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The Archies were the group that performed on the Saturday morning cartoon Archie
. The group itself was never seen, just the cartoon characters. The song was written by Andy Kim and Jeff Barry, and was performed by session musicians including Kim, Toni Wine, Ron Dante and Ellie Greenwich. Kim had a hit in 1974 with "Rock Me Gently," Dante produced "Mandy
" for Barry Manilow and "Heartbreaker" for Pat Benatar. Greenwich has written many famous songs, including "Be My Baby" and "Chapel Of Love." Toni Wine wrote the hit songs "A Groovy Kind Of Love
" and "Candida
The Archies group was put together by Don Kirshner, a prolific promoter and producer. Kirshner also created The Monkees, and wanted to do the same thing with cartoon characters because they are much easier to work with than people. "Sugar, Sugar" was offered to The Monkees, but they turned it down.
In our interview with Toni Wine
, she explained: "It just was a very easy session. Donnie Kirshner wanted to bring The Archies to life, which he did. And Jeff Barry was going to produce this fictitious animated group called The Archies. We went into the studio. Jeff and Andy Kim, who had hits on his own as a writer and singer, Jeff and Andy wrote 'Sugar, Sugar,' Ronnie was Archie, and I was Betty and Veronica. We went in, we did the record. It was a fun session, it was a blast, and at the session we just knew that this was something, and something huge was going to happen. We didn't really know how huge, but it was huge. In fact, a friend of mine had been in town, Ray Stevens, who's an incredible songwriter, singer, producer, musician, and we were going to just grab a bite to eat, so I told him to meet me at the studio, pick me up, and then we'll go eat. And he wound up handclapping on 'Sugar, Sugar.'"
This was the #1 song of 1969 in the US. It beat out songs by The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, The Jackson 5, Elvis Presley, David Bowie, and Stevie Wonder. It was also a huge hit in the UK, where it stayed at #1 for 8 weeks.
Wilson Pickett recorded an R&B version the next year, which gave the song some credibility.
The Songfacts staff wondered if the lyrics contained some sexual innuendo. Toni Wine set us straight: "'Give me some sugar' is a very old-fashioned saying. It can refer to people kissing each other, that's sugar. Dogs licking you, that's 'Gimme some sugar.' Sugar is just a form of love."
A degree of mystery surrounded the identity of The Archies as this song rose up the charts. Says Wine, "It was a secret who we were. In fact, the New Year's Eve countdown of trivia, for years one of the questions would be 'What group never appeared together, never went on the road together, never interviewed together, as the group, and had a #1 song?' and people wouldn't get it. It was hilarious. But Ronnie and I, in the last few years we've actually done 3 performances as The Archies. We didn't do it for 30-some-odd years, but in the last 3 years we did for the MDA, the Jerry Lewis Telethon, which of course Tony Orlando hosts out of New York, and has been hosting since day one. It was very, very cool. And we also did it when I did a one-woman show at Genghis Cohen in West Hollywood. And then about a month ago (2007) we did a special part for David Gest. And we did it there. It was a hoot."
Some of the artists who have covered this song include: Ike and Tina Turner, Tom Jones, and Bob Marley. Andy Kim recorded his own version in 1980 under the name "Baron Longfellow."
Ron Dante also sang lead on the novelty song "Leader Of The Laundromat" by the Detergents, and was the voice of The Cuff Links, who had the hit "Tracy
." (thanks, Neil - Skokie, IL)
In 1999, a CD called The Very Best of The Archies was released with two extended remixes of this song. In 1987, a 12" single with the "Candyfloss" remix was released. (thanks, Tom - San Francisco, CA)
The line, "Pour a little sugar on me, baby" inspired the title for the 1987 Def Leppard hit "Pour Some Sugar On Me
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