The Nutty Squirrels

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The Nutty Squirrels
Also known asShirley & Squirrely
GenresJazz, pop
Years active1959–1964
LabelsHanover, RCA
Past membersDon Elliott
Alexander "Sascha" Burland

The Nutty Squirrels were a jazz virtual band formed in imitation of Alvin and the Chipmunks. The Nutty Squirrels' music was characterized by their use of scat singing. They had a Top 40 hit in late 1959 with the song "Uh-oh". The Squirrels preceded the Chipmunks on television in an animated cartoon but had less success, as the band only lasted from 1959 to 1964.

The group's first two albums, The Nutty Squirrels and Bird Watching, were released in 1959. The Nutty Squirrels' final album, The Nutty Squirrels Sing A Hard Day's Night and Other Smashes, marked a stylistic change from their first two albums, featuring covers of the Beatles songs, and was closer to the novelty pop style of the Chipmunks.

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 Granville "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 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

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" N/A
1963 "Hello Again"

References[edit]

External links[edit]