Monday, 25 May 2020

45 RPM Gems - The Archies - Sugar Sugar (1969)


This is a song that is inextricably linked with my childhood. It was number one in the late summer to early autumn of 1969, before my final, and most enjoyable, year of primary school. It was, of course, an ideal song for kids and we all absolutely loved it and why the hell not. It was a true bubblegum classic. Nobody, but nobody, is allowed to slag it off in my company.

Written by notable songwriter Jeff Barry and Andy (Rock Me Gently) Kim and sung by a Monkees-style animated group who were also supposedly real (in fact they were fictional) - Archie Andrews, Reggie Mantle, Forsythe "Jughead" Jones, Betty Cooper and Veronica Lodge - the song was a glorious piece of frothy, summertime pre-teen bubblegum pop. The music was played by assorted session musicians, as was often the case in the sixties. 

Anyway back to the song itself - it has a totally infectious poppy rhythm, simple boy loves girl lyrics and it came with an animated Scooby Doo-style "video" that was played for the eight weeks that it was at number one on Top Of The Pops. As a kid I bloody loved it. Whenever I hear it now I am ten again.

The 'b' side was a surprisingly powerful serving of surf/bubblegum pop/rock in Melody Hill. It is full of great harmonies, a thumping beat and a fine guitar solo. It is surprisingly good. 

Indeed, The Archies put out an album full of such stuff including a several catchy, fun Beach Boys/Mamas And The Papas-style numbers in the intoxicatingly groovy fun of Archie's Party, Everything's Archie, Bicycles, Roller Skates And You and the Eurovision-esque Bang Shang A Lang. The influence on The Bay City Rollers is clear in the latter. 

The Archies were also very inspirational to the late seventies power pop band The Rubinoos - they often ended their live shows with Sugar Sugar. Check out Truck Driver, too, it is actually a really good piece of late sixties, grinding pop, as is the melodic and bassy This Is Love, which is just pure Rubinoos. The whole album is very enjoyable. 

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