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POP MUSIC

Sounds like sugar

January 16, 2003|Steve Appleford | Special to The Times

Bubblegum is pop music at its most basic and sunny, free of politics and angst, aimed at preteens and performed by craftsmen -- or cartoons.

The original bubblegummers were mostly anonymous superstars: the Archies, the 1910 Fruitgum Company, Josey & the Pussycats, the Ohio Express.

"Bubblegum music is always neglected and denigrated," says Kim Cooper, co-author of "Bubblegum Music Is the Naked Truth" and an organizer of Saturday's Bubblegum Achievement Awards, taking place at the Magic Castle. "There's a reason that 30 years on these songs are still danceable and ... people remember them."

The ceremony honors singers, songwriters, producers and label execs from bubblegum's heyday. One is singer-songwriter Toni Wine, who sang on the Archies' "Sugar, Sugar," one of 1969's biggest hits. The No. 1 single was credited to the Archies, title characters from the comic book and Saturday-morning cartoon show. "When you're making records you always hope it's going to be somewhat of a happening, or at least get played," Wine says. "But it was huge."

Bubblegum emerged in the late '60s, when the Beatles, Rolling Stones and others were pushing rock to new extremes in content and artistry. By contrast, the sugary hits of bubblegum were typically crafted in hit-making factories around nursery rhyme lyrics. Rewards are few, but Wine revisited her moment of pop bliss in September in Hollywood with an impromptu "Sugar, Sugar," her first performance of the entire song since the original session.

"That was really a nostalgic moment because we had never, ever performed the whole song," says Wine. "It sounded great!"

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Bubblegum Awards

Where: Magic Castle, 7001 Franklin Ave., Hollywood.

When: Saturday, 5:30 p.m. to 1 a.m.

Cost: $69 per person (includes dinner), $40 (awards only).

Info: (800) 699-2466, Ext. #BUBBLEGUM1

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