You may not know the name Ron Dante, but if you've ever heard the Archies
' "Sugar, Sugar," then you've heard his voice. He sang lead on all the Archies' records, provided the voice for the Cuff Links
' hit single "Tracy," sang the novelty classic "Leader of the Laundromat," and had a long career as a singer of commercial jingles, including a solo spot on Coke's classic "I'd Like to Teach the World to Sing" ad. These examples only touch the surface of Dante's stint as a behind-the-scenes music guy in the '60s and '70s; much of what he did was relatively obscure at the time and remained so until the release of this collection of his solo work and a few imaginary groups he fronted. He started releasing singles soon after starting out in the biz in the early '60s, then kept plugging away until the early '80s before taking a break. Anthology
gathers up two discs' worth of singles and album tracks that range from teen idol ballads to sweaty disco jams. Of course, "Sugar, Sugar" is included, as is the 1975 disco remake. His 1970 album Brings You Up
is well represented, as is his late-'70s disco group Dante's Inferno, whose "Ain't Misbehavin'" is an amazing example of Love Boat
disco. There are loads of super-bubblegummy songs like "Chirpy Chirpy Cheep Cheep," a few songs that reflect the singer/songwriter and soft rock eras, even a track from the corny '70s cartoon band the Chan Clan. Dante proves adept at every style he takes a crack at, his crystal-clear voice always cutting through the sugar like a bell. None of the songs reaches the heights of "Sugar, Sugar," but there is plenty of fun, frothy pop goodness here. The jumbled chronology of the tracks is a little jarring at times, the inclusion of the entire Brings You Up
album would have been nice, and the fidelity is less than crisp, but still, a collection of Dante's work is long overdue and Anthology
is a fine look at one of pop music's unsung heroes.