2 August 2004
Me, I want a Hula Hoop
In the Seventies, I found myself with entirely too much free time and a four-track tape recorder. Enlisting the aid of family members to figure out what sort of trouble we could get into with this combination, we hit upon the absurd notion of copying phonograph records to tape, replaying the tape at a slower speed and overdubbing our voices, then playing the tape at its proper speed and listening to the weird rodent noises we produced.
Which, of course, is how the late Ross Bagdasarian created the Chipmunks way back in 1958. Issued on Liberty 55168, "The Chipmunk Song (Christmas Don't Be Late)" sold about four million copies, and was reissued yearly, continuing to chart as late as 1962.
Smartasses like me, of course, continued to screw around with the concept, and it was inevitable that it would be at some point deconstructed: Sean's Said the Gramophone blog is offering a 4:43 slowed version of TCS the single was timed at 2:17 which lets you hear each voice Bagdasarian used at more or less its original pitch, "sounding," says Sean, "like an accountant, a hot-dog vendor, and a lunatic." Which describes Simon, Theodore and Alvin rather neatly, come to think of it.
(Via Phil Dennison, who says, "IT IS A MILLION TIMES BETTER THAN ANYTHING ON THE RADIO." What does that say about radio?)