Monday 22 August 2016

Ron Dante: From "Sugar, Sugar" to the Paris Review

Among today's notable birthdays is the 71st of Ron Dante (not to be confused with Troy Dante, of Troy Dante & the Infernos). Ron Dante is a music business all-rounder - singer, record producer, songwriter,  session singer and creator of virtual bands, most notably The Archies, a cartoon band who had a massive hit with the infernally catchy Sugar, Sugar (the top-selling record in the US in the year of Woodstock). Dante effectively was The Archies, producing their recordings and doing most of the vocals, male and female, himself (anonymously). His other 'bands' included The Cuff Links (Tracy), The Detergents, Two Dollar Question and another cartoon group, The Chan Clan. Under his own name he released a handful of albums, including a disco LP called, inevitably, Dante's Inferno (complete with a 12-inch red vinyl single, Fire Island).
 Rather more respectably, Dante was Barry Manilow's record producer from 1973 to 1981. Manilow returned the favour by producing a dance version of Sugar, Sugar sung by Dante under his own name. Dante also produced the successful musical Ain't Misbehavin' on Broadway - and it was around this time that his Manhattan neighbour George Plimpton invited him to be publisher of the esteemed literary quarterly The Paris Review (which Plimpton had co-founded), taking over the position from the Aga Khan, no less. Ron Dante served in this capacity from 1978 to 1985. So, next time you hear Sugar, Sugar, remember - this was made by the publisher of The Paris Review.

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