Saturday, November 15, 2008

David Seville - "Father" of "The Chipmunks"

David Seville was the stage name of Ross Bagdasarian, who was an actor, singer/songwriter and record producer. He is best remembered today for creating "The Chipmunks" - Alvin, Simon and Theodore.

The voices of the "Chipmunks" were performed by recording voices at 'normal' speed, and then speeded up on a tape recorder. Mr. Bagdasarian had used this effect on a hit record he had in 1958, "The Witch Doctor", which was also his first experiment with speeding an audio track to get the distinctive, comical, squeaky, high-pitched voices.

The 'big hit' for "David Seville and The Chipmunks" came in 1958, with the seasonal song "Christmas Don't Be Late" (also known simply as "The Chipmunk Song").

Mr. Bagdasarian died in 1972, at the young age of 52, long before I became very active in acquiring autographed photos. Over the years, I always had him on my list of 'desired autographs', and in 1995, was fortunate to buy this photo of him from a reliable autograph dealer. I recall paying about $10 for it.

Here is a link to a YouTube video of "The Chipmunk Song" from the 1960s animated tv series "The Alvin Show".

And here is a video slideshow with the original recording of "The Witch Doctor".

No comments: