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Sugar, Sugar

by

The Archies



Songfacts®:  You can leave comments about the song at the bottom of the page.

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."
This knocked "Honky Tonk Women" by the Rolling Stones out of the US #1 spot.
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."
Olivia Newton-John recorded a dance version of this song for the 2012 movie soundtrack CD A Few Best Men. (thanks, James - Minneapolis, MN)
The Archies
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Comments (29):

My friend Harry Amanatian told me that he was one of the studio musicians on this record as guitarist. Although he is a fantastic musician, I didn't believe him completely until I once came across a book called 'The History Of Rock N roll) or 'Rock and Roll'. Under the listing for this song was an unmistakable photo of HARRY AMANATIAN! I moved and lost the book and have never been able to find it again. If anyone knows where I can find this book, please e-mail me at Sudschick at hotmail dot com. Many thanks!
- Sudschick, Las Vegas, NV
I love how people read a bunch of BS into a song lyric and act like it's gospel truth. "Don't you know? This song is about drugs!" "Don't you know that 'sugar' is a reference to heroin (pot, cocaine, pixie dust, graham crackers)?" Maybe the song is about some of those things (or none), but the beauty of music (art, creativity) is that it can mean something personal to each listener no matter the artists intention.
- Ken, Pittsburgh, PA
I was in the 6th grade when this song came out.......some called it "bubble gum" music....but it has stood the test of time and rivals some of the biggest rock hits of all time......not too bad I would say.....rock on Archies
- Rick, Belfast, ME
This is a very good song for a very underrated band.
- Daniel Adams, Northumberland, PA
If I recall correctly, the Archies television episode that first featured the song "Sugar Sugar" was the same episode that introduced Sabrina the Teenage Witch. That was around 1969, just before Sabrina got her own cartoon show.
- david, san antonio, Taiwan
Andrew Youakim aka Andy Kim, was actually Canadian and hailed from Montréal.
- Nathalie, Vars, ON
I loooove the Wilson Pickett version of this song.
- Megan, Toronto, ON
I guess every little kid back in '69 had a copy of this on 45, including me. Decades later, it still makes us all smile and feel happy. Now for an anecdote that might not thrill everybody to death: In the '90's I was assistant manager at a popular Gay nightclub here in DC called The Green Lantern. One evening, the DJ played it while , on the video monitors, he showed a hardcore scene from a gay porno film. The older guys in the crowd roared; they loved the juxtaposition. So much for the sanctity of childhood innocence, huh?
- Paul, Washington DC, DC
Youtube has TRACY as sung by RON DANTE on it's site. I, too, could not tell that it is the same guy who sang SUGAR, SUGAR. So the public is not so far off
- Don, B G, KY
This is a cute song. I love it.
- Lucy, Rhinebeck, NY
Stupid Bubble Gum at its best! I love it! It is such a guilty pleasure. It was such a contrast to all the protest songs and thought provoking music of the late sixties. This was a nice dessert after a meal of Dylan, the Stones and the post Sgt. Pepper Beatles.
- Mike, Escondido, CA
This is a great song: actually, it is a very dumb song but was recorded very well and, to me, the keyboards gave it that laid back, almost reggae feel that gave a very "white song" some color and spice. Not much, but just enough for the cool kids of the time (US!)
- arsenio, San Antonio, TX
Of course everybody knows this is a song about drug use. Back in 1969, "sugar" was a street term for cocaine, and "honey" meant pot. You guys all really mean to tell me you didn't know that? I guess you're too young to know these things. And Jammie in Deckerville, MI,don't you realize that "Pour Sugar On Me" is a reference to LSD, which was taken in sugar cubes. It's NOT a kinky sexual reference like everyone else probably thinks it is. You see, in Freudian criticism, literature and art are always about sex, but music is always about drugs. LOL
- MusicMama, New York, NY
Andy Kim, who co-wrote "Sugar Sugar" with Songwriters Hall of Famer Jeff Barry, confirmed that contrary to popular belief, this song was never offered to The Monkees. It was always intended for The Archies.
- Tom, San Francisco, CA
Love this song. I had Andy Kim sign my old Calendar 45 a few years back. Cool guy. I thought the hooks charm was more about the way Ron says aaahhhh sugar...like you thought he might say ahhh shi t, which is a metophor in itself. The rhythmic siblance of "like the summer sunshine pour your sweetness over me" is wonderful. It's like a hi-hat thing.

