Discussion:
The Number Ones: The Chipmunks & David Seville’s “The Chipmunk Song (Christmas Don’t Be Late)”
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Bob Roman
2018-11-06 21:31:55 UTC
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A writer named Tom Breihan has been reviewing, in order, every song to hit #1 in the Billboard Hot 100.

The Chipmunks with David Seville – “The Chipmunk Song (Christmas Don’t Be Late)”
HIT #1: December 22, 1958
STAYED AT #1: 4 weeks

It started out as a clever-enough idea. In 1958, Ross Bagdasarian, a Broadway actor who’d had a pretty good role as a pianist in Alfred Hitchcock’s 1954 masterpiece Rear Window, started experimenting with speeding up his voice on tape, making it into a high-pitched effect. From there, he came up with the idea of the Chipmunks, three happy-go-lucky singing rodents. Taking the name David Seville, Bagdasarian released the novelty single “The Witch Doctor,” which went to #1 on one of Billboard’s pre-Hot 100 charts. From there, a sequel was inevitable. And so: “The Chipmunk Song,” the song where the personalities of Alvin, Simon, and Theodore all begin to assert themselves. That was a hit, too, and a whole empire of cartoons and insufferable CGI-spiked kids’ movies was born.

Technically, “The Chipmunk Song” is a marvel. Working in a pre-electronic era, Bagdasarian had to manipulate tape speeds, play four different characters, and get the whole thing to hang together as a piece of music. He pulled it off, harmonizing with himself in inhuman high-pitched voices and then arguing with his own regular-voiced self. As a parlor trick and a feat of engineering, “The Chipmunk Song” is just staggering. As a piece of music, it sucks shit.

Even if Bagdasarian had been singing it in a regular human voice, “The Chipmunk Song” would still be an unbearably trite and treacly piece of holiday nothingness. Sung in those sped-up voices, it starts to feel like you’re hearing the fevered cooing of hell-demons. And when it gets to the end — when all three Chipmunks are demanding to sing the song again and Bagdasarian is telling them to stop and they devolve into near-wordless chattering white noise — it sounds like pure insanity. It sounds like the world ending.

And every year, like some witch’s curse, this song returns to us, playing over Rite-Aid speakers and TV-commercial montages, hounding us until the season ends.

