Alvin and the Chipmunks

For other uses, see Alvin and the Chipmunks (disambiguation).
Alvin and the Chipmunks

Alvin and the Chipmunks is a five-time Grammy Award-winning animated music group, created by Ross Bagdasarian, Sr. in 1958. The group consists of three singing animated chipmunks: Alvin, the mischievous troublemaker, who quickly became the star of the group; Simon, the tall, bespectacled intellectual; and Theodore, the chubby, impressionable sweetheart. The trio is "managed" by their human "father" and confidant, David Seville. In reality, David Seville was Bagdasarian's stage name, and the Chipmunks themselves are named after the executives of their original record label, Liberty Records: Alvin Bennett (the president), Simon Waronker (the founder and owner), and Theodore Keep (the chief engineer).

The Chipmunks act began with recordings, first brought to life in Bagdasarian's 1950s novelty recordings under the name David Seville and the Chipmunks. For stage purposes, such as The Ed Sullivan Show, Bagdasarian lip-synched the words of "David Seville", in front of a small puppet "theater", with vaguely realistic-looking puppets of the three Chipmunks also "lip-synching", looking similar to the vaguely-realistic looking Chipmunk illustrations on the covers of some of the 45 RPM records. The characters were an unprecedented success, and the singing Chipmunks and their manager were given life in several animated cartoon series, using redrawn, anthropomorphic chipmunks, and eventually motion pictures.

The voices of the group were all performed by Bagdasarian, who sped up the playback to create higher pitched, squeaky voices. This oft-used process was also not entirely new to Bagdasarian, who had also used it for a previous novelty song project, "The Witch Doctor", but it was so unusual and well executed it earned the "trio" two Grammy Awards for engineering.