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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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7 More Days Until Walrus Day!!!

Posted by Job O Brother, October 1, 2011 08:48pm | Post a Comment
Delightfully baffled? Follow this link, sexy human!

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Easy does it.

Posted by Job O Brother, February 7, 2011 06:14pm | Post a Comment
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One of the most rewarding and confounding things about being an Earthling who loves music is watching my tastes change with time, or better said, watching them grow – I don’t think there’s very much music I once loved I no longer do. My first favorite acts (at age 3) were The Beatles, Linda Ronstadt, and The Chipmunks, and I still adore them all today.

More surprising to me is how much I’ve come to cherish music I would have once loathed. 2010 became the year I “discovered” easy listening, both light music (which can be found in Amoeba Music's classical section) and lounge music (which can be found in the coincidentally-named Lounge section).

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Photographic Memory, Part 2

Posted by Job O Brother, September 14, 2009 12:01pm | Post a Comment
This is another installment of music and/or movies that I’m reminded of when looking at old photos of myself, my family and my friends. It was brought to you by the letter E and the number 8. And through a generous donation from the Karen Silkwood Driving Academy. And from Viewers Like You.

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"I hate you."

Here’s a picture of the dude that’s writing the sentence you’re reading right now. It was taken while he was in Kindergarten. The expression on the boy’s face sets the tone for the rest of his scholastic experience.

I don’t know what happened to make me look so surly in a photograph. It could’ve been as simple as the photographer telling me to “Smile!” which is an order I have never responded to well. I mean, if someone wants me to smile, they should be creative about it. Try saying something like:

“I’ve bought you 8 pints of ice cream and a spoon!” or

“I managed to destroy every last recording of the song ‘Entry Of The Gladiators!'” or

“I am John Gavin, and I’m going to kiss you.”

Something that would make me smile for reals. Don’t just bark orders at me! Especially to portray an emotion. That’s too personal. I AM NOT A LABRADOR RETRIEVER, PEOPLE!

(In which brave employees face dire visions.)

Posted by Job O Brother, April 15, 2008 12:01pm | Post a Comment

10.30 AM - Time to open Amoeba.

I’ve been working at Amoeba Music for over three years now (although I often still feel like a newbie) but it wasn’t until last Thursday that I had co-workers over to my house for the first time.

The reasons for this are many, and complicated. For one, whenever you have humans over to your house to visit, there’s all sorts of things one must do, like… talk to them… and… well, talk to them. It’s daunting! Nevermind the fact that my cat, Fangs, is only one moment away from figuring out how to eat someone.


My cat Fangs. (It's always hard to get him to be still long enough to get a good picture.)

You’ll remember (unless you won’t) that some time ago I blogged about the film crew of “Alvin & The Chipmunks” using the front of Amoeba Music Hollywood for a shoot, for which I was an extra (cast as a bouncer).

Charlie, who works in the classical music department, and Smithy, who works soundtracks (with me) and pop vocals, and I had tried to goad each other in going to see the movie in the theatres to find out if either Amoeba or I were actually in it, but none of us were willing to pay the huge (if justified) price of an ArcLight Cinema ticket, especially considering the film looked painful.


Me, relating the preview I saw of the movie in question.

We decided, therefore, that when the movie came out of DVD – which it recently has – we would congregate at my apartment, drink enough booze to buffer any psychological damage that watching Jason Lee interact with CGI rodents could have and face the beast.

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