This was written and produced by Ross Bagdasarian (a.k.a. David Seville). The inspiration came to him from his youngest son, Adam, who had a habit of asking in September if it was Christmas yet. He figured if his son was already asking about the holiday so early, other kids probably were too.
The song went through three versions before Bagdasarian's family gave it the OK. The first version was an instrumental, the third was titled "In A Village Park," and the third and winner was "The Chipmunk Song."
Within three weeks of being released the song had sold over 2.5 million copies, making it the fastest selling record of 1958. It hit #1 on December 22, 1958, and stayed there for 4 weeks. This is the last Christmas song to hit #1 in the US. (thanks, Jeff - Boston, MA, for above 3)
The Chipmunks were called Alvin, Simon and Theodore. They were named after Liberty Record's president Al Bennett, owner Si Warnoker and the engineer on duty when it was recorded, Ted Keep.
Prior to recording this, David Seville also had a #1 hit called "Witch Doctor
," where he used the pitched up vocal technique, but only for one voice. (thanks, John - Los Angeles, CA, for above 2)
The Chipmunks had their own cartoon in the early 1960's and again in the mid-1980s. Seville died of a heart attack in 1972, and in 1979, his son Ross Bagdasarian Jr. assumed control of The Chipmunks with him doing the voices of David Seville, Alvin, and Simon, while Ross Jr's wife Janice Klarman did the voice for Theodore. (thanks, Jordan Elliott Kamni - Los Angeles, CA)
A remixed version of this song returned to the American Hot 100 in the first chart of 2008 after a gap of 45 years, thanks to the box office success of the film Alvin And The Chipmunks.
Random trivia: Ross Bagdasarian can be seen playing the piano as a struggling composer in the Alfred Hitchcock movie classic Rear Window starring Jimmy Stewart and Grace Kelly. (thanks, Terry - Willmar, MN)