2003 DECEMBER 22 #356
There are an awful lot of Chipmunks knockoffs out there. Here¹s an odd one that I unearthed at a Memphis thrift store some years back.
It¹s obvious why no one wanted to take this dog home for Christmas . . . he has a creepy singing voice and a nasty cough. Fortunately for him, he also has sufficient sense to stifle his truly terrifying laugh until he¹s been safely presented to the kids on Christmas day. Horrifying dog aside, the arranger did a fine job of aping David Seville/Ross Bagdasarian's baritone-sax-powered music style.
For the several years I've had this record, it never occurred to me to investigate the names found on the label Now I'm curating a day on the 365 Days Project, so I have a responsibility to the public. And a bit of searching on the net has turned up disquieting evidence that the brains behind this release are guys of some significance in the West Coast record industry.
Songwriter/producer Marty Cooper co-wrote several songs with Jack Nitzsche (including "The Lonely Surfer"), co-wrote the Marathons' classic "Peanut Butter," and was Tico of Tico and the Triumphs, whose membership also included a young Paul Simon. He was also an A&R guy at RCA Victor for a time, and was at least somewhat responsible for an LP by a group called The Marty Cooper Clan, which by all reports was one of the most dreadful things RCA Victor ever released. http://www.spaceagepop.com/rcmartycooper.htm
The other songwriter was an even bigger guy in the biz, and not just because he was responsible for (and the voices of) another Chipmunk-style Christmas act, Dancer Prancer and Nervous, who had a top-40 hit on Capitol in 1959 with "The Happy Reindeer." Nope, Mr. Russ Regan worked his way up through the promotion ranks of various record labels (including Motown in its early days) to eventually become the President of UNI, and then 20th Century Fox Records. He gets credit for signing Elton John, Neil Diamond, and Barry White among others. Earlier in his career, he suggested to a local band called the Pendletones that they might do better if they changed their name to the Beach Boys. He was right. He also wrote "The Cinnamon Cinder (It's a Very Nice Dance)" for the Pastel Six, which of course makes him a god among songwriters.
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45rpm Single, Holiday Records #1214
(Image courtesy of Narkspud)