing along to the song and revealed that it was her father, the late Andrew Gold, who made the viral hit.

“That time of year where my late dad’s song is all over the internet from a Halloween album he wrote for my sisters and me when we were kids,” she captioned the clip.

“The internet’s spooky dad,” one user wrote, to which Victoria replied that her father would have loved that.

So, who is Andrew Gold?

TikTok was fascinated with the story and pointed out just how much of an unsung legend Gold was in the music industry. The producer and multi-instrumentalist also penned the iconic Golden Girls theme song, “Thank You For Being A Friend.”

Gold was a jack of all trades in music — from writing to producing, performing and instrumentation. He worked with the likes of Linda Ronstadt, The Eagles, James Taylor, Freddie Mercury, Cher, Celine Dion, Joni Mitchell and Wynonna Judd, among others. He was also one half of the duo Wax alongside Graham Gouldman. His biggest solo hit was "Never Let Her Slip Away," which peaked at No. 5 on the U.K. Singles Chart in 1978 and again in 1992 when it was covered by Undercover.

“Spooky Scary Skeletons” was featured on Gold's 1996 children's Halloween album, Halloween Howls: Fun & Scary Music with John Waite.

In 2010, a YouTuber uploaded a video of the song as background music to Disney's 1929 Silly Symphony animated short, “The Skeleton Dance.” It quickly went viral and has since been viewed over 30 million times. Even the Red Hot Chili Peppers did a cover of the song. A dance remix of the track has almost 100 million streams.

Sadly, the "internet’s spooky dad" passed away in 2011 at the age of 59 due to a heart attack. His legacy has continued on not only through his discography, but through his wholesome little Halloween creation, which pops back up year after year like clockwork.

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TikTok Songs: You Probably Don't Know The Name🔴Pt 1

The Official Halloween TikTok Trend Is Here

There's been the "woah," the "Git Up," and the Mariah Carey-endorsed "Obsessed" dance — now, get ready for "Spooky, Scary Skeletons." It's Halloween, witches.

The song "Spooky, Scary Skeletons," performed originally by Andrew Gold back in 1996, has been a meme for years, with its origins in YouTube gamer culture. One example of an early viral video featuring the track is this remix video focusing on Minecraft characters breaking out pixelated dance moves to the beat of the song. Every year the song experiences a resurgence in popularity as Halloween approaches, and every year it gets added to Halloween party playlists across the country, second only to the "Monster Mash."

Now, TikTok has gotten ahold of the hit track, and you'll never bop along to it the same again.

TikTokers around the world are busting out their best skeleton makeup and dance moves to follow a trend that involves a an LMFAO-esque shuffle dance and a whole lot of spooky after effects. Maddi Winter popularized the trend after spending 12 hours producing her own version of the dance, complete with 350 "hand-drawn" frames over top of her dancing to the song. Winter's video is a testament to what's possible on the lip-syncing app whose user base is growing exponentially by the day — it's beyond a Vine 2.0, it's an animation studio, a music sharing app, and a meme catalogue all in one.

There are new versions and attempts at the dance being posted so constantly that it's almost hard to keep up — that's why PAPER has put together a collection of takes on the "Spooky, Scary Skeletons" trend for your viewing pleasure. Happy Halloween, a whole two months early.


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By now, you're probably caught up on all the latest TikTok drama, gossip, and trends. You can dance like Charli D'Amelio or Addison Rae, and you can name all the TikTokcouples from memory. (That's actually really impressive, FYI.)

If you're tired of making the same ol' videos and are looking for your next idea, look no further. These ~scary~ TikToks are sure to inspire your inner Stephen King and create your own spooky vid. And for an extra dose of pizzazz, you may wanna invest in some dope lights and insanely cool editing apps to help give your #art a leg up on the "For You" page.

1. When your dummy comes alive

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Real talk, TikTok user @jannet.regina's whole page is filled with awesome and spooky horror vids.

    2. When the dishes unite and attack you

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    3. When the door is locked, but not really

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    4. When someone tells a truly creepy two sentence horror story

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    5. When you only thought you were home alone

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    6. When your reflection isn't your reflection

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    7. When your Amazon Alexa is NOT your friend

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    8. When you're practicing TikTok transitions and then realize your house may low-key be haunted...

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    Apparently, it was only her cat's tail, not a ghost, but still!

    9. When the thing you caught in your house is suddenly missing

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    10. When you're a little too good at SFX makeup

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    11. Seriously, when you're REALLY good at SFX makeup

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    12. When things go from 0-100 real quick

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    Stacey GrantSnapchat EditorStacey Grant is the Seventeen Snapchat Editor who also covers entertainment topics specializing in nostalgia, such as classic '90s and '00s Disney Channel and Nickelodeon content.

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