'60s under the stars

Corny but true; oldies are the soundtrack of our lives

Corny but true; oldies are the soundtrack of our lives

August 22, 2002|by KATE COLEMAN

Nothing brings back a memory like a song, says Ron Dante, who will be part of "'60s Under the Stars" Friday, Aug. 23, in downtown Hagerstown.

The fourth annual oldies concert is the kickoff to Hagerstown's Sister City Weekend, a celebration of the Hub City's affiliation with Wesel, Germany, a relationship that dates back to 1952.

Dante was lead vocalist for The Archies, the "bubblegum" pop group created for "The Archie Show," the animated Saturday morning program that featured its cartoon characters in song and dance.


The Archies' songs, also released as singles, hit the charts. "Sugar Sugar" was No 1 in the summer of 1969 and sold 6 million copies. Despite real-life singers, it was cartoon images that appeared when The Archies were featured on The Ed Sullivan Show.

Another of the group's voices will be on the Hagerstown stage Friday night. Andy Kim, who had a 1974 No. 1 hit with "Rock Me Gently," will join Dante and a roster of oldies hitmakers.

Tommy Roe, who scored his first No. 1 hit with "Shelia," followed with "Susie Darlin'," "Sweet Pea," and "Dizzy," will be in town.

Motown's The Contours - of "Do You Love Me" fame - will be here as will rock 'n' roll pioneers Danny and the Juniors. The group's "At the Hop" had its first national exposure on American Bandstand. Friday night's concert is evidence that the band's follow-up hit "Rock 'n' Roll is Here to Stay" was visionary.

Oldies are the soundtrack of our lives, says Dante. "It's corny but it's true."

Dante also was lead singer for a group called The Cufflinks, hitting with "Tracy," a song heard on an episode of Allie McBeal.

His voice has been heard on jingles - for Coke, Pepsi, McDonald's and the catchy Dr. Pepper - "I'm a Pepper ..."

Dante had success as a music producer, working with Barry Manilow, whom he met singing on a Manilow-written jingle. He also produced for Cher, Ray Charles, John Denver, Dionne Warwick and Pat Benatar.

In Los Angeles for the past 10 years - "I like the sunshine" - Dante is working again with Don Kirshner, who produced The Archies and The Monkees.

Dante doesn't really have to tour, but he does one or two oldies shows a month - many of them festivals.

"I returned because I really missed performing," he says. He enjoys talking to fans, hearing them tell what the music means to them. The 50-something entertainer says he can still jump around.

"I do it 'cause I love it."

If you go

'60s Under the Stars

Friday, Aug. 23

North Potomac Street parking lot


Gates open at 5 p.m.; show starts at 6 p.m.

Tickets cost $15 and are available at the Hagerstown-Washington County Convention and Visitors Bureau, Elizabeth Hager Center, 6 N. Potomac, Hagerstown, and online at If there are tickets left, they will be sold at the gate.

A Classic Car Show - open to vehicles made through 1972 - will help set the mood for the oldies concert.

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