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Music History Monday: December 22

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

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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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IF YOU LIKE PINA COLADAS THEN LET'S GET DIVORCED

Posted by Billyjam, September 20, 2007 06:34am | Post a Comment

A couple of days ago I read this story in the paper about a Bosnian couple who are going through divorce proceedings as a direct result of each getting caught cheating on each other --but, here's the twist-- with each other.  It's a scenario that seems almost identical to that portrayed in Rupert Holmes' sappy but engaging 1979 number one pop hit single "Escape (The Pina Colada Song)," in which a guy, bored with his relationship, answers a newspaper personals ad to find that he has a lot in common with this blind date (pina coladas, walks in the rain, and a dislike of yoga and health food, etc.). He finally meets up with this mystery woman only to discover it was in fact his own "old lady" that he thought he had little in common with. This unusual and unlikely situation brings the two formerly drifting lovers back together again and they all live happily ever after. But not so in the recent real life scenario with the couple in Bosnia. The disgruntled pair (Adnan Klaric, 32 and his wife Sana, 27) went online in search of new love. There, under the pseudonyms "Sweetie" and "Prince of Joy" each met some seemingly new soul in whom they could confide and find solace, complaining about how awful their marriages had become. Finally they felt they'd found someone who understands. They each thought they'd found their soulmate. So they arranged to meet up in person. And when they did: Shocker! Each accused the other of being unfaithful and they started divorce proceedings pronto.
    
                                               If you like Piña Coladas
                                               And getting caught in the rain
                                               If you're not into yoga
                                               If you have half a brain
                                               If you'd like making love at midnight
                                               In the dunes on the Cape
                                               Then I'm the love that you've looked for
                                               Write to me and escape.

          
So anyway, this whole story was just so reminiscent of the Rupert Holmes hit (except for the outcome) that I had to go back and track down "Escape," as it was originally simply known, on video. On YouTube there are close torupert holmes partners in crime a hundred videos that pop up when you put in a search of "Rupert Holmes Escape The Pina Colada Song)," including the Sims Movie 2 version above and a great many more "visual interpretations," and numerous lip-syncing takes, like the playful one posted by the young courtneySpace and her friend (scoll all the way down). One mime version of the song was done as a college class project for a final test. And of course, there are also numerous cover versions of the thematically timeless song. Interestingly Rupert Holmes himself doesn't have a visual version. He never made a video for the song. It was in the pre MTV/VH1 days, but there is one for the lesser hit "Him" taken from the same 1979 album Partners In Crime (the video clip is from Top Of The Pops, I believe). 

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