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The Chipmunk Song (Christmas Don’t Be Late!) – David Seville and The Chipmunks

Words & Music: Ross Bagdasarian, Sr. (David Seville)

In the year 1958, three significant events occurred:

  1. A certain boy, not yet misplaced, was born.
  2. The hula hoop was introduced by Wham-O, Inc.
  3. The Chipmunk Song (Christmas Don’t Be Late!) by David Seville and The Chipmunks was released

Now some 51 years later, all of these events have converged:

  • The daughter of that misplaced boy now has mad hula hoop skills and can keep a hoop in orbit forever, with an intensity and focus I’ve never seen in her before. It’s crazy! And a lot of fun to watch.
  • On the heels of the 2007 big screen Alvin and the Chipmunks, a new Chipmunk movie will be released later this month: Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel.
  • On December 12, 2009, I am putting The Chipmunk Song (Christmas Don’t Be Late!) (a song in which the hula hoop plays a prominent part) on my list as the eighth worst Christmas Song of all time.

Why? With all this harmonic convergence going on why am I dissing harmonic rodents?

Because they FREAKING SUCK!!!

I admit, when I was Boodle’s age I wasted a fair amount of time watching the antics of gullible Simon, brainy Theodore, and ADHD case Alvin, along with the short fused Dave Seville. But two things happened to sour me on the munks.

In 1980, Ross Bagdasarian, Jr. the son of the creator of A & the Cs, produced Chipmunk Punk. It was an album of the three lads covering songs by The Cars, The Knack, Linda Ronstadt, Tom Petty, Blondie, Billy Joel, and Queen. First of all, none of those acts were anywhere near punk. Some of us might have thought The Cars were for about a minute, until we heard The Sex Pistols.

But, OK, they couldn’t resist rhyming “Chipmunk” with “Punk.” A cheap trick (also not a punk act, but damn they were fun while they lasted), but I get it. Here was the real thing that soured me on them. They did The Knack’s song Good Girls Don’t on the record. For those of you who aren’t ancient and don’t remember The Knack, here are the original lyrics, and the slight changes made for the Chipmunk’s version:

She’s your adolescent dream,
Schoolboy stuff, a sticky sweet romance.
And she makes you want to scream,
Wishing you could get inside her pants. [another chance]
So, you fantasize away.
And while you’re squeezing her, you thought you heard her saying…

“Good girls don’t,
Good girls don’t,
Good girls don’t, but I do.”

So, you call her on the phone
To talk about the teachers that you hate.
And she says she’s all alone,
And her parents won’t be coming home til late.
There’s a ringing in your brain,
Cause you could’ve sworn you thought you heard her saying…

“Good girls don’t,
Good girls don’t,
Good girls don’t, but I do.”

And it’s a teenage sadness
Everyone has got to taste.
An in-between age madness
That you know you can’t erase
Til she’s sitting on your face. [in your place]

You’re alone with her at last,
And you’re waiting til you think the time is right.
Cause you’ve heard she’s pretty fast.
And you’re hoping that she’ll give you some tonight.
So, you start to make your play,
Cause you could’ve sworn you thought you heard her saying…

“Good girls don’t,
Good girls don’t,
Good girls don’t, but I do.”

Seriously? On a children’s album? WhatEVER.

That was the first thing that soured me on the Chipmunks. Then, in the 80s, when I first moved back to LA I lived in a house in Venice with three other guys (I hadn’t met any of them before I moved in). One of the guys was a little person, midget, dwarf. He was currently making a living as a stand-in for a child actor on a TV show. Kids can only be under the lights for so long, so my housemate would act as a substitute during lighting, blocking, etc. Prior to this, though, he had gone on tour as Simon the Chipmunk with a travelling Chipmunk show. If it wasn’t the one in this video clip, then it was something similar:

Looks like pretty cheesy stuff to me, but OK, a little dude has to make a living. The thing is, this guy – I’ll just call him Simon, he was kind of a jerk to me. I was new in town and didn’t know anybody, and we went to the same church but he would never invite me to hang out with him and his friends and stuff. One time when I came home some of my dirty dishes were piled up in front of my door. Simon did that because I had left them in the sink, even though I had done his dishes many times before that and never gave him a hard time about it. I know it’s Junior High stuff, and it’s guilt by association, but Simon was a jerk to me and I hate the Chipmunks. All of them!

Of course, Boodles wanted to see the movie that came out two years ago so we took her, reluctantly. She loved it, and she really loved the song when they sang it. She laughed and laughed. I love the sound of my sweetie’s laughter. It’s just the best sound in the world.

***sigh***

I love Alvin and the Chipmunks.

2011 Update:

Looks like the official Chipmunk Cabal took down the videos I put up before, but by popular demand (OK, one person) I found another one for your listening and viewing torture enjoyment:

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6 thoughts on “The 12 Bad Songs of Christmas: #8

  1. Ok, I’ve been tracking with you so far, but here I have to disagree. In spite of the whiney voices, predictability of behavior, and dysfunctional acting out, (which reminds me very much of my family Christmas get-togethers), I love this song!! I know thats not politically correct. You are supposed to hate this song. But I don’t.
    Okay, I’ve said it. Whenever I SEE a hula hoop, I start to hum this song. Its cute AND annoying, yet so delightfully simple! Alvin has his heart set on a plastic toy without batteries or electronics. He wants a toy that only works as he EXERCISES! This is noteworthy! This is worth lauding and appreciating because of its rarity. I love Alvin. I want to give him THREE hula hoops, in case he wears them out!
    Joe, you have had some unfortunate experiences with Chipmunk rip-offs, but this is really a side issue, is it not? We are not judging parody songs, or Chipmunk wanna-bes.

    Joe, get over it. Boodles has the right idea. The AptOne has spoken.

  2. Thank you, A1:

    1. Good point about the hula hoop.
    2. ‘Chipmunk Punk’ wasn’t a parody song, or wanna-be. It was an official Chipmunk release.
    3. The Chipmunks suck.
    4. I love the Chipmunks because they make Boodles laugh.
    5. I’m perfectly comfortable with cognitive dissonance.

  3. Joe,
    Re #2, trying another tactic then:
    Artists recreate themselves all the time. – Madonna, Cher, Michael Jackson…
    If you loved an early Jackson but don’t care for his later stuff, that does not disqualify his early stuff as good material. Correct??
    Re #3:
    PPFFFTTHHHTH!
    Re #5:
    Comfort with cognitive dissonance is a sign of deep thought maturity. You remain my respected blogger personae.

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