279. ‘Sugar, Sugar’, by The Archies

The second last #1 of the 1960s brings up one of its biggest hits. Eight whole weeks at the top, tying with Elvis’s ‘It’s Now or Never’ (1960) and The Shadows’ ‘Wonderful Land’(1962) for the honour of longest-running chart-topper of the decade. And when you hear the chorus, you begin to understand why…

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Sugar, Sugar, by The Archies (their 1st and only #1)

8 weeks, from 19th October – 14th December 1969

Sugar – do-do-do-do-do-do… Awww honey, honey – do-do-do-do-do-do… You are my candy girl… And you got me wanting you… It’s a chorus that everyone can sing, imprinted on our collective consciousness. In fact, to call it a ‘chorus’ isn’t very accurate – it is pretty much the entire song. As a record, it is undeniably catchy…

But then so are crabs. To be honest – ‘Sugar, Sugar’ is annoying, it’s simplistic, it’s basic… It’s bubble gum, and then some. Candy floss, sherbet and a huge dose of saccharine for good measure. I just can’t believe the loveliness of loving you… I just can’t believe the wonder of this feeling too… After a couple of listens you start to get a sugar-headache.

It’s one of pop music’s great clichés – love as candy. We’ve already had ‘Sweets for My Sweet’ at #1, and there will be more to come. ‘Candy Girl’, ‘Sweet Like Chocolate’, ‘Sugar Baby Love’… You can make quite the list… ‘Pour Some Sugar On Me’ (a classic, I won’t deny), ‘Brown Sugar’ (a filthy Stones’ take on the theme.) You catch my drift…

There are glimmers of hope here: the low-key verses contrast nicely with the all-out bubble gum of the chorus. And the ‘ad-libs’ towards the end are fun. Pour a little sugar on me honey… Aw yeah… (maybe a young Def Leppard were listening.) All in all though, and I say this as someone who loves pop music, ‘Sugar, Sugar’ is a bit much. I’m glad when it’s over.

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Adding to the sickly effect is the fact that The Archies were a cartoon band, plus a dog, that featured in their own TV variety show, ‘The Archie Show’. To me, they look like the ‘cast’ of ‘Scooby-Doo’ went and formed a band. Their records were recorded by session musicians, several of whom quit when they didn’t get any royalties from their hits. Despite the fact that just two weeks ago we had simulated orgasms at #1, I’d have to say that ‘Sugar, Sugar’ is the more offensive record.

In fact, this is perhaps the icing on the cake for the cynical second half of 1969. We’ve had horrifying visions of an apocalyptic future, and now an equally pessimistic vision of the future of pop music. We’ve had a pre-manufactured band from a TV show at #1 already, but it feels very unfair to compare The Monkees to this… They were real musicians who quickly broke away from their confines. Here you can’t help picturing a cynical record executive laughing and chucking wads of dollar bills in the air… “Who needs real people? Who needs real instruments? It’s mine! All mine!”

Or maybe that’s too much. We’ve had so much amazing music hit number one over the past decade, so perhaps we can cut this record some slack. It what it is, and what it is is fine in small doses. Assembly-line bubblegum is here to stay, and we’ll have to get used to it as we delve into the 1970s…

18 thoughts on “279. ‘Sugar, Sugar’, by The Archies

  1. badfinger20

    You know it’s true don’t you? You can get diabetes from listening to this song…true fact.
    I wanted to meet Veronica when I as a kid.

    1. 😆 You stupid.

      I always wanted to BE Veronica. I can still remember the chick from the TV show…”I’m Veronica…the cute one.” 😂

      I will take the sugar high. I. Love. This. Song.

      Hey…UK guy…what can we call you? I’m Vic. Up above me is Max…

      1. badfinger20

        I was going to say the Archies had a hot keyboardist but I thought that may make me sound a little strange…but what the hell…I am.

        Hey last time the guys played in the garage…we played this song…just a tad bit harder than they do lol…it actually sounded pretty cool. It sounded like The Stones doing Sugar Sugar

      2. Haha… Veronica’s the blonde or the black haired girl? I suppose if I’d grown up with them it’d have been different… As it is, this song makes my teeth grind!

        I’m Stewart btw, though UK Guy sounds good to me too!

      3. I’ve had a problem with seeing comments all this week too – no notifications, but they’re there… ‘Stewart’ is fine. It’s worked for several decades, so no point changing now!

      4. WordPress is hinky as hell. I will have comments show up in my Admin. panel but, not the notification panel on the Reader. Programmed in PHP and Javascript, it does weird s*** like FakeBook. *sigh*

        No telling how many comments I never see because a third party replied to me but, because it wasn’t on my blog, I don’t get notified.

        Stewart is a perfectly fine name. LOL!

      5. You know, I never saw this comment and you replied to me. And, I can’t check an Admin. panel on someone else’ site. GEEZUS.

        It wouldn’t make you sound strange as I knew Ronnie was their keyboardist. Betty just played with a tambourine. But, that being said, you ARE strange…as am I.

        Heh. Rolling Stones doing Sugar, Sugar…I’m trying to hear Jagger in my head. LOL!

      6. badfinger20

        That was the day of all hell busting loose. I had to go around to peoples pages and check.

        It actually sounds pretty damn good with a blues/rock mix…I could send you some of our last practice…but it’s not good quality…but I will send something.

        Yes we are Vic…yes we are…and very proud of the fact. Wait…who is Ronnie? It’s Veronica isn’t it? That is who is playing it in the picture.

      7. Cool. I’d like to hear that.

        Yep. I worked with a Veronica Rivera in Texas and she went by Ronnie…even though Ronnie Rivera sounds like a stage name for a pole dancer.

        WordPress makes me ill as hell.

      8. badfinger20

        LOL the name does sound like a pole dancer.
        Ok I’ll dig a few out and send them. It’s really bad quality. The guitar player recorded on a small digital recorder but in a bad place.

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  5. Vocals by Ron Dante, who was in the charts around the same time as the vocalist on ‘Tracy’ by the Cuff-Links. That must have made him one of the most successful unknown singers, if only for a few months.

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