Sugar, Sugar

Album: Everything's Archie (1969)
Charted: 1 1
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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 and Barry, who were married from 1962-1965, wrote many famous songs, including "Be My Baby" and "Chapel Of Love"; Toni Wine wrote the hit songs "A Groovy Kind Of Love" and "Candida."
  • According to Jeff Barry, he and Andy Kim wrote this song with preschoolers in mind since that was the audience for the Archie TV show (Barry had children aged 3 and 4 at the time). The "You are my candy girl" line came from them thinking about what kids that age like (candy!).

    Still, they wanted the song to appeal to adults as well, so they included a line with some weight: "I just can't believe the loveliness of loving you."
  • 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, according to Billboard's year-end chart, beating out songs by The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, The Jackson 5, Elvis Presley, David Bowie, and Stevie Wonder. It logged more weeks on the Hot 100 (22) than any other song that year. "Sugar, Sugar" was also a huge hit in the UK, where it stayed at #1 for eight weeks.
  • 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.
  • In a Songfacts interview with Andy Kim, he said: "It wasn't written for anything other than to satisfy a Saturday morning animated show. 'Sugar, Sugar' was one of those songs that I kept humming. I kept loving it. It would not leave me. And with the magical mind of Jeff Barry, a great record was made. There was no time to analyze and to pontificate and to see if it made any sense. The writing and the recording and the euphoria of being part of it just excited me."
  • Wilson Pickett recorded an R&B version in 1970, which gave the song some adult 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 three performances as The Archies. We didn't do it for 30-some-odd years, but in the last three 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."
  • The song met with resistance at radio stations, which didn't want to play a cartoon band. According to Andy Kim, Don Kirshner hired an experienced promotion man to work the stations. His tactic was to visit the stations, play the song for the program directors, but not reveal the artist until they agreed to play it. In some cases, he could only get them to play it once, but that was all he needed because the phones would light up. Said Kim: "That was the best part of being in the music world then - you really had such an active audience response to what they hear. And you didn't have that many choices. So, if the audience loves it, you play it. And that started what became a wildfire all across this planet. When I toured, no matter where I was, I'd start the song and everyone would sing along."
  • According to Ron Dante, this is the personnel on "Sugar, Sugar":

    Guitar: Dave Appell, Sal DiTroia, Andy Kim
    Keyboards: Ron Frangipane
    Bass: Joe Mack - bass
    Drums: Gary Chester - drums
    Hand claps: Toni Wine, Jeff Barry, Ray Stevens
  • 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 wasn't the first Archies song. The "group" released several singles in 1968, including "Bang-Shang-A-Lang," written by Jeff Barry, which went to #22. The follow-up to "Sugar, Sugar" was "Jingle Jangle," which reached #10 and went Gold.
  • This knocked "Honky Tonk Women" by the Rolling Stones out of the US #1 spot.
  • You might read about how Lou Reed said he wished he'd written this song. This is true. It happened in a 1973 interview with the famed music journalist Lester Bangs, who was goading Reed, mockingly asking him if he could give up the artsy stuff and write something banal... like "Sugar, Sugar." Reed answered, with apparent sincerity, "I would if I could... I wish I'd written it."
  • 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." >>
    Suggestion credit:
    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. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    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."
  • This song is often labeled as "Bubblegum," lumped in with jaunty, kid-friendly tunes of the era like "Yummy Yummy Yummy" and "Simon Says." This doesn't sit well with the song's co-writer, Andy Kim, who feels that if "Sugar, Sugar" is bubblegum, than so is "Tutti Frutti" and "I Want To Hold Your Hand."
  • A dance version by Olivia Newton-John appears in the 2011 movie A Few Best Men, where she plays the mother of the bride.

Comments: 37

  • Seventh Mist from 7th Heaven The backstory about how this song came to be has always made me laugh. The Monkees (especially Mike Nesmith) got tired of Kirshner manipulating them like a group of children, so they helped force him out at Screen Gems. He then fabricated a new group that made a ton of money, yet would never challenge him, because they didn't actually exist! No denying that the guy was a marketing genius, but the pushback from the Monkees led to a fun song like this. I still have the Archie comic book containing the story of how Kirshner (aka "the Man with the Golden Ear"), who appears in it, agrees to manage the group.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyFifty years ago today on September 14th, 1969 "Sugar, Sugar" by the Archies peaked at #1 on Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart, it spent a total of four weeks at #1...
    "Sugar, Sugar" prevented two records from reaching #1, during it's second week at #1, the #2 record was "Green River" by Creedence Clearwater Revival, and for it's 3rd and 4th weeks in the top spot, "Jean" by Oliver was at #2 for both weeks, position #2 was the peak position for both "Green River" and "Jean"...
    And from the 'For What It's Worth' department; the Billboard's Top 10 for fifty years ago today was:
    At #1. SUGAR, SUGAR by The Archies
    #2. HONKY TONK WOMEN by The Rolling Stones
    #3. GREEN RIVER by Creedence Clearwater Revival
    #4. A BOY NAMED SUE by Johnny Cash
    #5. EASY TO BE HARD by Three Dog Night
    #6. I’LL NEVER FALL IN LOVE AGAIN by Tom Jones
    #7. GET TOGETHER by The Youngbloods
    #8. JEAN by Oliver
    #9. LITTLE WOMAN by Bobby Sherman
    #10. I CAN’T GET NEXT TO YOU by The Temptations...
  • Henry from Orlando, Fl UsaIt's interesting to point out that Sugar, Sugar did not appear on any of the original 17 episodes of the cartoon "The Archies Show". Actually, only ONE of their singles, Bang Shang-A-Lang, appeared on any of the original 17 episodes (Episode 1). The b-side of Bang-Shang-A-Lang, Truck Driver, also appeared on one of the original 17 episodes (Episode 3). The only other song from any Archies singles to appear on the 17 episodes was Love Light (Episode 12) which was the b-side of Feelin' So Good (S.K.O.O.B.Y.-D.O.O.).
  • Tom from San FranciscoNot only was "Sugar, Sugar" NOT ever offered to The Monkees, there was no guarantee that it would have been a worldwide phenomenon. Obviously the singing and production would have been different than The Archies production was.
  • Tom from San FranciscoWhat kind of idiotic remark is this? "Wilson Pickett recorded an R&B version the next year, which gave the song some credibility." The song is plenty credible. Wilson Pickett made a different version of the song, but the definitive version belongs to The Archies.

