On this day in 1969, based on the comic book/TV series Archie and His Friends, The Archies started a four-week run at No.1 on the US singles chart with “Sugar Sugar”. It later became the longest running one hit wonder in the UK after spending eight weeks at the top of the charts.
So as the decade came to an end, 1969 gave us a brilliant diverse mix of chart toppers on both sides of the Atlantic. We had Marvin Gaye with “I Heard It Through the Grapevine”, Sly & the Family Stone’s “Everyday People” (more recently a hit for Arrested), the Beatles (who were in reality no longer together) gave us “Get Back”, “The Ballard Of John & Yoko” (with just John and Paul playing on the record), and the double A-side hit “Come Together/Something” (in my opinion George Harrison’s finest song).
They keep coming. The Rolling Stones had hit a new peak with “Honky Tonk Women”, Elvis sang about his “Suspicious Minds”, and Motown rounded up the end of the decade with two timeless classics: The Temptations’ “I Can’t Get Next To You” and Diana Ross with her Supremes had “Someday We’ll Be Together”.
Come on now, stick all those in your iTunes and make a playlist!
I almost forgot to mention the one hit wonders: Zager and Evans looked into the future with “In the Year 2525”, the 5th Dimension mini epic “Aquarius/Let The Sunshine In”, Tommy Roe went “Dizzy”, and in the UK Jane Birkin and Serge Gainsbourg got into trouble with “Je T’Aime… Moi Non Plus”. The song culminates in orgasm sounds by Serge’s then girlfriend Jane Birkin. Mostly because of this the song was banned from radio and TV across Europe, but it didn’t stop it topping the charts.
So, add all the above to your mix on iTunes, switch to random play, close your eyes, and drift back to 1969…
Hang on! I forgot one. Possibly the best bubble gum song ever, by a group who didn’t even exists. A song which, if you believe the rumours, was turned down by The Monkees, who thought it was too cheesy! Cheesy? You most be joking, this is the sweetest song ever! Yes, I’m taking about that song that spent eight weeks at the top of the charts in the UK, and four in the US — the Archies’ “Sugar Sugar”.
The song was written by Jeff Barry and Andy Kim, who between them have penned so many hits. Canadian born Kim later scored the multi-million selling hit “Rock Me Gently”. Jeff Barry, on the other hand, with his wife Ellie Greenwich became the Lennon and McCartney hit-making team you’ve never heard of. The number of hits these two have had a hand in writing is unbelievable. Try this lot: “Tell Laura I Love Her”, “Da Doo Ron Ron”, “Then He Kissed Me,” “Be My Baby”, “Baby, I Love You”, “Iko Iko”, “Leader of the Pack”, “River Deep, Mountain High”. Barry also produced hits for The Monkees, Neil Diamond, Glen Campbell, and more.
The Archies were the product of a group of studio musicians managed by Don Kirshner. Ron Dante’s lead vocals were accompanied by those of Toni Wine (who sang the line “I’m gonna make your life so sweet”) and Andy Kim. Together they provided the voices of the Archies using multitracking.
“Sugar Sugar” was the follow-up to “Bang-Shang-a-Lang,” which none of us remember. When “Sugar Sugar” was initially released, Kirshner had promotion men play it for radio station execs without telling them the name of the group and only after most of the DJs liked the song were they told that it was performed by a cartoon group.
I’ll leave you with some trivia:
“Sugar, Sugar” is also considered to be the most produced recording ever after the Post Cereal company placed millions of the records on the back of their Super Sugar Crisp cereal boxes.
The song lists at #63 on Billboard’s Greatest Songs of All Time.
Former President George W. Bush has said “Sugar, Sugar” is one of his favorite songs. The song played in Jenna Bush’s wedding party in May 2008.
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