Rostom Sipan Bagdasarian (January 27, 1919 – January 16, 1972) was an American pianist, singer, songwriter, actor and record producer. In his professional life, he was better known by the stage name David Seville, which he used on his recordings featuring Alvin and the Chipmunks.
Bagdasarian was of Armenian descent. As a young man, Bagdasarian was in the Broadway cast of The Time of Your Life, written by his famous cousin, William Saroyan. Bagdasarian's first musical success was the song he wrote with Saroyan, "Come on-a My House," sung by Rosemary Clooney. The lyrics are based on dialogue from Saroyan's novel The Human Comedy. They wrote the song on the post-Broadway tour bus of The Time of Your Life.
Bagdasarian had a moderate hit in 1956 under the name Alfi and Harry with the novelty record "The Trouble With Harry," a song with the same title as the then-recent Alfred Hitchcock comedy-thriller movie. According to his son, Ross Bagdasarian, Jr., they were down to their last $200. Bagdasarian spent $190 on a V-M tape recorder that would allow him to change tape speeds. As David Seville, Bagdasarian had another number-one record with his song, "Witch Doctor," which was also his first experiment with speeding an audio track to get the distinctive, comical, squeaky, high-pitched voices. That success led to him to record "The Bird on My Head", then "The Chipmunk Song (Christmas Don't Be Late)" with The Chipmunks, for which he won two Grammy Awards in 1959: Best Comedy Performance and Best Recording for Children.