Alvin and the Chipmunks, originally David Seville and the Chipmunks or simply The Chipmunks, are an American animated virtual band and media franchise first created by Ross Bagdasarian for novelty records in 1958. The group consists of three singing animated anthropomorphic chipmunks named Alvin, Simon, and Theodore who are originally managed by their human adoptive father, David “Dave” Seville.
Bagdasarian provided the group’s voices by producing sped-up recordings of his own, a technique pioneered on the successful “Witch Doctor”. Later in 1957 Bagdasarian released the similarly-engineered “The Chipmunk Song” for which he came up with the chipmunk characters and their human father, attributing the track to them. David Seville and the Chipmunks released several more records over the following decade until Bagdasarian’s death in 1972. The franchise was revived in 1979 with the characters’ voices provided by his son Ross Bagdasarian Jr. and the latter’s wife Janice Karman.
Through the successful franchise, the Chipmunks have become one of the most successful children’s artists of all time. It has garnered two number-one singles on the Billboard Hot 100 and won five Grammy Awards, having four Top 10 albums on the Billboard 200 and three certified platinum albums. “The Chipmunk Song” became one of the best-selling singles of all time at 5 million physical copies sold.
The Chipmunks were first depicted in animated form in The Alvin Show (1961). The characters have since featured in several television series and films, as well as other media. In 2019, The Chipmunks received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.