- Posted by Johanna on September 29, 2008 at 8:20 am
- Category: Archie Comics
Archie Comics has announced that they’ll be collecting stories of the Archies, the Archie characters as a band, in a collection called The Archies: Greatest Hits Volume 1. It’s 96 pages at $9.95, due December 10.
However, their press release buried the lead, with the first paragraph instead being a history of one of my favorite groups, The Monkees. It is related, true, but at first I thought they were going to publish something really weird:
Back in the 1960s, renowned record producer Don Kirschner was one of the driving forces behind the band The Monkees. The Monkees were put together as a response to the popularity of The Beatles, and they were given a TV show whose style was a combination of Beatles’ movies like A Hard Day’s Night and Help, with the madcap lunacy of such Marx Brothers’ classics as Duck Soup and A Night at the Opera. The Monkees’ TV show was a big hit, and they naturally spun off a successful recording career as well, placing many songs into the Top 10. Originally, Kirschner presented The Monkees with songs written by other writers to record. However, little by little, they started to write and record their own songs, and eventually wanted to do original material altogether. When Kirschner asked them to record a song from one of his stable of writers called “Sugar Sugar,” The Monkees refused and parted ways with Kirschner.
Meanwhile, inspired by the runaway success of guitar-and-vocal groups like the Beatles, Byrds, Beach Boys, and yes, The Monkees, The Archies band made their comic book debut in a 1967 issue of Life with Archie. But that was only the beginning.
As Kirschner’s search for a band to replace The Monkees continued, he noticed his child reading a comic book featuring “The Archies” band. It struck Kirschner that comic book characters couldn’t give him a hard time by refusing to record the songs of others, so he made a deal with the publishers of Archie Comics and put together a band of studio musicians and dubbed them “The Archies.”
Simultaneously, Archie Comics was in negotiations with the Filmation animation studio to start a series of Saturday morning Archie cartoons. It was decided to have The Archies band in the cartoons as well. The Archie Show premiered on the CBS network on September 14, 1968. An Archies album followed shortly thereafter and the hit single, “Sugar Sugar,” became the top-selling single of 1969. The rest, as they say, is musical history!
The collection includes restored pages and a foreword by Ron Dante, the voice of Archie in the band. 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.