The Chipmunk Song (Christmas Don't Be Late)

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The Chipmunk Song (Christmas Don't Be Late)

Post by Wildcat445 on Sun Dec 06, 2015 4:49 pm

This silly little Christmas song has been around seemingly forever. Here is the Wikipedia search for this song:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Chipmunk_Song_(Christmas_Don%27t_Be_Late)

Wikipedia has a couple facts messed up here. First, the picture of the album cover they show as the re-issue is, in fact, the original from late 1958. I have the re-issue album which is different. The article also says that Ross Bagdasarian (David Seville) sang the chipmunk parts " in a high chipmunk voice." This statement is in error, proven by playing a 45 rpm copy at 33 1/3 rpm. He actually did all three chipmunk parts, his part, then mixed in the music. This was done on an Ampex 32 track tape recorder in full stereo. Full "hyper" stereo. It was marketed on the Liberty label. The chipmunk part was recorded at a slower speed than the David Seville part, then mixed in with the music. This engineering effort was a big deal back then, before the days of computers. The article also stated that "The Chipmunk Song" was the only Christmas song to make #1 on the charts. My belief is that "Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer", from 1973 did also. And what about "White Christmas" arguably the most recorded Christmas song ever.


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Re: The Chipmunk Song (Christmas Don't Be Late)

Post by willy3486 on Mon Dec 07, 2015 8:21 am

I remember it well. Bob Rivers did a funny version of it. You can do a search for it on youtube. Its like chipmunks roasting on an open flame. I also remember grandma got run over by a reindeer. A little background first. To make a long story short I asked for my mom to be tested for Dementia last year when she was in the nursing home and it came back worse than that. I found out she has anti social personality disorder which explains a lot on how she has always treated me and why she treated my dad the way she did. To give you an idea of this if your not familiar with it I have read that Charles Manson and Jeffrey Dahlmer had it and the role Hanimal Lecter is a example of it. The way it was explained to me since I receive the brunt of her attacks I am fine just shell shocked. My grandmother was the same way so I expect she had it as well.

With that said my grandmother was not a nice person. She would constantly play mind games. She got mad at my step grandad and left him. After that she expected one of her kids to go to her apartment and bring her out to their house for the weekend or longer. She would do things to terrorize me. She did most of her grandkids this way. One thing she did when my parents were out of the house was to get up from the living room and scoot across the floor in house shoes, go to my door then knock . When I would go to the door to see what she wanted she would say that she just wanted to see if I was in there. She would do this about every 5 minutes. One time when I was home from tech school and in my room she started this. After about an hour I was tired of this so I turned on my 47 seeburg jukebox I had got to fix up. I would hear the scooting then I would play the grandma got run over by a reindeer loud. After 2 or 3 times she never did this again. As bad as she was to me my grandmother on my dads side was good to me.

Anyway I think I still have the grandma record somewhere. I do remember the chipmunk song. When I was a kid in the early 70s I would hear that of a morning. I would get on the bus and the driver had a old am radio he mounted in the bus on. They would play it on the local radio station at least once while we was on the bus, I was usually on the bus an hour.

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Re: The Chipmunk Song (Christmas Don't Be Late)

Post by Bill Cahill on Mon Dec 07, 2015 10:15 am

I have "Grandma got run over by a reindeer". I also have a 1960 release two record set Christmas album of Christmas music by David Seville and, the chipmunks on an unknown label, and, a 1961 single record copy on Liberty by same. They made a lot of 45 rpm records, and, a couple of 78's. The first was "witch doctor", then, the "Chipmunk song". Wikpedia is very wrong, you are right.

David Sevill was rather ingenious about this. I have a number of their popular, and, rare fourty fives. I first fell in love with "Witch doctor" When it was new. They also had two half hour cartoon shows on tv that were popular for years. "David Seville and the chipmunks", and, "The Alvin show".

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Re: The Chipmunk Song (Christmas Don't Be Late)

Post by Wildcat445 on Mon Dec 07, 2015 10:24 pm

"Witch Doctor" was Ross Bagdasarian (David Seville) first hit before "The Chipmunk Song." It was recorded in mono originally, then he recorded it again in stereo after the "Chipmunk" song became so popular. I remember the Alvin show. One one song they sang "O Solo Mio". The Chipmunks were on vacation in Italy in one show. The gondola driver kept calling them mice. They changed the words of the song to "O Solo Mio, we are not mice. We're singing chipmunks. We told you twice." I don't remember any more, since it has been at least 50 years since I heard it.

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Re: The Chipmunk Song (Christmas Don't Be Late)

Post by Doug Burskey on Tue Dec 08, 2015 5:18 pm

I herd someone tried to explain how Ross Bagdasarian did the chipmunks voices was by inhaling helium. And another I herd was the TV show Mr.Ed  was really a zebra, but you can't see the stripes on a black & white TV! I'm no expert, but Mr. Ed was no zebra. Where do they come up with this BS?!

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Re: The Chipmunk Song (Christmas Don't Be Late)

Post by 75X11 on Tue Dec 08, 2015 10:43 pm

The Chipmunks were not the only claim to fame for Bagdasarian, he was also an actor and published other works as well.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Come_On-a_My_House
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Re: The Chipmunk Song (Christmas Don't Be Late)

Post by Bill Cahill on Wed Dec 09, 2015 11:19 am

Actually, on the early Chipmunk records, he always did a straight song on the B side.
Yes, he did have a good voice, but, except for the Chipmunks, I don't think he ever became that popular. There were other attempts by other people to create other singing animals, but, they largely failed. In the seventies, someone did a modern version of the Chipmunks doing totally modern music. Personally, I don't like it.

