Back in the 1960s, Ron Dante racked up a handful of number one singles. Unlike other hit-makers of the era, however, no one knew his name. That was because Dante was the voice behind comic book and cartoon characters like the Archies who had stepped off the printed page onto the world of music's stage. He received no credit for singing the 1969 chart topper "Sugar, Sugar," nor for the Archies' next release, "Jingle Jangle," which made it into the Top Ten. Despite the lack of public acknowledgement, Dante was the band's voice for five years. During that time he also took on the role of producer and penned a few numbers.
While the Archies were riding high in the late '60s, Dante scored again by lending his voice to the Cuff Links for "Tracy." That single, too, became a winner and hit the Top Ten. Previously, with the Detergents in the mid-'60s, he helped take "Leader of the Laundromat" into the Top Ten. The song was a takeoff of "Leader of the Pack," sung by the Shangi-Las. He went on to release recordings under a few different stage names and composed several scores. Some of Dante's other singing spots reached a wide audience, but many still would not readily associate his work with his name. He has sung in numerous commercials, including one for McDonald's ("You deserve a break today").
During the '70s he became a producer at Bell Records for Barry Manilow, including the songs "Copacabana," "I Write the Songs," "Could It Be Magic," and "Mandy." Among the other artists for whom he produced recordings are Ray Charles, Cher, John Denver, Pat Benatar, and Dionne Warwick. He has also produced on Broadway, including Children of a Lesser God and Ain't Misbehavin', as well as 15 other productions. Dante's real name is Carmine Granito. In his early teens he joined a group called the Persuaders. Wanting a stage name that sounded less ethnic than his own, he borrowed the first name of the band's guitarist and took his surname from the movies. Two years later he was on his own, knocking on doors within the Brill Building, trying to shop around his demos and getting kicked out at every turn. Bobby Breed, an actor turned manager, took him on for about half a year. He soon came to the attention of music publisher Don Kirshner, who gave him a start singing demos. He moved on to writing songs for Gene Pitney, James Darren, Bobby Darin, Bobby Vee, and others, and singing background for artists such as Jay & the Americans and the McCoys. ~ Linda Seida