Chipmunk Punk is a new wave music album by the Chipmunks, as well as being the first album released by Ross Bagdasarian, Jr., after he took over the voices of the Chipmunks after the death of his father in 1972. Despite the title of the album, none of the songs listed are considered to be in the style of real punk rock music. It was released on June 15, 1980 (see 1980 in music). The album peaked at #34 on the Billboard 200. It was certified gold by the RIAA on October 14, 1980, becoming the Chipmunks' first gold record. In 2005, it was re-released on CD, although the CD was only available through the official Chipmunks website.
The inspiration for the album came when KMETDJ Chuck Taylor played the 12" version of the Blondie song "Call Me" at double speed and announced, in jest, that it was the Chipmunks' latest single. So many requests came for this "new" Chipmunks release, that Ross Bagdasarian, Jr. and his collaborator Steve Vining rushed to record this album.
Chipmunk Punk essentially marked the rebirth of the Chipmunk franchise. It was the first new Chipmunk release since 1969's The Chipmunks Go To The Movies. Chipmunk creator/producer Ross Bagdasarian Sr. (also known as David Seville), who also provided the voices for the characters, died of a heart attack in 1972, bringing all Chipmunk activity to an abrupt halt.
Though this release followed a long dormancy record-wise, the characters had returned to public view via Saturday morning repeats of the cartoon series The Alvin Show on NBC in 1979. The album sparked a second run of the characters and led to another Saturday morning cartoon series, Alvin and the Chipmunks, which began in 1983 and also aired on NBC.
Upon this release, the album met mixed critical reviews. Allmusic gives it three out of five stars, calling it "good clean fun" which "If nothing else...provides a portrait of a prime period in radio," but Rolling Stone roundly panned it, describing the album as a symptom of corporate greed in the world of television animation.