Music Monday may get you wanting Mondays…may.
Let’s face it, there isn’t much that will get anyone pumped for Monday, but I’d like to think music helps in its own very special way!
Last week, I heard a snippet (which is not a secret, so you don’t have to promise not to tell) of today’s song mixed within, of all things, a Beatles mix, done with a somewhat disco sound in 1981. The song was somewhat disco, a whole lotta European club mix, and if you didn’t already know better, you’d wonder when the Beatles started singing songs by comic book characters.
Today’s song actually came out while The Beatles were still popular, sung by a group with teenage appeal, that almost fifty years later, would have their own primetime drama series, where this song would be featured.
“Sugar Sugar” is a song originally recorded by cartoon group (so, a fictional band) The Archies, released in 1969.
Written by Andy Kim and Jeff Barry, it was part of the “bubblegum pop” genre that was big between 1968 and 1973.
The Archies were session musicians, and released a series of singles and albums, “Sugar Sugar” being their most successful. The group was lead by Archie Andrews on rhythm guitar and vocals, with Reggie Mantle on bass and vocals, Forsythe “Jughead” Jones on drums, Betty Cooper on lead guitar, vocals, and percussion, and Veronica Lodge on vocals and keyboards. In actuality, The Archies were session musicians Toni White, Donna Marie, Bobby Bloom, Chuck Rainey, and co-writer Jeff Barry, and Andy Kim provided vocals on this song.
“Sugar Sugar” was played for radio station executives without revealing the name of the group, due to their previous single’s disappointing chart position. The actual group was only revealed after most of the DJs expressed that they liked the song.
The song even had a music video, one of sixteen created for The Archie Comedy Hour, which aired on CBS in 1969, and is on their second album Everything’s Archie.
“Sugar Sugar” reached #1 on the Billboard Hot 100, spending four weeks in that position, and 22 weeks overall on the Hot 100, taking the #1 spot for the year.
Not bad for a fictional band that came out of a cartoon, wouldn’t you say?
A year later, in 1970, Wilson Pickett covered “Sugar Sugar” for his tenth studio album Right On, giving the song a souful, Motown-esque feel. If that sounds completely out of place, it actually sounds really good!
Pickett’s version reached #25 on the Billboard Hot 100, and #4 on Billboard’s R&B Chart. It was featured in the 1997 film The Ice Storm, and while it didn’t quite rival the original version, it certainly isn’t a terrible cover.
The Archies aren’t a music group anymore, but appear as live action characters on the CW teen drama Riverdale (which I watched in the spring and early summer, trying to get caught up for the upcoming fourth season). The song made its way into the first season of the series, as sung by another group in the Archies Universe, Josie and the Pussycats.
You know that whole “everything old is new again” thing? It’s amazing that a saccharine sweet (yes, I know, how appropriate right) song about love could become so…is sensual the right word for it?
Any way you slice it, any version you listen to, the song is pretty sweet.
I swear I’m done!
Have a great Monday, and enjoy the music!