The Nutty Squirrels

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The Nutty Squirrels
Also known as Shirley & Squirrely
Genres Jazz, pop
Years active 1959–1981
Labels RCA, GRT
Past members Don Elliott
Alexander "Sascha" Burland

The Nutty Squirrels were a scat singing virtual band, formed in imitation of The Chipmunks, that had a Top 40 hit in late 1959 with the song "Uh-Oh". The Squirrels actually preceded the Chipmunks on television in an animated cartoon, but with much less success.

Biography[edit]

After the Chipmunks' initial success in 1958, plans were almost immediately made to make them into an animated cartoon series. Unfortunately, there were some initial art direction snags (specifically with the character designs) and the show was delayed. This gap resulted in a race between the Chipmunks and an imitative group created by jazz musicians Don Elliott and Alexander "Sascha" Burland, which they called the Nutty Squirrels.

Both musical groups featured the defining sped-up voices, but Ross Bagdasarian, Sr.'s Chipmunks favored popular music while the Squirrels favored jazz, particularly of the bebop variety. Ultimately, the Squirrels made it to television first, in the animated series The Nutty Squirrels Present (appearing in September 1960), but they were not as popular as the originals.

"Uh-Oh (Part 1)" peaked at #45 on the Billboard Pop Singles Chart, while "Uh-Oh (Part 2)" peaked at #14.[1]

In 1976 Bob Milsap resurrected the act, at first with a novelty single based on the current CB citizens band radio craze, "Hey Shirley (This Is Squirrely)", and followed by two albums (one a Christmas release). Due to legal reasons, his version of the creation went credited under the individual character names, Shirley and Squirrely.

In the 2007 live-action/animated movie Alvin and the Chipmunks during the credits Ian Hawke (David Cross) is trying to get three squirrels to sing.

Personnel[edit]

  • Don Elliott: vocals, trumpet, vibraphone, possible other instruments
  • Alexander "Sascha" Burland: vocals

Among the New York based session musicians playing on these albums were Cannonball Adderley,[2] (alto sax), Bobby Jaspar (flute), and Sam Most (clarinet)

Discography[edit]

Albums[edit]

Year Album Label
1959 The Nutty Squirrels Hanover
1961 Bird Watching Columbia
1964 The Nutty Squirrels Sing A Hard Day's Night and Other Smashes MGM
1976 Hey Shirley! The Album (as Shirley & Squirrely) GRT
Christmas with Shirley & Squirrely (and Melvin Too!) (as Shirley & Squirrely)
1981 Shirley, Squirrely and Melvin: Live (as Shirley & Squirrely) Excelsior

Singles[edit]

Year Single Chart Positions Album
US US R&B US Country CAN Country
1959 "Uh! Oh! Part 1" 45 The Nutty Squirrels
"Uh! Oh! Part 2" 14 9
1960 "Eager Beaver"
"Uh-Huh + 3"
"Please Don't Take Our Tree for Christmas" singles only
1963 "Hello Again"
1976 "Hey Shirley (This Is Squirrely)" (as Shirley & Squirrely) 48 28 15 Hey Shirley! The Album
"A Squirrely Christmas" (as Shirley & Squirrely) Christmas with Shirley & Squirrely (and Melvin Too!)

References[edit]

External links[edit]