The Archies, Everything’s Archie, Calendar KES-103, 1969
After being fired as the musical director for The Monkees, Don Kirchner wasn’t out of work for long. CBS and Filmation teamed up with Archie Comics for a Saturday morning cartoon series, and Kirchner was hired to try to do for The Archies what he did for The Monkees. From Kirchner’s point of view, it was an upgrade because one dimensional characters don’t complain about their album covers or musical direction.
The show only lasted one season, but the 17 episodes re-run into the early 80s. Flimation was a low budget animator, and the Archie’s template was used for music scenes for other cartoon shows like Josie and The Pussycats, The Brady Kids, and The Jackson 5. The music, however, was A-Listers all the way, with Jeff Barry producing and Andy Kim writing and arranging. Lead Vocals were handled by session singer Ron Dante, who also sang anonymously as The Cuff Links and “their” hit Tracy. Both Sugar Sugar and Tracy were in the Top 10 at the same time, and poor Ron got no credit at all. The Archies weren’t invited to play at Woodstock either.
Since people actually enjoy 3-D bands, The Archies peaked with this record. The cartoon being a children’s show didn’t help Archies Records compete against janis Joplin and Led Zeppelin for album sales, even though Sugar Sugar was Billboard’s #1 single of 1969. Still great writing and production makes for great music, and one listen of Wilson Pickett’s soul cover proves how good a song it is. It’s really hard to write a song that sounds so simple yet really works, and this record does just that.
Cost: $5, $330 Remaining