How to Buy The Archies on CD

by KC Carlson

After the mention of Archies music in the post about Archie getting drafted, I thought I’d offer a quick little guide to your best bets, just in case anybody wants to track down more of The Archies music on CD, as it is a musical minefield out there.

Absolutely the Best of The Archies cover
Absolutely the Best of The Archies
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The Archies’ hits on CD have been anthologized to death (over 20 different “greatest hits” CDs over the years), and there’s a a whole lot you should avoid due to their inferior quality. The best way to tell if you’re looking at a good one is if the actual Archie characters are on the cover. If the CD label actually took the extra step to license the character rights, they probably did the music right as well.

The best US Archies “hits” CD is Fuel 2000’s Absolutely the Best of The Archies which originally came out in 2001 and is also available on iTunes. All of the hits are here (including the oft-forgotten non-album single “Who’s Your Baby?”), as well as several great album tracks (“Melody Hill” is a bubblegum classic) and a couple of themes from the cartoon shows. There are well-researched liner notes in the 8-page booklet, which also features lots of Dan DeCarlo artwork.

Sugar, Sugar... The Archies cover
Sugar, Sugar… The Archies
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Also of note is Sugar, Sugar… The Archies, a European compilation on the Repertoire label. This one might be OOP (out of print), but it is still available at Repertoire’s website, and used copies can be easily found. The biggest advantage to this one is that it’s 24 tracks (as opposed to Absolutely‘s 16), so you get 8 more great album cuts like “Love Light,” “Over and Over,” and “Seventeen Ain’t Young.” The downside is that it’s an import, so you might have to pay a little more than you would for Absolutely. (And the liner notes are short and generic — but they’re also available in German!) Great sound and lots of good art, though!

The Archies cover
The Archies
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If you’re an Archies fanatic (and who isn’t?) and want to collect the original albums on CD, then you are mostly out of luck. Out of the original 5 albums (I’m not counting the original Greatest Hits album), only the first album (The Archies) is available on CD, and only as an expensive (thank you declining US dollar!) import from Repertoire. It offers up the original album (with the original Dan DeCarlo cover — also available as a mini-poster!) and includes as bonus tracks the original mono single versions of the first Archies single (“Bang-Shang-A-Lang” and “Truck Driver”). The CD also features informative liner notes and excellent sound quality.

Everything’s Archie
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The second and third Archies albums (Everything’s Archie and Jingle Jangle) were released on CD a few years ago (by lead singer Ron Dante, no less). However, the first was renamed The Archies and the latter became Archie’s Party. They are both kind of a mess — the packaging leaves much to be desired, with lots of typos, and the songs are not presented in the original running order — but they are still worth seeking out because the sound quality is excellent, they feature all the original songs, and they’re the only versions of these two albums that are currently available. Technically, both are out of print, but used copies can be found (and The Archies is also available on iTunes).

Archie’s Party
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Sadly, the fourth and fifth Archies albums, Sunshine and This is Love, are not available on CD at all. Sunshine really needs to be released as it has some classic tracks, including “Who’s Gonna Love Me?,” “Over and Over,” “Comes the Sun,” the bizarre “Waldo P. Emerson Jones,” and “Sunshine” — my favorite Archies single.

It does have its clunkers as well, including the aforementioned “A Summer Prayer for Peace” and “Mr. Factory.” The album as a whole provides an incredible time capsule of the era (The All-Music Guide refers to it as “being like The Monkees’ Head“) as well as the opportunity to listen to the powers behind-the-scenes trying to evolve the Archies “sound” into something more mature. Unfortunately, this reached its nadir with This Is Love, the final Archies album. The glistening title track is really the only thing worth hearing here, and fortunately it is included on both Absolutely and Sugar Sugar….

One final note: in your search for Archies music, you will most likely come across a group called The Gothic Archies. An interesting group, they play a mixture of gothic rock and bubblegum (!?), but they have no real connection to The Archies, other than their deliberately ironic name. Happy searching!

19 Responses to “How to Buy The Archies on CD”

  1. Dave Says:

    Outside of “Sugar, Sugar,” “Comes the Sun” is that track that really stands out in my memory. I remember it from the Archies cartoon and always thought it was pretty catchy. Sorry to hear no CD is available.

  2. Mark S. Says:

    IT amazes me that you know this. I am in complete shock, to be honest.

  3. Johanna Says:

    Oh, KC is a font of unexpected wisdom on many subjects.

    Personally, I’m not sure I’ve ever seen the cartoons. That YouTube clip I linked to, the voices were atrocious. But the music is still listenable.

  4. Dave Says:

    I was very young when the cartoons first aired, but they do represent my first exposure to the Archie gang as well as Sabrina and Josie and the pussycats. “The Archies” was later re-run every afternoon on our local independent TV station (Archies at 4:00, Monkees at 4:30!! That was my first exposure to the pre-fab four!) starting when I was in the third grade so I think 1976 or ’77. The cartoons were very cheaply animated and not very good, even by my 9-year-old standards, bu I wasn’t that picky. The producers of that show put out a “Brady kids” cartoon for a seasson or two afterwords and recycled a lot of the same animation, in some cases merely putting new heads on some of the same bodies. Creepy and strange. The 70’s were a decade unlike any other…

  5. Johanna Says:

    That is too creepy an image, the switched heads. I don’t think it’s true, though. The Archies cartoon was done by Filmation, KC says, while Brady was Hanna-Barbera. The Archies/Monkees double feature sounds great!