GRADE: 2/10
Mark Dintenfass
2018-11-06 21:56:42 UTC
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Post by Bob Roman
A writer named Tom Breihan has been reviewing, in order, every song to hit #1
in the Billboard Hot 100.
The Chipmunks with David Seville ­ ³The Chipmunk Song (Christmas Don¹t Be
Late)²
HIT #1: December 22, 1958
STAYED AT #1: 4 weeks
It started out as a clever-enough idea. In 1958, Ross Bagdasarian, a Broadway
actor who¹d had a pretty good role as a pianist in Alfred Hitchcock¹s 1954
masterpiece Rear Window, started experimenting with speeding up his voice on
tape, making it into a high-pitched effect. From there, he came up with the
idea of the Chipmunks, three happy-go-lucky singing rodents. Taking the name
David Seville, Bagdasarian released the novelty single ³The Witch Doctor,²
which went to #1 on one of Billboard¹s pre-Hot 100 charts. From there, a
sequel was inevitable. And so: ³The Chipmunk Song,² the song where the
personalities of Alvin, Simon, and Theodore all begin to assert themselves.
That was a hit, too, and a whole empire of cartoons and insufferable
CGI-spiked kids¹ movies was born.
Technically, ³The Chipmunk Song² is a marvel. Working in a pre-electronic
era, Bagdasarian had to manipulate tape speeds, play four different
characters, and get the whole thing to hang together as a piece of music. He
pulled it off, harmonizing with himself in inhuman high-pitched voices and
then arguing with his own regular-voiced self. As a parlor trick and a feat
of engineering, ³The Chipmunk Song² is just staggering. As a piece of music,
it sucks shit.
Even if Bagdasarian had been singing it in a regular human voice, ³The
Chipmunk Song² would still be an unbearably trite and treacly piece of
holiday nothingness. Sung in those sped-up voices, it starts to feel like
you¹re hearing the fevered cooing of hell-demons. And when it gets to the end
‹ when all three Chipmunks are demanding to sing the song again and
Bagdasarian is telling them to stop and they devolve into near-wordless
chattering white noise ‹ it sounds like pure insanity. It sounds like the
world ending.
And every year, like some witch¹s curse, this song returns to us, playing
over Rite-Aid speakers and TV-commercial montages, hounding us until the season ends.
GRADE: 2/10
Message to Breihan: cool off, pal. It's just a 50s novelty song, and
far from one of the worst. You can't blame a record for inadvertently
sparking a franchise without seeming like the Grinch. It could've been
worse. Imagine a series of Purple People-eater movies.
--
--md
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Mr. M
2018-11-06 22:07:07 UTC
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On Tue, 06 Nov 2018 15:56:42 -0600, Mark Dintenfass
Post by Mark Dintenfass
Post by Bob Roman
A writer named Tom Breihan has been reviewing, in order, every song to hit #1
in the Billboard Hot 100.
The Chipmunks with David Seville ­ ³The Chipmunk Song (Christmas Don¹t Be
Late)²
HIT #1: December 22, 1958
STAYED AT #1: 4 weeks
It started out as a clever-enough idea. In 1958, Ross Bagdasarian, a Broadway
actor who¹d had a pretty good role as a pianist in Alfred Hitchcock¹s 1954
masterpiece Rear Window, started experimenting with speeding up his voice on
tape, making it into a high-pitched effect. From there, he came up with the
idea of the Chipmunks, three happy-go-lucky singing rodents. Taking the name
David Seville, Bagdasarian released the novelty single ³The Witch Doctor,²
which went to #1 on one of Billboard¹s pre-Hot 100 charts. From there, a
sequel was inevitable. And so: ³The Chipmunk Song,² the song where the
personalities of Alvin, Simon, and Theodore all begin to assert themselves.
That was a hit, too, and a whole empire of cartoons and insufferable
CGI-spiked kids¹ movies was born.
Technically, ³The Chipmunk Song² is a marvel. Working in a pre-electronic
era, Bagdasarian had to manipulate tape speeds, play four different
characters, and get the whole thing to hang together as a piece of music. He
pulled it off, harmonizing with himself in inhuman high-pitched voices and
then arguing with his own regular-voiced self. As a parlor trick and a feat
of engineering, ³The Chipmunk Song² is just staggering. As a piece of music,
it sucks shit.
Even if Bagdasarian had been singing it in a regular human voice, ³The
Chipmunk Song² would still be an unbearably trite and treacly piece of
holiday nothingness. Sung in those sped-up voices, it starts to feel like
you¹re hearing the fevered cooing of hell-demons. And when it gets to the end
‹ when all three Chipmunks are demanding to sing the song again and
Bagdasarian is telling them to stop and they devolve into near-wordless
chattering white noise ‹ it sounds like pure insanity. It sounds like the
world ending.
And every year, like some witch¹s curse, this song returns to us, playing
over Rite-Aid speakers and TV-commercial montages, hounding us until the season ends.
GRADE: 2/10
Message to Breihan: cool off, pal. It's just a 50s novelty song, and
far from one of the worst. You can't blame a record for inadvertently
sparking a franchise without seeming like the Grinch. It could've been
worse. Imagine a series of Purple People-eater movies.
this one is great
1953 Ross Bagdasarian (David Seville) - Let's Have A Merry, Merry
Christmas



