Archies Sugar Sugar

On May 24, 1969, Richard Nixon was in the White House, the Vietnam War was at its height, and a dozen eggs cost $0.62. (1) May 24th also marked the release of the iconic single “Sugar, Sugar” by The Archies. Later that summer, Neil Armstrong became the first man to walk on the moon, Woodstock kicked off on a farm in New York, and “Sugar, Sugar” topped both Billboard’s Hot 100 and the UK Singles Chart. (2) It ranked number one for the year in both the United States and Britain, where it edged out the Beatles’ “Get Back” for the top spot. (3) Over fifty years later, “Sugar, Sugar” is still possibly the best bubblegum pop song ever, by a group who didn’t exist. (4)

Archie Andrews and the gang from Riverdale High School have been entertaining kids and adults alike for over 80 years. They first appeared in a 1941 comic book published by M.L.J. Magazines, Inc., in Pelham, New York. (5) Archie and his teenage friends were such a hit that they landed their own comic book line several years later, and the company changed its name to Archie Comic Publications, Inc., in 1946. (6)

Archie Andrews also starred in “Archie,” a long-running newspaper comic strip launched by McClure Newspaper Syndicate on February 4, 1946. (7) In September of 1968, “The Archie Show” debuted on CBS. The animated sitcom aired on Saturday mornings and was geared toward kids and young teenagers. It was a commercial hit and the most successful Saturday morning cartoon at the time. (8) “The Archies,” a band comprised of Archie Andrews and his friends, were an integral part of the show. The group featured Archie on rhythm guitar, bassist Reggie Mantle, drummers Forsythe “Jughead” Jones and Betty Cooper, and keyboardist Veronica Lodge.

Archies Cardboard Record

“Sugar, Sugar” was written for the fictional cartoon band by songwriter and record producer Jeff Barry and Canadian pop singer Andy Kim. Music producer Don Kirschner, who had worked with the Monkees and owned the Calendar Records label, assembled a group of studio musicians who provided the voices for “The Archies.” (2) Ron Dante performed the lead vocals and was accompanied by Andy Kim and Toni Wine, who sang the parts of both Betty Cooper and Veronica Lodge. Drummer Gary Chester, guitarists Dave Appell and Sal DiTroia, keyboardist Ron Frangipane and bassist Joe Mack comprised the rest of The Archies, and Ray Stevens provided the hand claps. (9) The Archies were the first fictitious band to reach number one on the Billboard charts in America. (11) In an interview with Carl Wiser for, Toni Wine said the real identities of the band remained a secret as “Sugar, Sugar” climbed the charts. (10) The song, initially released on Kirschner’s Calendar label, would go on to reach gold status, selling nearly one million copies in 1969 alone. (11) That year, 7-inch flexi-discs of “Sugar, Sugar” were also affixed to the back of boxes of Post’s Super Sugar Crisp breakfast cereal. These thin, disposable promotional records were cut off the backs of the cardboard cereal boxes and could be played on turntables or record players. (12)


In an interview with Toni Wine, Ashley Westerman of NPR News said “Sugar, Sugar” remains a moment of levity for those who lived through the turbulent 1960s and 70s. (2) The bright catchy song has been covered by many artists over the years including Tina Turner, Wilson Pickett and Tom Jones, and still resonates with audiences today. It has been streamed over 300 million times on Spotify and YouTube and was inducted into the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2006. (13)

Whether you’re having some cereal, a grapefruit, or a cup of coffee, “pour a little sugar on it” and celebrate the joyful song that has made our lives so sweet for 54 years.

Cover Photo:

Laura Rutherford

About the Author

Laura Rutherford graduated from the University of North Dakota in 2004 with a degree in Political Science. She is a shareholder in American Crystal Sugar Company and a member of the Red River Valley Sugarbeet Growers Association (RRVSGA), the World Association of Beet and Cane Growers (WABCG), and the American Society of Sugarbeet Technologists. She is on the Board of Directors of the Sugar Industry Biotechnology Council and has published articles for the WABCG, the Red River Valley Sugarbeet Growers Association newsletter, and the British Sugarbeet Review magazine in Cambs, United Kingdom.

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