Song: “Sugar, Sugar” by the Archies
Reached #1: September 20, 1969 (their first, 4 weeks)
The Archies, of course, existed only in cartoon form.
But they have one more #1 hit than a lot of real-life groups. And I’m sure there are a lot of real-life groups who hate that…
Don Kirshner was tapped to provide the music for the cartoon Archies – songs that could not only be made into cartoons for their Saturday morning TV show but could be packaged into albums, proving that Saturday morning TV was a stealth marketplace long before the Power Rangers.
Kirshner used some big-name songwriters – Jeff Barry and Ellie Greenwich from the Brill Building, among others – and singer Ron Dante did the lead vocals. Barry and Andy Kim wrote “Sugar, Sugar”, just a few years before Kim would hit the top of the charts on his own with “Rock Me Gently”. Barry and Kim would go on to write some songs for that other (semi-)fictional group, the Monkees.
Kim’s story is kind of sad – he faked his age to get into the music business, then sang a style of music that produced certain expectations (to put it bluntly, Kim is dark-skinned, of Arabic descent, which was the last thing his audiences expected in the not-so-colorblind ‘70s). Because of that dichotomy, Kim didn’t like to tour, and wound up leaving the music business a couple of years after “Rock Me Gently”. He made a couple of brief comebacks as Baron Longfellow before a 1995 festival appearance led to a friendship with the Barenaked Ladies. That friendship, in 2004, led to Kim’s comeback EP. Since then, Kim has hosted a live charity Christmas concert each year in Toronto.
Tomorrow, the song that was #1 on the day I was born…
Other songs that reached #1 on September 20:
1975 – “Fame” by David Bowie (his first, 2 weeks)
1986 – “Stuck With You” by Huey Lewis & the News (their second, 3 weeks)