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Chubby Checker and the Archies

Yesterday I walked from my office to my home, a journey of 8,177 steps according to the pedometer I borrowed from the Ottawa Public Library. The 75 minutes passed quickly because I was plugged into my iPod. (I found the iPod lying on the street months ago; I put up signs, but nobody ever claimed it, so now it’s mine. After replacing all the former owner’s hip-hop and rap with my own eclectic favourites, I was ready to go.)

It’s kind of weird how much music can affect your mood. First up: Vivaldi’s Spring, then Janis Joplin’s Summertime. Great evocative tunes, both of them, and good choices for a frosty winter day.

Twist Party, Chubby Checker Then suddenly the iPod exploded into The Twist! Remember The Twist craze? Dancing the Twist was described like this: “It’s like putting out a cigarette with both feet, and wiping your bottom with a towel, to the beat of the music.”

One of my all-time favourite childhood memories is doing the Twist with my mom and my sister in the living room with Chubby Checker cranked up high on the hi-fi record player. I was six, Deb was seven, mom was 24. The record would end and we’d start it over again. We worked ourselves into a dancing FRENZY.

The Archies The Twist kicked my mood up a couple of notches, and then Sugar Sugar by the Archies came on, and that has GOT to be the catchiest little tune ever written.

Did you know that the Archies didn’t really exist? They were like Alvin and the Chipmunks, kind of a pop-culture comic-book band. Most of their records were distributed on the backs of cereal boxes. No kidding. You just cut the cardboard record from the back of the cereal box and played it on your record player. Not great for the needle, but oh my god, every 10 year old in the entire universe knew all the words to Sugar Sugar.

The lyrics are so dumb: “Sugar Sugar, you are my candy girl, and you got me wanting you. I just can’t believe the loveliness of loving you, I just can’t believe it’s true…” but that song makes me so crazy happy. There’s something about it: whenever I hear it, my mood soars and I get an instant 1969 Sugar Sugar rush.

At this point in my walk – somewhere around the 2,800 step mark – I was so insanely happy it was all I could do not to burst into song and start dancing through Chinatown. (But then Buddy Guy came along with his rendition of “Done Got Old” and that brought me back down to normal again.) (Note to self: delete Buddy)

Hi-fi record playerBy the way, don’t you think it’s funny that sound systems used to be furniture, but now we can carry our sound system and all our music in one pocket?

6 comments to Chubby Checker and the Archies

  • Gillian

    Good for you. That’s nearly 4 miles and 75 minutes is just a nice pace. Take care of yourself.

  • For a while the Archies were my favourite band. I knew they weren’t real, but neither was Santa Claus and I still got presents from him.

    I also had a crush on Veronica. I knew that I should prefer Betty because she was nicer and all that, but life with Betty would be going for walks and eating pie. Life with Veronica would be jets and fast cars.

    Probably explains a lot about where I am now.

    I also have fond memories of the year all the girls were nuts for Sugar Sugar. Every year at the Spring Talent show, there would be one song that just about every girl chose to do her talent show and in Grade 5 it was Sugar Sugar. Many batons were twirled to it that year.

    I imagine it was mortifying for the fourth or fifth girl or group of girls who performed to it, but I loved it.

    When Danny Michel played in the Glebe this fall, he said he has become friends with Don Kirshner, the guy who wrote Sugar Sugar. Don invited Danny to accompany him on a cruise where all sorts of oldies performers would be playing. Danny said he had the best time and he got to play the cool guitar line in Sugar Sugar.

  • David, you were much more worldly than I was at ten: I actually believed the Archies were real. But it makes me happy to know you still loved them even though you had the inside scoop.

  • I figured they weren’t real because they were cartoons after all.

    But I thought it was possible that the people who did the voices on the Archie cartoon show looked like their characters and did the singing.

    After all, the Monkees were real.

  • Love these memories of music. It can boost a mood too.

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