|Genres||Bubblegum pop, rock and roll, garage rock|
|Labels||Calendar / Kirshner Records USA / RCA Worldwide|
|Associated acts||Ron Dante, Andy Kim|
The Archies is an American fictional garage band founded by vocalist/guitarist Archie Andrews, bassist Reggie Mantle, drummer Forsythe "Jughead" Jones, vocalist/keyboardist Veronica Lodge and vocalist/lead guitarist/percussionist Betty Cooper, a group of adolescent characters of the Archie universe, in the context of the animated TV series, The Archie Show. The group is also known for their real world success, through a virtual band.
The fictional band's music was recorded by session musicians, featuring Ron Dante on lead vocals and Toni Wine on duet and backing vocals, and released as a series of singles and albums. Their most successful song, "Sugar, Sugar", became one of the biggest hits of the bubblegum pop genre that flourished from 1968 to 1973.
The Archies play a variety of contemporary popular music, consistent with the era in which the comic is drawn. Every member sings vocals, with Jughead handling the bass voice on a few tracks. Though their singing voices were soft and appropriate for pop vocals, their speaking voices are much different. The roles the teens played in the fictional band were:
- Archie Andrews – vocals, rhythm guitar
- Reggie Mantle – bass
- Forsythe "Jughead" Jones – drums
- Betty Cooper – vocals, lead guitar, percussion
- Veronica Lodge – vocals, keyboards
One distribution mode for the Archies' music was embossing cardboard records directly onto the back of cereal boxes, which were cut out and played on a turntable (although their music was also available on standard issue LPs and 45s). Though the group no longer appears in animation, they are still frequently used in stories published by Archie Comics.
A set of studio musicians was assembled by Don Kirshner in 1968 to perform various songs. The most famous is "Sugar, Sugar", written by Jeff Barry and Andy Kim, which went to number one on the pop chart in 1969, sold over six million copies, and was awarded a gold disc. In the Billboard Hot 100, it was ranked as the No. 1 song of that year, the only time a fictional band has ever claimed Billboard's annual Hot 100 top spot. Other Top 40 songs recorded by the Archies include "Who's Your Baby?" (U.S. No. 40), "Bang-Shang-A-Lang" (U.S. No. 22), and "Jingle Jangle" (U.S. No. 10). "Jingle Jangle" also sold over one million copies, garnering a second gold disc award.
Male vocals for the fictional Archies group were provided by The Cuff Links' lead singer Ron Dante and female duet vocals were provided by Toni Wine. Wine, who was only paid for the recording session and quit the group when the song became a huge hit, was succeeded in 1970 by Donna Marie, who in turn was replaced on the final recordings by Merle Miller. The only Archies song not to feature Ron Dante on lead was 1971's "Love Is Living In You", sung by Bob Levine (co-author of the song) and produced by Ritchie Adams. The last single, released 1972, was "Strangers in the Morning"; its B-side song was "Plum Crazy".
Jeff Barry, Andy Kim, Ellie Greenwich, Susan Morse, Ritchie Adams, Maeretha Stewart, Bobby Bloom and Lesley Miller, contributed background vocals at various times, with Barry contributing his trademark bass voice (portrayed as being sung by Jughead in the cartoon) on cuts such as "Jingle Jangle", "Rock 'n' Roll Music", "A Summer Prayer For Peace" (which hit number one in South Africa and Scandinavia in 1971), and "You Little Angel, You". Musicians on Archies records included guitarists Hugh McCracken and Dave Appell, bassists Chuck Rainey and Joey Macho, keyboard player Ron Frangipane, and drummers Buddy Saltzman and Gary Chester.
The Archies' records were initially released on the Calendar Records label, but the name was shortly thereafter changed to Kirshner Records.
The sound engineer was Fred Weinberg, who was Jeff Barry's and Andy Kim's favorite, and who also recorded Barry's other hits "Be My Baby", "Baby, I Love You", and Kim's "Rock Me Gently". Fred Weinberg is an award-winning composer and producer in his own right. However, the music for The U.S. of Archie TV show which aired in 1974, was produced by Jackie Mills, a Hollywood producer, who also produced Bobby Sherman and the Brady Kids. The vocalist for these shows was Tom McKenzie, who also sang on some Groovie Goolies segments, and was a regular member of the popular singing group, the Doodletown Pipers.
Although the verses of "Jingle Jangle" seem to be sung by either Betty or Veronica (the only two female members of the fictional group), the song was actually sung by Dante, using a falsetto voice.
|Year||Album||Billboard 200||Record Label|
|1968||The Archies||88||Calendar Records|
|Jingle Jangle||125||Kirshner Records|
|The Archies Greatest Hits||114|
|1971||This is Love||—|
|2008||The Archies Christmas Album||—||Fuel 2000 Records|
|Year||Titles (A-side, B-side)
Both sides from same album except where indicated
|Peak chart positions||Record Label||Album|
b/w "Truck Driver"
|22||—||—||11||Calendar Records||The Archies|
|"Feelin' So Good (S.K.O.O.B.Y.-D.O.O.)"
b/w "Love Light"
b/w "Melody Hill"
|10||37||—||1||Kirshner Records||Jingle Jangle|
|1970||"Who's Your Baby"
b/w "Señorita Rita" (from Jingle Jangle)
|40||—||—||—||The Archies Greatest Hits|
b/w "Over and Over"
|"Together We Two"
b/w "Everything's Alright" (from Jingle Jangle)
|122||—||—||—||This Is Love|
|1971||"This Is Love"
b/w "Throw a Little Love My Way"
|"A Summer Prayer for Peace"
b/w "Maybe I'm Wrong" (from This Is Love)
|1972||"Love Is Living in You"
b/w "Hold on to Lovin'" (from This Is Love)
|"Strangers in the Morning"
b/w "Plum Crazy"
- Cooper, Kim; Smay, David, eds. (2001). Bubblegum Music is the Naked Truth: The Dark History of Prepubescent Pop, From the Banana Splits to Britney Spears. Feral House. ISBN 0-922915-69-5.
- Vintage Old 1970's Post Alpha Bits and Honeycomb Cereal Commercial with free record, YouTube
- Post Honeycomb with Archie Records Promotion, YouTube
- Murrells, Joseph (1978). The Book of Golden Discs (2nd ed.). London: Barrie and Jenkins Ltd. pp. 252–253. ISBN 0-214-20512-6.
- "Interview With Ron Dante". Allbutforgottenoldies.net. 2004-10-09. Retrieved 2010-03-31.