DFHC 12/21/2011

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Ask Cool Daddy Get Munked

Dear Cool Daddy: I heard a DJ on the radio today play “The Chipmunk Song,” and he said that not only did it go to #1 on the Top 40 charts in 1958, but it was also Top Ten on the Rhythm and Blues chart. What was he smokin’?  …from Squirrely, in West Palm Beach

Dear Squirrely: I dunno, Newports maybe? But it’s completely true, and it just goes to show you how genres of music weren’t nearly as compartmentalized then as they are today…or as we in retrospect imagine that they were. The R&B chart below is also from December 22, 1958, and while 8 of the top ten make “sense”…Jackie Wilson, Clyde McPhatter, the Platters, Dee Clark, Lloyd Price, Fats Domino, James Brown, B.B. King…you’ve got to admit that the Chipmunks and Kingston Trio seem out of place, but there you go. Really, a wiser pop music historian than I will have to explain it to you…I can’t.  The next week, it was down to # 11…

Still, the Hot 100 chart tells the tale of the meteoric rise…debuting at #62, then to #37, #10, and #1, in just 4 weeks. That Ross Bagdasarian and Liberty Records weren’t expecting this is born out by the non-Christmas flip side, credited just to “David Seville.” But it isn’t too bad really, hear it here. For Christmas 1959, “The Chipmunk Song” was re-released with “Alvin’s Harmonica” as the flip, and together they scored a double-sided hit, peaking at #4.

Bagdasarian/Seville made the obligatory appearances on The Ed Sullivan Show…12/21/58 and 12/13/59…with hand-puppets.

And now that I think about it…2 Christmases ago, I wrote an article about the Chipmunk phenomenon…it’s archived at travelingcyst.bogspot.com…or if you’ve got a bigger screen, here’s the whole thing, saving you a click.

chipless plugs…

Podcasts at http://stolfpod.podbean.com  and   http://thewholething.podbean.com

Deep Fried Hoods Cups Daily Blog:    https://deepfriedhoodsiecups.wordpress.com/

Other Daily Blog at http://stolf.wordpress.com  (the legendary Stolf’s Blog)

More bloggage at  http://travelingcyst.blogspot.com  and  http://www.examiner.com/retro-pop-culture-in-watertown/mark-john-astolfi

Updated Resume at http://travelingcyst.blogspot.com/p/resume.html

Audio samples at  http://stolfspots.podbean.com

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