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Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Archie Animated: The Man Behind the Music

Continuing in our last installment of the animated Archies series, which began in the late 60's, we present the man behind the redhead that became a cult classic... Ron Dante. This from the Classic Bands website:

The Archies were a bubblegum pop group that had a #1 hit, appeared frequently on Saturday morning television, and put out three hit albums. However, despite this success they never did any live performances or touring. Why? Because they were cartoon characters.

The Archies began their animated lives when The Archie Show debuted on Saturday morning in September of 1968. Each episode featured a song and dance segment performed by the characters. The show’s music was supervised by Don Kirshner, the man who put together the music for The Monkees. Kirshner tapped veteran pop producer Jeff Barry to put together the snappy, kid-friendly songs The Archie Show needed.

The Archies’ songs were also issued as singles. The first one, “Bang-Shang-A-Lang,” was a #22 hit on the pop charts and got the band off to a good start. But it was a song released the next year that won the animated band its biggest success. “Sugar Sugar” was an infectious tune built on rich boy-girl harmonies and a catchy instrumental hook played on the xylophone. It went to #1 in the summer of 1969, selling six million copies and knocking The Rolling Stones off the top of the charts in the process. The group also enjoyed another Top 10 hit in 1970, with "Jingle Jangle", before "bubble-gum" music gave way to disco.

The group is also notable for the singers who provided the voices of The Archies, all of whom went on to successful careers. Ron Dante, who sang all the lead vocals, went on to sing other bubblegum hits like “Tracy” and produced most of Barry Manilow’s chart successes in the seventies. Ellie Greenwich and Toni Wine, the female vocalists, enjoyed lengthy careers as a songwriter and session vocalist, respectively. Another backup singer, Andy Kim, had a #1 hit in 1974 with a solo song, “Rock Me Gently.”

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