♫ Witch Doctor ♫

Every now and then, I like to just have a bit of fun with the music posts here on Filosofa’s Word, and I thought it was about time for a fun oldie … and I do mean oldie … probably older than some of you!  The year was 1958 … I was 7 years old, but I remember it well.

Now … how many of you remember Alvin & the Chipmunks?  They were three adorable animated chipmunks named Alvin (the ringleader), Simon, and Theodore.  Their creator was a man named Ross Bagdasarian who went by the stage name David Seville.

Seville got the vocal effect by recording his voice into a tape recorder that was slowed to half speed and then playing it back at normal speed. Today’s song, Witch Doctor, was his first song to use the technique, and at that point there were no “Chipmunks.” (The squeaky voice was the witch doctor and had no physical form – Seville hadn’t created the characters yet and used his own name for the recording).

Seville was a successful songwriter by the time he released this track as his first single – he had written the Rosemary Clooney hit Come on-a My House and a popular instrumental called Armen’s Theme.

Witch Doctor was a huge hit, going to US #1 in April 1958 and staying for three weeks. Soon after, Seville created three distinct voices and branded his act “The Chipmunks.” Later that year, he released The Chipmunk Song which went to #1 for four weeks and became a Christmas favorite. Alvin And The Chipmunks got their own TV show (The Alvin Show) in 1961, again in 1983 (Alvin and the Chipmunks), and once again in 2015 (ALVINNN!!! and the Chipmunks). Several movies have also appeared, starting with The Chipmunk Adventure in 1987.

This song is the story of a gentleman seeking some help from a witch doctor in order to impress a woman he has fallen in love with. The wise witch doctor offers some words of advice in order to help the gentleman win the woman’s heart by saying, “Oo ee, oo ah ah, ting tang, walla walla bing bang.” It was said to be a call for love.

Seville got the idea for this song from a story called Duel with a Witch Doctor, which was written by Jan de Hartog and published in Reader’s Digest Condensed Books in 1957.  It reached #1 in the U.S. and #11 in the UK.

Witch Doctor

Ross Bagdasarian (aka David Seville)

I told the witch doctor I was in love with you
I told the witch doctor I was in love with you
And then the witch doctor he told me what to do

He said that
Ooo eee ooo ah ah ting tang walla walla bing bang
Ooo eee ooo ah ah ting tang walla walla bing bang
Ooo eee ooo ah ah ting tang walla walla bing bang
Ooo eee ooo ah ah ting tang walla walla bing bang

I told the witch doctor you didn’t love me true
I told the witch doctor you didn’t love me nice
And then the witch doctor he gave me this advice

He said that
Ooo eee ooo ah ah ting tang walla walla bing bang
Ooo eee ooo ah ah ting tang walla walla bing bang
Ooo eee ooo ah ah ting tang walla walla bing bang
Ooo eee ooo ah ah ting tang walla walla bing bang

You’ve been keeping love from me just like you were a miser
And I’ll admit I wasn’t very smart
So I went out and found myself a guy that’s so much wiser
And he taught me the way to win your heart

My friend the witch doctor he taught me what to say
My friend the witch doctor he taught me what to do
I know that you’ll be mine when I say this to you

Ooo eee ooo ah ah ting tang walla walla bing bang
Ooo eee ooo ah ah ting tang walla walla bing bang
Ooo eee ooo ah ah ting tang walla walla bing bang
Ooo eee ooo ah ah ting tang walla walla bing bang

You’ve been keeping love from me just like you were a miser
And I’ll admit I wasn’t very smart
So I went out and found myself a guy that’s so much wiser
And he taught me the way to win your heart

My friend the witch doctor he taught me what to say
My friend the witch doctor he taught me what to do
I know that you’ll be mine when I say this to you

Ooo eee ooo ah ah ting tang walla walla, bing bang
Ooo eee ooo ah ah ting tang walla walla bing bang.
Come on, oo eee ooo ah ah ting tang walla walla bing bang
Ooo eee ooo ah ah ting tang walla walla bing bang

Ooo eee ooo ah ah ting tang walla walla bing bang
Ooo eee ooo ah ah ting tang walla walla bing bang
Ooo eee ooo ah ah ting tang walla walla bing bang
Ooo eee ooo ah ah ting tang walla walla bing bang

Writer/s: ROSS BAGDASARIAN
Lyrics licensed and provided by LyricFind

28 thoughts on “♫ Witch Doctor ♫

    • I bet this is one you’ve never heard before! You should open your windows and play it loud for the neighbors to share the joy! Picture the whole village walking around singing ♫ Ooo eee ooo ah ah ting tang walla walla bing bang ♫ xx

      Like

    • And now I am going craxy. There was one other novelty song I wanted to play for you, but it does not seem to exist. There are references to it online, but apparently the original song, which I do not remember, was The Little Blue Man by Betty Johnson (later covered by Petula Clark, but it isn’t the one I remember either. Different voice! The Johnson original has a different tune from the song in my memory.) The song that was popular in Winnipeg was “The Little Green Man.” I kmow this because a very special girl and I used “little green man” as a code to say “I love you” when we were around her parents, or other disapproving adults. Her parents especially did not like me (I was part indigenous, not good enough for their pure white daughter) so when they would make her feel bad I would just say “little green man” and she would put a smile back on her face.
      So where did “that song go”? As I said, I can google it, and get short items, but it does not exist on YouTube except as a 17 second clip by an amateur singer.
      I cannot feature “The Little Blue Man.” It would be an insult to my past. But you can find in on YouTube. I would listen to the Pet Clark version — it is more poloished.

      Liked by 2 people

  1. You should have taken part in yesterday’s Song Lyric Sunday: the prompt was to share a novelty song! This would have been ideal, amongst all the other crap that got played – including my contribution 🤣

    Liked by 1 person

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