DEAR JERRY: I know from pleasant, giddy memories that there was much more to Ross Bagdasarian (a.k.a. David Seville) than just the Chipmunks.
For example, I remember playing both sides of one particular record of his about a jillion times. I think the title is either “KOS” or “KYOS Radio.”
It was a great sendup of Top 40 radio of the late '50s era and I just loved it. Not really a song, it is a very well done comedy skit.
I have been unable to find this hilarious recording in any format. Do you know of it being on a CD?
Chris Wing, Austin, Texas
DEAR CHRIS: Since this is a parody of Top 40 radio, it's easy to understand how call letters like KOS or KYOS linger in your giddy memory.
Both are phonetically indistinguishable from the true title, which is “Chaos Part 1,” backed with “Chaos Part 2” (Liberty 55197).
During the recording, the make-believe station is identified by both the dee jay and his jingle singers as K-O-S (the letters) and Chaos (the word), but in searching for it you'd have to use “Chaos.”
Being on Liberty, the same label as Bagdasarian, Seville, and the Chipmunks, plus an artist credit reading only Arbogast & Ross, it is clear why one might think it involves Ross Bagdasarian.
There is, however, no direct connection.
The pair behind the witty “Chaos” is Bob Arbogast, a Los Angeles dee jay who later provided voices for countless commercials and cartoons, and Stan Ross, a studio engineer and co-founder of the legendary Gold Star Studios.
Though not on “Chaos, the paths of Stan Ross and Ross Bagdasarian did cross on several occasions.
Using the stage name David Seville, Bagdasarian and the Gold Star team created the Chipmunks sound. Most of Seville's non-rodent hits, such as “Witch Doctor” and “Armen's Theme,” were also conceptualized at Gold Star and then recorded at Liberty.
I have not seen a CD with “Chaos,” but the original single can often be found on eBay (two copies are there as I write this). Usually, the asking price is under $10.
As one who spent 14 years in radio including a stint at the real KYOS (Merced, California) I'd rank “Chaos,” and of course George Carlin's “Wonderful WINO” (1967), as two of the funniest dee jay spoofs.
DEAR JERRY: Much has been written about the late songwriter Sharon Sheeley, especially regarding her being a big success in what was in the '50s a male-dominated field.
Also noted is how when one of her songs, Ricky Nelson's “Poor Little Fool,” topped the charts it made Sheeley, then 18, the youngest female ever to write a No. 1 hit.
But one item in her obituary puzzles me.
They say “Poor Little Fool” is the first No. 1 song on the Billboard Hot 100.
Since many earlier records made No. 1, is the point merely that before “Poor Little Fool,” the charts listed fewer than a hundred?
There's got to be a catch somewhere in this statement.
Jillian Ames, Evansville, Ind.
DEAR JILLIAN: There is, though not regarding the number of chart positions. Billboard began listing 100 hits in November of 1955.
On August 4, 1958, when Sharon and Ricky's “Poor Little Fool” moved from No. 2 to No. 1, Billboard simply changed the name of their primary chart from Top 100 to Hot 100.
Rather than an individual accomplishment of any kind, this serendipitious occurrence is significant only as a trivia tidbit.
IZ ZAT SO? Stan Ross and Dave Gold operated Gold Star Studios from 1950 to 1984, during which time they created an amazing string of hit recordings with total sales in the tens of millions.
Besides David Seville and the Chipmunks, some others to record at Gold Star are: Eddie Cochran; Sonny & Cher; Miss Toni Fisher; Patience & Prudence; Ritchie Valens; Brian Wilson; Buffalo Springfield; Duane Eddy; Jimi Hendrix; Neil Young; Dick Dale; Iron Butterfly; Herb Alpert & the Tijuana Brass; and all of the artists produced by Phil Spector.
It is quite likely, every second of every day, someone somewhere is listening to a Gold Star recording.