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Jeffrey Morgan’s Media Blackout

This being the 65th anniversary of Archie Comics, I thought I'd ask musician Andy Kim for his recollections on writing the legendary rock 'n' roll hit song "Sugar, Sugar." Here's what he had to say:

"The year was 1969. America took a walk on the moon and I was performing at 'Broadway' Joe Namath's Bachelor's III club. But more important than that, 1969 was the year of Woodstock and the beginning of a move away from AM radio to FM. Then along comes this pop tune that absolutely nobody in radio wanted to play. Who would be the first to dare touch it? What radio programmer worth his job would add this 'Sugar, Sugar' thing to his playlist?

"We actually had to hire special promo people to try and get it played in what was shaping up to be an epic battle between the forces of Pop against the forces of Underground Music. We were told that a song needed to say something against the war or society or the administration to be relevant in 1969.

"I was told that 'Sugar, Sugar' was insignificant, that it was rubbish. 'Why did you write that?' they asked. One of my stock answers at the time was: 'Well, what kind of song would you write for comic book characters that are now appearing on a Saturday morning cartoon TV show?' Besides, I made no secret of the fact that I loved the song. I couldn't get it out of my mind. I'd hum it in my sleep. Every pop instinct I had told me it was a hit. Still, I continued to hear from people who'd tell me: 'Hey, man, that song will never see the light of day!' and 'How did it even get recorded?' and 'No one wants to hear that shit!'

"Well it turned out that everyone on the planet did want to hear and feel the intent of it, including some artists who considered 'Sugar, Sugar' a significant enough song that they recorded it themselves. You might recognize their names: Ike and Tina Turner. Wilson Pickett. Bob Marley. Then all of a sudden I became a bona fide songwriter! But even so, I still love the Archies' version."

NEXT WEEK: MB109

Jeffrey Morgan is a freelance writer. Send comments to letters@metrotimes.com

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