1968 The Archies – Bang-Shang-A-Lang
If somebody mentions the cartoon show The Archies, it’s likely you’ll immediately think of Sugar, Sugar. That was the group’s biggest record (in fact, the biggest record for all of 1969), but it wasn’t even on the group’s first album.
The record company even released two other singles before their big hit!
Don Kirshner was in charge of the early Monkees’ releases. After he attempted to release a single that the band hadn’t approved in 1967, they got him removed from his post. He recovered by taking over the music for a cartoon show where he wouldn’t have to deal with actual band members: the Archies.
Don assembled studio musicians to record songs as needed, beginning in 1968. Jeff Barry wrote much of their music with some help from Andy Kim. Ron Dante sang lead on almost all of the band’s songs and backup vocals came from Don, Andy, Toni Wine, Ellie Greenwich, Bobby Bloom (the singer on Montego Bay), and others.
They released Bang-Shang-A-Lang as the first single from the cartoon show. It reached #22 on the Hot 100 in 1968.
For the second single, they chose Feelin’ So Good (S.K.O.O.B.Y.-D.O.O.). That record did not do as well as the first and peaked at only #53.
After that dismal reception, they tried promoting the third single to radio stations using records that did not have labels. Perhaps the cartoon show caught on, or maybe it was just a much better song, or maybe it was some background clapping from Ray Stevens, but Sugar, Sugar dominated the charts in 1969. The single reached #1 in the US, the UK, and at least 14 other countries.
Rumors have swirled around for years that the Monkees had turned down the chance to record Sugar, Sugar. The Monkees got Don fired in 1967, and Jeff and Andy didn’t even write the song until 1969, so there was no way the Monkees could have been offered the song. That didn’t stop Mickey from recording the song on an album in 2012.
One more single from the Archies barely managed to reach #40 a few months after the show ended in 1969, and the band’s streak of hit records was over. Don kept releasing additional singles through 1972, but nothing even reached the Hot 100 after 1970.
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