The Phono Project

Exploring the history of the groove

“Alvin’s Harmonica” by Ross Bagdasarian


The song, “Alvin’s Harmonica” was released as the second single on the groups album known as, Let’s All Sing with the Chipmunks in 1958. All three of the voices are of the chipmunks are created and performed by Ross Bagdasarian, who also plays the character David Seville, the only human voice throughout the song. The song begins with the lead chipmunk, Alvin playing his harmonica, when David comes and demands that Alvin stop playing the instrument and join in the song with the other chipmunks. Bagdasarian did so by speeding up the playback to create a fictional high pitched voices. Thus causing the line, “ALVIN!!!!” to become a part of this track. This famous song reached number three on the Billboard’s Pop Single chart in 1958.

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