(Part of series on Xmas-pop songs) By Alan L. Chrisman
Alvin and The Chipmonks’ Christmas song, “Christmas (Don’t Be Late)”, was first a hit in 1958. They were three fictional chipmonk characters, all created and voiced by songwriter, producer, and actor, Ross Bagdasarian. He created the high–pitched voices of the group by speeding up the tape (something he had experimented with on his earlier hit, “Witch Doctor”). He had developed three separate characters in the chipmonks: Alvin the spoiled one, Simon the intellectual and Theodore the chubby, shy one and Bagdasarian plays their father/manager, David Saville. During the Xmas song, Alvin starts to act out, as Saville tries to get them back to singing the song-“ALVIN!.”
The Chipmonks would go on to have several more albums and cartoons and animated features with them for years to come. But their Xmas song also became a part of many children’s lives growing up.
Another novelty song was “Snoopy’s Christmas”. The performers, The Royal Guardsmen, actually from Florida, changed their name to cash in on the British Invasion theme. They had had an earlier hit in 1966 with “Snoopy VS. The Red Baron”. Snoopy was, of course, based on the Charles Shultz cartoon character. In fact, when they had first released “Red Baron” in Canada on a small Canadian label, Laurie Records,(the Red Baron was a infamous German pilot in WW1, who had been shot down by Canadian ace, Billy Bishop) Shultz had tried to stop the song, but it became a big hit and he relented. The Royal Guardsmen followed up the song with “Snoopy’s Christmas” the next year, and it too became a holiday novelty hit.
Alvin & The Chipmonks sing their novelty Xmas song, “Christmas (Don’t Be Late”:
ROYAL GUARDSMEN doing 1967 Xmas hit, “ Snoopy’s Christmas”: