Song Of The Day 1/6/2016: The Archies – “Melody Hill”

B-Sides Week '16 – In discussing the emergence of the Archies you really need to get a sense of the historical context. It was 1968. America was mired in a foreign conflict where the line between liberty and tyranny was unexpectedly blurry. Some didn't come back. Those who did weren't the same. Countercultural rebels in San Francisco were dosing on tabs and fashioning a hedonistic new society, while down the road in L.A. a failed musician named Charles Manson was gathering his forces for a more twisted, malicious rebellion. Richard Nixon's jowls were on the campaign trail. Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In was throwing the charred remains of the Space Age back in our beleaguered faces. The generation gap was ever widening. Dad would say, "Get a haircut!" and Jimmy would say, "No, you stop bowing to the man, you fascist!" and Mom would say, "Won't you both please stop!" and Susie would say, "Hey everyone, I'm going on the pill!" and Dad would say, "Not under this roof you're not!" and Jimmy would say, "I'm going into the attic to read Das Kapital!" and Mom would say, "We're out of Tang, so keep your earth shoes on today," and Susie would say, "There's a girl in a turtleneck at college and she makes me feel different," and Dad would say, "Consumer durables up .19!" and Jimmy would say, "Bass solo!" and Mom would say, "Waxy yellow build-up!" and Susie would say, "Our bodies ourselves!" and then we all packed up the station wagon and picked up some Dairy Queen on the way to the ashram.

So, yeah, heady times they were. The Archies cut through all that with the hit song "Sugar Sugar," and "Melody Hill" was the flip side. Like the Doors, the Archies had no bassist and were driven by a Native American muse they probably hallucinated. Like late-era Fleetwood Mac, the girls played keyboards and tambourine. The Archies ("Les Archies" in France) also had a white sheepdog as a conductor, and I honestly don't know what's weirder: that he was a sheepdog or that a rock band had a conductor. They were active until 1972 when it was decided that they could get much more accomplished in an inert state. Hey, it worked for the Doors, right? Anyway, I understand Archie's now dead and Jughead fell into that whole dubstep thing.

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