  6. James Schee Says:

    Hah ha, I knew if KC started writing here that there’d be a bubblegum pop music related article eventually.

    I still remember talking with him once and him furst telling me about the Archies and my going “They’re comic book characters, how’d the release an album?” Because my thinking was “Gosh did the Justice League release one too?:)”

    I need to dig out my “every song The Archies did” burnt CD and put it on my Ipod for a while.

  7. Johanna Says:

    There is a Justice League album, only it’s stories and songs about the characters, not them singing. And it had nothing to do with the cartoons.

  8. Dave Says:

    I’ll defer to KC on a lot of things (and will reserach it further when I get a chance) but I’m positive the Archies and Brady Kids were from the same studio. The animation style was identical and – more telling – there was a musical number in each episode and THAT’s where the “switched heads” came in. There would be a “band shot” where Archie is playing guitar and singing, Betty playing keyboards, etc. along with Veronica, Reggie and Jughead (and, really weird, a dog waving a baton, “conducting the orchestra).

    On the Brady cartoon, the band shot was exactly the same shot down to the character movements, but with Greg standing in for Archie, etc. And, even more weird, little Cindy standing in for the dog (The Archie’s 6th member) but playing a guitar so small it looked like a ukulele.

    Does anyone besides me remember the Bicentennial-themed “US of Archie?”

  9. Dave Says:

    See/hear “Comes The Sun” here:

  10. Mark S. Says:

    I enjoyed the cartoons when I was a boy. Even though I knew them to be sloppily done with very cheap animation. When the series was recently released on DVD, whilst I had no interest in buying it, my wife did. That’s $25 gone forever…as the voices were terrible. Something I’d forgotten and she apparently never knew…in fact, it was so bad, it’s keeping us from buying the Sabrina set that is to be released.

  11. I Met Ron Dante! » Comics Worth Reading Says:

    […] At the Archie booth at the NY Con today was appearing Ron Dante, the voice of the Archies on record! […]

  12. Dave Says:

    Johanna, ever since you posted this, I’ve been going back about every other day to watch (well, mostly listen…) to “Comes the sun” at the link I post above.

    Then this morning, I discovered the two albums you mention as being unavailable on CD available as downloadable mp3s at –
    – and I am happy to report that I have just placed “Comes The Sun” on my ipod so that I can listen to it on the way to work this morning. No album art available at emusic but a quick google search solved that problem. I’ll be back to sample more soon.

    Thanks for this post in the first place, this has been a fun trip down memory lane. But more than that: To this Power Pop afficionado’s ears, some of these tunes really have legs. If you aske me, “Comes The Sun” would not be out of place on the Velvet Underground’s “Loaded!”

  13. Mildred Says:

    I love the Archies and wish they were still around.

  14. Bobby C Says:

    They are coming out with a brand new Christmas album!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Yes! They are back! Spread the word.

  15. Archies Greatest Hits Collection Coming » Comics Worth Reading Says:

    […] sample pages available at the Archie blog. For more on the Archies music, check out this post on How to Buy the Archies on CD. I’ve posted a sample song, too. […]

  16. The Archies and Alvin: New CDs! » Comics Worth Reading Says:

    […] Archies upbeat style. Plus, the CD is on the Fuel 2000 label — the same folks who did the Absolutely the Best of The Archies CD in 2001. So you can buy with confidence that this isn’t another in the long line of Archies […]

  17. likewow Says:

    Amazon has Sunshine and This Is Love available on CD! In fact, all but one album is now out, with the orginal cover art, except Everything’s Archie. Maybe a boxset soon?

  18. Johanna Says:

    KC responds: Hey, likewow!

    Thanks for the tip on Sunshine and This Is Love at Amazon! Further inspection shows that they are both “on-demand” selections, which means CD-Rs. I’m always skeptical of those for sound quality/ longevity issues, but since I had a recent Amazon Birthday Gift Certificate for almost the the exact amount of these two discs, I realized that this was some sort of cosmic fate thing and decided to order them. I’ll post more about sound quality when I get them, which will be a while (free shipping, slow boat…)

    Also, been meaning to review this, but I was very surprised to find there is a plethora (over a dozen tracks) of never-released-to-disc Archies tunes on the Archie’s Funhouse DVD – all presented as animated videos so you can play them with the “jukebox” function (which annoyingly doesn’t play continuously for some reason). There’s nothing really earth-shattering here (although “Love Vibrations” is kind of a lost classic), and there’s some occasionally annoying post-editing musical overdubs for the cartoon show, but it’s still a lot of fun to hear some “new” Archies music – or more correctly, some Archies music I haven’t heard since I originally watched these shows in the late 60s!

    The cartoons themselves are kinda cringe-worthy after all these years, but fun if you’re feeling nostalgic. Plus, there’s a great interview feature on “voice of the Archies” Ron Dante (who’s also the prime mover in keeping the music alive!). So, this is one of those DVDs with great Bonus Features and worth tracking down just for those!

  19. likewow Says:

    Looks like Amazon now has all the Archies albums on CD with the original covers :)




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