    Also, "Sugar, Sugar" was NEVER offered to The Monkees. I heard from Ron Dante himself who said so.
  • Babbling Babette from Tulsa OkI love the tempo of this hit song. It's a kind of moderately slow, sexy tempo. Oooo! Is it hot in here, or just me??!! Mercy!!
  • Marcus T. from Austin, TxAlso, for the record, I'm not a big fan of "Tracey", "Claire", "Billy Don't Be a Hero" or "Yummy, Yummy, Yummy, I Got Love In My Tummy"!
  • Marcus T. from Austin, TxI was a budding 13yr old going on 70, entering Jr. High school in 1969 and this song for me was THE representative piece commercial crap that stood for all the bad things about mainstream pop culture and the media money machine! No longer were we singing about love, "Revolution" and an end to war, now it was the soundtrack to a !;@#ing cartoon! And it was being "pushed" on unsuspecting CHILDREN through the infernal "Boob Tube" and subsequently. the radio waves.! A situation made only more pathetic, when Wilson Pickett had to pander to the changing public taste by covering it. (Let's not forget Pickett also covered the Beatles' "Hey Jude"{actually a good cover!}, in an effort to be relevant a year earlier!) Such calculated mind control of youth on the part of the capitalist media moguls!... It goes without saying that I considered it very,very uncool at the time! Of course, also trying to come of age, I hated any and all references to "kid stuff" like "Saturday morning cartoons" which, of course was this song's spawn! ...I had conveniently neglected to acknowledge to myself that I had been the viewership/listenership that had lapped-up The Beatles cartoons only 3 years earlier! Uh, well, uh, I still don't like song!
  • Sudschick from Las Vegas, NvMy 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!
  • Ken from Pittsburgh, PaI 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.
  • Rick from Belfast, MeI 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
  • Daniel Adams from Northumberland, PaThis is a very good song for a very underrated band.
  • David from San Antonio, TaiwanIf 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.
  • Nathalie from Vars, OnAndrew Youakim aka Andy Kim, was actually Canadian and hailed from Montréal.
  • Megan from Toronto, OnI loooove the Wilson Pickett version of this song.
  • Paul from Washington Dc, DcI 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?
  • Don from B G, KyYoutube 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
  • Lucy from Rhinebeck, NyThis is a cute song. I love it.
  • Mike from Escondido, CaStupid 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.
  • Arsenio from San Antonio, TxThis 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!)
  • Musicmama from New York, NyOf 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
  • Tom from San Francisco, CaAndy 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.
  • Frank from Haverstraw, NyLove 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 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.
  • Gary from Rockland, NyGary Chester was the drummer on this track.
  • Benn from Arcola, IlA 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.
  • Teresa from Mechelen, BelgiumA 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..."
  • Donald from El Dorado, ArI 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.
  • Chris from Sydney, AustraliaAndy 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.
  • Clarke from Pittsburgh, PaThe 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.
  • Martin from Copenhagen, DenmarkWell 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.
  • Jammie from Deckerville, MiThis song gave Def Lepperd their idea for the song "Pour some sugar on me". THis is a good song. I like it.
  • Melanie from Gatineau, Canadathis song is on the movie "now and then"with demi moore and melanie griffeth.
  • Simon from Newcastle, Englandhes not adrift on the walkman, he listens to the song on it :-p
  • Simon from Newcastle, Englandhomer simpson sings this when he is adrift at sea on todd flanders' walkman.
  • Steve from San Jose, CaRon Dante was at one time a pa
    rtner with Barry Manilow.
  • Micheal from Columbia, MdActually, I did some research "Tracy" and Sugar , Sugar" were in the Top Five in the same week of 1969!
    Michael O. Columbia, MD
  • Micheal from Columbia, MdI 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!
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