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Music History Monday: December 22

Posted by Jeff Harris, December 22, 2014 10:45am | Post a Comment

To read more Behind The Grooves, go to http://behindthegrooves.tumblr.com.

On this day in music history: December 22, 1958 - "The Chipmunk Song (Christmas Don't Be Late)" by The Chipmunks & David Seville hits #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for four weeks. Following the chart topping success of the single "Witch Doctor" in April of 1958, David Seville (birth name: Ross Bagdasarian, Sr.), will follow it up with his most popular and enduring creation. Seville's youngest son Adam will provide the inspiration for what will become "The Chipmunk Song". The idea for the song will come about when the young boy asks his father in September "if it's Christmas yet?" Seville take the idea and run with it. He will create the characters Alvin, Simon, & Theodore, three cartoon chipmunks who are named after Liberty Records executives Al Bennett and Si Waronker, and recording engineer Ted Keep. Employing the same tape varispeed technique used on "Witch Doctor," the vocals on the song will be sung by Seville by recording his voice with the tape running at 1/3 normal speed, producing the high pitched "chipmunk like" vocals upon playback. Released right before Thankgiving in November of 1958, the single is an instant and massive success. Entering the Hot 100 at #62 on December 1, 1958, it will pole vault to the top of the chart three weeks later. At the time of its release, "The Chipmunk Song" will become one of the fastest selling singles of all time, when it sells over 4.5 million copies in seven weeks. At the first Grammy Awards it will win three awards including Best Comedy Recording, Best Engineered Recording, and Best Children's Recording. The record will re-chart on the Hot 100 three more times between 1959 and 1962, peaking at #41, #45, and #39 respectively. When interest is revived in The Chipmunks in December 2007 with the release of the film Alvin And The Chipmunks, the original recording of "The Chipmunk Song" will re-enter the Hot 100, peaking at #66. "The Chipmunk Song (Christmas Don't Be Late)" is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.
 

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Midnight Movies and Canonical Classics -- A Guide to Los Angeles's Revival Cinemas

Posted by Eric Brightwell, December 22, 2014 10:34am | Post a Comment
 
Hollywood Cinerama, Los Angeles, 2003.
Hollywood Cinerama, Los Angeles, 2003 (image credit: Hiroshi Sugimoto)

No city on Earth is more closely associated with motion pictures than Los Angeles. 10% of all movie theaters in the entire country are located in California and Los Angeles County is home to over 100 of them. Although most of Los Angeles's theaters, like those throughout the country, showcase only the latest Hollywood product, there are also specialty theaters which show art films, adult films, classic films, experimental films, foreign films, independent films, revival films, &c. I've previously written about Southern California's drive-in theaters (For Ozoners Only) and overlooked commercial foreign language cinemas (Los Angeles's Secret, Foreign Language Movie Theater Scene). This is my guide to the repertory cinemas or revival houses. 

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"Jingle Bell Rocks!" Documentary - Screening in LA Today & Avail on DVD - Features Scene At Amoeba Music

Posted by Billyjam, December 21, 2014 09:30am | Post a Comment
  

In time for the holidays is this weekend's Los Angeles screening of the acclaimed documentary about some of the world’s most diehard alternative Christmas music fanatics Jingle Bell Rocks! in which film director Mitchell Kezin poses the question “Why, when Christmas rolls around, are we still stuck cozying up with Bing Crosby under a blanket of snow?"  Then Kezin, with a cast of fellow Christmas music fanatics including John Waters and Joseph "Rev Run" Simmons, proceeds to fully and entertainingly answer his own question in the must-see 94 minute film which was first released to festivals last year but was just released recently on Black Friday on DVD as well as being screened this week in select cinemas around the  country including in Los Angeles this weekend including later today.  Coincidentally the LA screening takes place at the Arena on N. Las Palmas in Hollywood (screening today, Sunday December 21st, at 4pm) which is only a little over half a mile away from the Hollywood Amoeba Music store where the opening scene of the documentary was shot.

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20 Gift Ideas for $20 and Under

Posted by Amoebite, December 19, 2014 04:08pm | Post a Comment

20 Gifts Under $20

It’s the holidays, and you’re strapped for time and money. What to do?! We’ve got you covered with 20 gift ideas for under 20 clams*. (*Amoeba does not accept clams as currency.)

pop toys game of thrones

Toys

Amoeba is full of toys from various TV shows, films, comic books and bands, including these POP! toys featuring Star Wars characters like Yoda; Game of Thrones characters like Tyrion Lannister and Jon Snow; Adventure Time characters like Fionna; Star Trek characters like Spock; and Guardians of the Galaxy characters like Rocket Raccoon.

Price: Toy prices vary, but POP! figurines are $12.98.

skullcandy ink'd headphones

Skullcandy INK'D Headphones

We've got a variety of headphones, but these INK'D earbuds offer a lot of bang for your buck.

Price: $19.98

Tony! Toni! Tone! Kick Off 8-Show Hometown Concert Series Tonight At Yoshi's Oakland

Posted by Billyjam, December 19, 2014 01:04pm | Post a Comment

It's only fitting that Tony! Toni! Toné!, who back in the day along with En Vogue and MC Hammer led Oakland's thriving urban music scene, would hold down a eight concert, four-night residency at their hometown club of Yoshi's Oakland - starting tonight, December 19th, through Monday December 22nd. The internationally successful neo soul RnB group scored such hits as "Little Walter" off their 1988 debut album Who? and a string of hits of their hugely successful follow-up album, 1990's The Revival that spawned the hits including "Feels Good," "It Never Rains (In Southern California)," "Whatever You Want," and "The Blues." As group members pursued individual projects - most notably Raphael Saadiq and the hard working D’Wayne Wiggins who has collaborated with countless artists over the years - the group's popularity as a whole slowly waned and they stopped working together as a group.  But then a decade ago the Tonys regrouped sans Raphael Saadiq when Wiggins and Timothy Christian Riley, along with their cousin Amar Khalil performing lead vocals, got the group back together and started touring. In addition to excitement to shows such as their hometown series that kicks off tonight at Yoshi's Oakland there is also much anticipation for the new Tony! Toni! Toné album (the first since 2011's Icon) getting ready to drop that features collaborations with such stars as Beyonce Knowles, Keyshia Cole, Rhymefest, and Slick Rick.   

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