Mr. M
Dennis C
2018-11-06 22:30:16 UTC
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" Rear Window" ain't shit without the divine Grace Kelly, baby and if Will Docker.....er I mean Mike Pendragon was here, he'd agree with me!!
Mark Dintenfass
2018-11-06 23:46:43 UTC
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Post by Mr. M
On Tue, 06 Nov 2018 15:56:42 -0600, Mark Dintenfass
Post by Mark Dintenfass
Post by Bob Roman
A writer named Tom Breihan has been reviewing, in order, every song to hit #1
in the Billboard Hot 100.
The Chipmunks with David Seville - 3The Chipmunk Song (Christmas Don1t Be
Late)2
HIT #1: December 22, 1958
STAYED AT #1: 4 weeks
It started out as a clever-enough idea. In 1958, Ross Bagdasarian, a Broadway
actor who1d had a pretty good role as a pianist in Alfred Hitchcock1s 1954
masterpiece Rear Window, started experimenting with speeding up his voice on
tape, making it into a high-pitched effect. From there, he came up with the
idea of the Chipmunks, three happy-go-lucky singing rodents. Taking the name
David Seville, Bagdasarian released the novelty single 3The Witch Doctor,2
which went to #1 on one of Billboard1s pre-Hot 100 charts. From there, a
sequel was inevitable. And so: 3The Chipmunk Song,2 the song where the
personalities of Alvin, Simon, and Theodore all begin to assert themselves.
That was a hit, too, and a whole empire of cartoons and insufferable
CGI-spiked kids1 movies was born.
Technically, 3The Chipmunk Song2 is a marvel. Working in a pre-electronic
era, Bagdasarian had to manipulate tape speeds, play four different
characters, and get the whole thing to hang together as a piece of music. He
pulled it off, harmonizing with himself in inhuman high-pitched voices and
then arguing with his own regular-voiced self. As a parlor trick and a feat
of engineering, 3The Chipmunk Song2 is just staggering. As a piece of
music,
it sucks shit.
Even if Bagdasarian had been singing it in a regular human voice, 3The
Chipmunk Song2 would still be an unbearably trite and treacly piece of
holiday nothingness. Sung in those sped-up voices, it starts to feel like
you1re hearing the fevered cooing of hell-demons. And when it gets to the
end
Ð when all three Chipmunks are demanding to sing the song again and
Bagdasarian is telling them to stop and they devolve into near-wordless
chattering white noise Ð it sounds like pure insanity. It sounds like the
world ending.
And every year, like some witch1s curse, this song returns to us, playing
over Rite-Aid speakers and TV-commercial montages, hounding us until the season ends.
GRADE: 2/10
Message to Breihan: cool off, pal. It's just a 50s novelty song, and
far from one of the worst. You can't blame a record for inadvertently
sparking a franchise without seeming like the Grinch. It could've been
worse. Imagine a series of Purple People-eater movies.
this one is great
1953 Ross Bagdasarian (David Seville) - Let's Have A Merry, Merry
Christmas
http://youtu.be/ADZeQCQhiLE
Inspiration for "Bohemian Rhapsody?" ;)
--
--md
_________
Remove xx's from address to reply
t***@iwvisp.com
2018-11-06 23:13:41 UTC
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Post by Bob Roman
A writer named Tom Breihan has been reviewing, in order, every song to hit #1 in the Billboard Hot 100.
The Chipmunks with David Seville – “The Chipmunk Song (Christmas Don’t Be Late)”
HIT #1: December 22, 1958
STAYED AT #1: 4 weeks
It started out as a clever-enough idea. In 1958, Ross Bagdasarian, a Broadway actor who’d had a pretty good role as a pianist in Alfred Hitchcock’s 1954 masterpiece Rear Window, started experimenting with speeding up his voice on tape, making it into a high-pitched effect. From there, he came up with the idea of the Chipmunks, three happy-go-lucky singing rodents. Taking the name David Seville, Bagdasarian released the novelty single “The Witch Doctor,” which went to #1 on one of Billboard’s pre-Hot 100 charts. From there, a sequel was inevitable. And so: “The Chipmunk Song,” the song where the personalities of Alvin, Simon, and Theodore all begin to assert themselves. That was a hit, too, and a whole empire of cartoons and insufferable CGI-spiked kids’ movies was born.
Technically, “The Chipmunk Song” is a marvel. Working in a pre-electronic era, Bagdasarian had to manipulate tape speeds, play four different characters, and get the whole thing to hang together as a piece of music. He pulled it off, harmonizing with himself in inhuman high-pitched voices and then arguing with his own regular-voiced self. As a parlor trick and a feat of engineering, “The Chipmunk Song” is just staggering. As a piece of music, it sucks shit.
Even if Bagdasarian had been singing it in a regular human voice, “The Chipmunk Song” would still be an unbearably trite and treacly piece of holiday nothingness. Sung in those sped-up voices, it starts to feel like you’re hearing the fevered cooing of hell-demons. And when it gets to the end — when all three Chipmunks are demanding to sing the song again and Bagdasarian is telling them to stop and they devolve into near-wordless chattering white noise — it sounds like pure insanity. It sounds like the world ending.
And every year, like some witch’s curse, this song returns to us, playing over Rite-Aid speakers and TV-commercial montages, hounding us until the season ends.
GRADE: 2/10
I think he misses the point. While it was every bit the engineering feat he describes, it was a children's Christmas song for kids. And when 'Dad' bought and brought that 45 home for his kids, in a colorful cartoon sleeve, IIRC, with a Dad-like guy and his 3 chipmunk kids, it worked perfectly. I'm not quibbling with the grade, if he wants to compare it to all #1's and give it a 2/10, but it deserves slightly more respect for a clever idea that remains a popular seasonal music staple 60 years later. Even without the Chipmunks, and maybe with additional better lyrics, it's a big, broad, non-offensive waltz.