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Re: The Chipmunk Song (Christmas Don't Be Late)

Post by Wildcat445 on Wed Dec 09, 2015 10:20 pm

I have an album from 1982, on RCA, produced by Chet Atkins and Jerry Reed, "Urban Chipmunk." Ross Bagdasarian had nothing to do with the album as far as I know, but it is not a bad effort. The music is what could be expected from two of the best guitar pickers extant in Nashville back then. The singing was, well, just the Chipmunks. It was a novelty album attempting to cash in on the cowboy bar craze then sweeping the nation. Some of the get-ups that people wore in bars during that time could be interesting as well...... Rolling Eyes

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Re: The Chipmunk Song (Christmas Don't Be Late)

Post by Bill Cahill on Thu Dec 10, 2015 11:20 am

I mis-placed my Chipmunk Song 78, but, played the following 78's on my Newcomb TR-16A this morning.
The Christmas song, Nat King Cole Trio
Purple People eater
There ain't no Santa Claus Benny Bell
I want a hippopotamus for Christmas
Something barked on Christmas morning

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Re: The Chipmunk Song (Christmas Don't Be Late)

Post by Wildcat445 on Thu Dec 10, 2015 11:01 pm

What label is your "Hippo for Christmas" song on? My original 78 rpm version was on a yellow Golden record, as I remember.

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Re: The Chipmunk Song (Christmas Don't Be Late)

Post by Bill Cahill on Fri Dec 11, 2015 9:22 am

Nope. It's Columbia. I have it. Columbia would have also made it on yellow children's series Columbia records. The Golden record would have been a different cast, and, probably using the Mitch Miller orchestra.
Now, don't get me wrong. Some of the Golden Records were also fantastic. But, rarely originals.

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Re: The Chipmunk Song (Christmas Don't Be Late)

Post by Wildcat445 on Fri Dec 11, 2015 10:51 am

Got it, Bill. Thank you. Quite possibly it was Columbia. I do remember its being yellow plastic. It is long gone, unfortunately.

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Re: The Chipmunk Song (Christmas Don't Be Late)

Post by Bill Cahill on Sat Dec 12, 2015 1:17 pm

If yours was yellow plastic, it's the Golden version.
Columbia children's records were yellow, with red border label, and black plastic.
It was also recorder on the Red label.

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Re: The Chipmunk Song (Christmas Don't Be Late)

Post by Bill Cahill on Sat Dec 12, 2015 1:20 pm

Golden made both 6", most popular, and, 10" not as popular records.
Some Disney, or, Mickey Mouse label records had the same recording as on Golden. I suspect Golden bought from Disney.

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Re: The Chipmunk Song (Christmas Don't Be Late)

Post by Wildcat445 on Sat Dec 12, 2015 2:25 pm

I always thought that Golden was a division of Columbia.  Mitchell Miller and Vicky Kasen were the orchestra leaders on Golden Records.  The connection I made to Columbia was Mitch Miller.  Also at least Gene Autry and Rosie Clooney recorded kiddie records under pseudonyms or their real names for years, both Columbia (or Okeh) artists under contract.  Frank Sinatra and Eddie Fisher also recorded kiddie records, under pseudonyms.

Mitch Miller was the A&R man for Columbia for eons, with the exception of their country division.  Rosie Clooney despised Mitch Miller.  She hated those silly little ditties that Mitch loved so well.  Rosie went over to RCA and never looked back.

What few Mickey Mouse/Disney records I have are green plastic. I would wager that these are essentially Golden/Columbia (?) records only green. Disney did not actually press records, did they?

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Re: The Chipmunk Song (Christmas Don't Be Late)

Post by Bill Cahill on Sat Dec 12, 2015 2:41 pm

I have no ownership information on either Disney, nor, Golden. But, I doubt Golden was owned by Columbia. Back then, people recording were still able to go from label to label. That was good, as a lot of companies underpaid entertainment.
Wish I could find more on ownership of companies.

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Re: The Chipmunk Song (Christmas Don't Be Late)

Post by Bill Cahill on Sat Dec 12, 2015 2:46 pm

Oh. I will say this. The later Rocking Horse label was a re-name of Golden. I have a RH re-issue of a fifties Golden classic record with train songs, and, stories. I also have an original replacement for the golden one I had as a child. Only difference is my original had pink paper labels, and, this one has yellow.
All three jackets are the same cardboard jacket with a cartoon picture of a happy train with kids waving out the windows.
The RH one says Rocking horse on it.
The Golden ones say Golden with a painted picture of a Golden record on it.

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Re: The Chipmunk Song (Christmas Don't Be Late)

Post by Wildcat445 on Sat Dec 12, 2015 3:02 pm

Mitch Miller WAS Columbia records in the 1950's. What he wanted pretty much got done. I would wonder if Mitch Miller would have worked for any organization other than Columbia, whether is was permitted or not. But, on the other hand, Chet Atkins and Floyd Cramer recorded on several different labels as backup artists. They were the two singularly most influential recording artists of their time on RCA, and RCA was legendary for closely guarding its trade assets. Anything was possible in those days. Archival information on Golden records is hard to come by. I'm surprised that there isn't SOMETHING out there, given our modern information world and how influential the label was.

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Re: The Chipmunk Song (Christmas Don't Be Late)

Post by Bill Cahill on Mon Dec 14, 2015 10:03 am

Well, he did.

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