I believe we have:
Ron Frangipane on keyboard
Chuck Rainey on Bass
Gary Chester on Drums
Dave Appell on Guitar,
Ron Dante on Lead Vocals
and Toni Weinstein on Background Vocals.
- Frank, Haverstraw, NY
Gary Chester was the drummer on this track.
- Gary, Rockland, NY
A correction here, but Don Kirshner did *not* create the Monkees. He was, instead, their musical coordinator. He picked the songs they would record and who played on them and who produced the records. The Monkees were, in fact, created by Bert Schneider and Bob Rafelson.
- Benn, Arcola, IL
A super good song, a great hit, but I thought the girl's voice was Toni Wine. I read it somewhere on Internet, anyway for me it's a song that I always like to hear again. "Sugar, ah honey honey..."
- Teresa, Mechelen, Belgium
I was an Archie's fan, when I was a small child. Sugar Sugar was one of the records I had. I also had the album Everything's Archie. Sugar Sugar was one of the songs, on this album. It was a clean cartoon. I likewise purchased Archie comic books, when I was little. Jingle Jangle was another one of their popular songs.
- Donald, El Dorado, AR
Andy Kim, who wrote the song, didn't do live appearances. I read on a liner note that it was because he thought people would be expecting some kind of surfie guy. What they would get was a guy who was 6ft4 and of Lebanese decent.
- Chris, Sydney, Australia
The first song I can recall becoming sick of due to hearing it so much on the radio. Number One song of the year (1969) on KQV, Pittsburgh.
- Clarke, Pittsburgh, PA
Well Michael, it depends on which charts you compare, because I found that on Billboard "Sugar, sugar" peaked at nr 1 on 8/1669, but "Tracy" peaked on nr 9 on 10/4/69.
- Martin, Copenhagen, Denmark
This song gave Def Lepperd their idea for the song "Pour some sugar on me". THis is a good song. I like it.
- Jammie, Deckerville, MI
this song is on the movie "now and then"with demi moore and melanie griffeth.
- melanie, gatineau, Canada
hes not adrift on the walkman, he listens to the song on it :-p
- simon, newcastle, England
homer simpson sings this when he is adrift at sea on todd flanders' walkman.
- simon, newcastle, England
Ron Dante was at one time a pa
rtner with Barry Manilow.
- Steve, San Jose, CA
Actually, I did some research "Tracy" and Sugar , Sugar" were in the Top Five in the same week of 1969!
Michael O. Columbia, MD
- Micheal, Columbia, MD
I believe (check this out, guys) that Ron Dante was in the Top Ten in 1969 at the same time with "Tracy" and Sugar, Sugar" and nobody realized that it was the same guy on vocals!
- Micheal, Columbia, MD
You have to to post comments.
Max Cavalera of Soulfly (ex-Sepultura)Max Cavalera of Soulfly (ex-Sepultura)
The Brazilian rocker sees pictures in his riffs. When he came up with one of his gnarliest songs, there was a riot going on.
Francesca BattistelliFrancesca Battistelli
The 2011 Artist of the Year at the Dove Awards isn't your typical gospel diva, and she thinks that's a good thing.
They Might Be GiantsThey Might Be Giants
Who writes a song about a name they found in a phone book? That's just one of the everyday things these guys find to sing about. Anything in their field of vision or general scope of knowledge is fair game. If you cross paths with them, so are you.
Jackie DeShannon - "Put a Little Love in Your Heart"Jackie DeShannon - "Put a Little Love in Your Heart"
It wasn't her biggest hit as a songwriter (that would be "Bette Davis Eyes"), but "Put a Little Love in Your Heart" had a family connection for Jackie.