One wonders if he intentionally adds some negative energy just to stir things up with readers. Hmmmmm. What do you think ... Bruce?!

Ray
SavoyBG
2018-11-07 03:42:18 UTC
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Post by t***@iwvisp.com
Post by Bob Roman
A writer named Tom Breihan has been reviewing, in order, every song to hit #1 in the Billboard Hot 100.
The Chipmunks with David Seville – “The Chipmunk Song (Christmas Don’t Be Late)”
HIT #1: December 22, 1958
STAYED AT #1: 4 weeks
It started out as a clever-enough idea. In 1958, Ross Bagdasarian, a Broadway actor who’d had a pretty good role as a pianist in Alfred Hitchcock’s 1954 masterpiece Rear Window, started experimenting with speeding up his voice on tape, making it into a high-pitched effect. From there, he came up with the idea of the Chipmunks, three happy-go-lucky singing rodents. Taking the name David Seville, Bagdasarian released the novelty single “The Witch Doctor,” which went to #1 on one of Billboard’s pre-Hot 100 charts. From there, a sequel was inevitable. And so: “The Chipmunk Song,” the song where the personalities of Alvin, Simon, and Theodore all begin to assert themselves. That was a hit, too, and a whole empire of cartoons and insufferable CGI-spiked kids’ movies was born.
Technically, “The Chipmunk Song” is a marvel. Working in a pre-electronic era, Bagdasarian had to manipulate tape speeds, play four different characters, and get the whole thing to hang together as a piece of music. He pulled it off, harmonizing with himself in inhuman high-pitched voices and then arguing with his own regular-voiced self. As a parlor trick and a feat of engineering, “The Chipmunk Song” is just staggering. As a piece of music, it sucks shit.
Even if Bagdasarian had been singing it in a regular human voice, “The Chipmunk Song” would still be an unbearably trite and treacly piece of holiday nothingness. Sung in those sped-up voices, it starts to feel like you’re hearing the fevered cooing of hell-demons. And when it gets to the end — when all three Chipmunks are demanding to sing the song again and Bagdasarian is telling them to stop and they devolve into near-wordless chattering white noise — it sounds like pure insanity. It sounds like the world ending.
And every year, like some witch’s curse, this song returns to us, playing over Rite-Aid speakers and TV-commercial montages, hounding us until the season ends.
GRADE: 2/10
I think he misses the point. While it was every bit the engineering feat he describes, it was a children's Christmas song for kids. And when 'Dad' bought and brought that 45 home for his kids, in a colorful cartoon sleeve, IIRC, with a Dad-like guy and his 3 chipmunk kids, it worked perfectly. I'm not quibbling with the grade, if he wants to compare it to all #1's and give it a 2/10, but it deserves slightly more respect for a clever idea that remains a popular seasonal music staple 60 years later. Even without the Chipmunks, and maybe with additional better lyrics, it's a big, broad, non-offensive waltz.
One wonders if he intentionally adds some negative energy just to stir things up with readers. Hmmmmm. What do you think ... Bruce?!
I think the guy understands 50s music less than I understand Chinese Opera.
SavoyBG
2018-11-07 03:47:28 UTC
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Post by SavoyBG
I think the guy understands 50s music less than I understand Chinese Opera.
Speaking of opera, no posts in quite a while from Frank.
Bob Roman
2018-11-07 18:29:02 UTC
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Post by t***@iwvisp.com
Even without the Chipmunks, and maybe with additional better lyrics, it's
a big, broad, non-offensive waltz.
I would argue that it's a worse song when sung straight. It ONLY works as a novelty.

