Wednesday, March 26, 2014

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-The Archies

Artist:The Archies
Song:Sugar, Sugar
Album:Sugar, Sugar

Sugar, Sugar topped the charts in 1969. People even scoffed at the song back then because it was in a Saturday morning cartoon and The Archies weren't a real band. But the truth is phony bands were common in those days. All Kasenetz-Katz produced were phony groups. In this case the man behind The Archies was Don Kirshner who was also behind The Monkees. CBS hired Filmation to produce an cartoon series based on the very popular Archie Comics. Filmation produced the 1966 Superman cartoon series. CBS wanted to emulate the success of The Monkees and wanted the Archie gang to have a band. So who better to produce The Archies than Don Kirshner. He hired veteran songwriter and producer Jeff Barry to produce the records. They needed a song for each episode so they had to produce a lot of music. Kirshner wanted session singer Kenny Karen to sing lead. But Barry chose Kirshner staff songwriter Ron Dante. He was lead singer of Leader of the Laundromat by The Detergents. Barry also hired female singer Toni Wine and Canadian Andy Kim. Barry, his wife Ellie Greenwich and Kasenetz-Katz lead singer Joey Levine contributed backup vocals. Musicians included guitarist Hugh McCracken, bassist Chuck Rainey and pianist Ron Frangipane. These guys are all pros. Though the TV show was an immediate hit, the first Archies album didn't do well. The single Bang-Shang-A-Lang only reached #22 on the Billboard Hot 100. So when Kirshner played Sugar, Sugar for radio execs, he wouldn't tell them who recorded it because he thought they would prejudge it. Kirshner was right. They loved the song and Sugar, Sugar topped the charts. The song was written by Barry and Kim. Jingle Jangle was the other top ten hit for The Archies. There were a few more albums but Sugar, Sugar was the high point. You can get all The Archies singles on this CD from the British label Repertoire. Of course Andy Kim went on to a successful solo career. Ron Dante was lead singer on The Cuff Links hit Tracy. After an attempted solo career, he had his biggest success producing Barry Manilow in the 70s and he produced the Broadway musical Ain't Misbehavin'. Here's the video for Sugar, Sugar by The Archies. There is also a clip of Ron Dante performing Sugar, Sugar but he's lip syncing. That cracked me up.

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