Friday, December 16, 2011

Accidental Kidsongs: I Want to Hold Your Hand(s)

The Chipmunks: I Want to Hold Your Hand


The Beatles: I Want to Hold Your Hand


My introduction to “grown up” music was served up by Alvin and the Chipmunks. Capitalizing on the success of a seasonal novelty record, “The Chipmunk Song (The Christmas Song)”, Ross Bagdasarian (a musician and actor who can be seen playing the cool jazz guy in Hitchcock’s classic “Rear Window”), working under the nom de plume “David Seville,” recorded a series of Chipmunks albums in the 1960s. By the time I was six years old, my record collection included two Chipmunk albums: first “Chipmunks a Go Go” and then “The Chipmunks Sing the Beatles.” Until then, all the records I'd been given featured kiddie songs or storybook adaptations. And, in fact, many of the songs on “A Go Go” sounded like they were written for the elementary school crowd – “Sunshine, Lollipops and Rain,” “What’s New Pussycat?” and “Mrs. Brown You’ve Got a Lovely Daughter” among them. I preferred the music on “Sing the Beatles,” but little did I know I was listening to the same songs my babysitters were, albeit with the vocals sped up. I figured these “Beatles” the album cover referred to were members of another cartoon animal singing group. Even after learning the Beatles and the Chipmunks were not on the same artistic plain, it didn’t register that “I Want To Hold Your Hand” wasn’t meant for children.

Knowing they had been one-upped Alvin and the lads always kept me from thinking of the Beatles as being too subversive.

Guest post by Mt Vernon Mike

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