Compare:


--
BR

Roger Ford
2018-11-07 06:30:17 UTC
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On Tue, 6 Nov 2018 13:31:55 -0800 (PST), Bob Roman
Post by Bob Roman
A writer named Tom Breihan has been reviewing, in order, every song to hit #1 in the Billboard Hot 100.
The Chipmunks with David Seville – “The Chipmunk Song (Christmas Don’t Be Late)”
HIT #1: December 22, 1958
STAYED AT #1: 4 weeks
It started out as a clever-enough idea. In 1958, Ross Bagdasarian, a Broadway actor who’d had a pretty
good role as a pianist in Alfred Hitchcock’s 1954 masterpiece Rear Window,
He also wrote the song "Come On A-My House" in 1951 that took Rosemary
Clooney to #1
Post by Bob Roman
started experimenting with
speeding up his voice on tape, making it into a high-pitched effect. From there, he came up with the idea
of the Chipmunks, three happy-go-lucky singing rodents.
The Chipmunks were his SECOND novelty creation. First came the duo
"Alfi & Harry" with Mark McIntyre who did the novelty routine "The
Trouble With Harry" on Liberty inspired by (but not featured in) the
Hitchcock movie of that name.It was a Top 50 hit and also did well
here in UK

(Mark McIntyre was the father of the young girl duo Patience &
Prudence who also recorded for Liberty,the record label to which all
roads around Bagsadarian/Seville lead)
Post by Bob Roman
Taking the name David Seville, Bagdasarian released
the novelty single “The Witch Doctor,” which went to #1 on one of Billboard’s pre-Hot 100 charts.
No,the alter ego "David Seville" originated in 1956 with the pop
instrumental "Armen's Theme" for Liberty,another Top 50 hit. There
were a half dozen or so records under that name (as "The Music Of
David Seville") before "Witch Doctor" and three more pop things
afterwards and all (including "Witch Doctor") credited the same way
Post by Bob Roman
From there
, a sequel was inevitable. And so: “The Chipmunk Song,” the song where the personalities of Alvin, Simon,
and Theodore all begin to assert themselves. That was a hit, too, and a whole empire of cartoons and insufferable
CGI-spiked kids’ movies was born.
The three Chipmunks were named after Liberty Records executives Alvin
Bennett,Simon Waronker and Theodore Keep. And the very earliest
copies of "The Chipmunk Song" are titled "Christmas Don't Be Late" and
credited to "The Music Of David Seville"



ROGER FORD
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