Ron Dante on singing “Sugar Sugar,” beating The Beatles on the charts, and his performance this Saturday (NYC:Fab50 at The Town Hall)

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      For someone who never got a chance to bask in the limelight of his hits on the music charts, Ron Dante is not bitter. He was the voice behind The Archies cartoon hit single, “Sugar Sugar,” the studio band The Cuff Link’s “Tracy.”  Dante once again took a role behind the scenes when he became Barry Manilow’s producer during Manilow’s most popular eight years, and also sang backing vocals on most of Manilow’s hits, including “Mandy.”  Dante, though, is happy to perform his hits for audiences far and wide, and will do so again as a part of an incredible musical line-up as part of NYC:Fab50’s all-star benefit concert, “America Celebrates The Beatles.”

     The show will start at 7:30 p.m. at the historic Town Hall in New York City. 100% of ticket proceeds will be donated to The Food Bank of New Jersey, and also The Comprehensive Autism Medical Assessment and Treatment Center of New Jersey.  

For more information about the concert and tickets, please visit: http://www.nycfab50.com/TownHall.htm

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Me: How did you get involved in this major concert event celebrating The Beatles’ 50th anniversary in the US?

 

Dante: I did a rock and roll convention for Charles Rosenay a few years back, and then I showed up at The Monkees Convention [New Jersey, 2013] and we became friends. He’s a huge fan of The Beatles so he has to do this on the 50th anniversary, and when he mentioned he was doing this, I said, “Gee, I’d love to show up and sing a Beatles song AND “Sugar Sugar.” And he said, “You’re in!  I’m putting you on the bill. I’ll have the band contact you and they’ll learn the two songs you’re going to do.”  I’m doing “Getting Better” which is a very positive song. I just love that chorus. I’m going to do that and “Sugar Sugar.” So that’s why I decided to do the show, because of Charles and our connection. Also I’m a huge Beatles fan. I went to The Grammys, and this past Monday night there was a big taping of The Beatles two-hour CBS special where Paul and Ringo performed downtown at the convention center, and about eight other artists got up and sang their songs. I went and saw that and sent Charles a link on that. I said, “Look at what I got a chance to see this night!” He must be kicking himself. (laughing) It was just great. 

 

Me: (laughing) What was it like to be on the charts at the same time as The Beatles were also coming out?

 

Dante: It was a thrill for any singer. I spent my whole early career singing demos for other people and doing backgrounds on people’s records. I had a few singles out but not big hits. What a thrill it was to have a single that was number one for four weeks in Billboard and Cashbox, and right below me was The Rolling Stones, The Beatles, and The Fifth Dimension. When they did the final chart of the year, the biggest singles of the year, “Sugar Sugar” was the number one single of the year of 1969. It was so gratifying. It was like, “Oh yeah! I don’t care if my name is on the record, I don’t care if people know my face!” My voice and that record went around the world. It was number one in almost every country in the world. It was number one in England for six weeks. They were so sick of it, they wanted to shoot me when I came over because they got so tired of hearing it constantly on BBC Radio. (laughing) But it was a great moment for a singer from New York City to have the number one record around the world. It was a thrill, and especially around The Beatles’ time because they were still super hot; they were still recording.

 

Me: I imagine it was gratifying especially to beat out one of the big bands, The Beatles.  It doesn’t get any bigger than that!

 

Dante: Something about that little song accomplished so much that year. It was the middle of the Vietnam War, there were protests, the black community was having problems, and with all of this turmoil, this wonderful little “Sugar Sugar” song took everybody away from it for a little while. It got played constantly. Once an hour on WABC in New York City. In fact, they played that and my other record, “Tracy,” by The Cuff Links, in the same hour, every hour, for weeks. What a great thing that was. I’d turn on the radio and hear my voice twice in an hour. (laughing)

 

Come see Ron Dante, and many other great and iconic musicians, at the “America Salutes The Beatles” concert on Saturday, February 8th! Also, be sure to read up on all FOUR of the NYC:Fab 50 events happening in NYC starting Thursday, February 6th, and ending Sunday, February 9th: http://www.nycfab50.com/

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~ by Jennifer Dodge on February 6, 2014.

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