Alvin and the Chipmunks

It’s Always About a Girl, Isn’t It?

I think there is a point in everyone’s life where rock music intersects with girls.  Every one I know, including me, has a CD or concert stub that can be explained using the phrase “Well, there was this girl …”  Usually said intersection occurs during adolescence.  Mine happened at the age of seven.

Now, I’m not one of those people who has had important popular music included in every last moment of his life.  I don’t have early childhood memories of my mother playing Led Zeppelin and there’s no story about me listening to John Lennon when I was a zygote.  In fact, my nursery school playlists were more likely to includesongs like “Who Are the People in Your Neighborhood?” and “C is for Cookie,” and my very first exposure to popular music was through Alvin and the Chipmunks.

Released in 1982, Chipmunk Rock is a collection of late 1970s and early 1980s hits as well as a few classics, such as “Leader of the Pack,” with a cover featuring Alvin taking his place among the presidents of Mount Rushmore (a nod to Deep Purple’s In Rock album) and the jacket opened up to show the group in situations that reflected the song titles.  My personal favorite of all of the tracks on the LP was the Pat Benatar hit “Heartbreaker.”  There’s something about a chipmunk shredding a guitar solo that pumps the adrenaline of a second grader.  Combine that with Rick Springfield’s “Jessie’s Girl” and Kim Carnes’ “Bette Davis Eyes” and I, as well as any kid my age back then, was ready to strap on a guitar, throw on a headband, and freaking wail.