You know them as Alvin and the Chipmunks, but they were originally just one guy. “The Chipmunk Song (Christmas Don’t Be Late)” was written in 1958 by Ross Bagdasarian under the stage name David Seville. Bagdasarian sang and recorded the song at varying tape speeds to produce the high-pitched chipmunk voices.
“The Chipmunk Song (Christmas Don’t Be Late)” was a big hit. According to Songfacts, over 2.5 million copies were sold within three weeks of its release, making it the fastest-selling record of 1958. It reached No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 Pop Singles chart and was the only Christmas song to do so until Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas Is You” topped the chart 61 years later in 2019.
Ross Bagdasarian won three Grammys for “The Chipmunk Song (Christmas Don’t Be Late).” He took home the awards for Best Comedy Performance, Best Children’s Recording, and Best Engineered Record (non-classical). Television came next for the Chipmunks. The video below comes from a 1961 episode of The Alvin Show, which aired on CBS. Alvin really wants that hula-hoop.