The red-haired, freckle-faced Archie Andrews hasn’t been in such demand since the sweet days of “Sugar, Sugar,” but one unlikely gig is in danger of melting away: A rights battle could be keeping the cartoon group’s 1968 song “Hide And Seek” from a spot on Netflix’s The Get Down.
While Archie’s live-action iteration on the CW’s Riverdale has his own musical ambitions, the character’s old cartoon band seems to have lost a gig, for now anyway, on the Netflix hip-hop drama.
Essential Media Group LLC, a Florida-based licensing company, is suing The Archies’ lead singer Ron Dante for “interfering” in a $25,000 deal to get “Hide And Seek” used on The Get Down. The Baz Luhrmann-Stephen Adly Guirgis series, set in the late 1970s, charts the creation of hip-hop in the South Bronx. The suit doesn’t make clear how the Archies’ bubblegum tune, written by Mark Barkan and Ritchie Adams and included on the cartoon band’s self-titled 1968 album, would be used on the Netflix show.
Dante was the Archie character’s singing voice on the album (and the classic single “Sugar, Sugar”), songs that were used on the Archie 1968-1969 Saturday morning cartoon series.
According to the lawsuit, filed by Essential’s attorney Richard C. Wolfe in Miami-Dade County Circuit Court, Essential was set last year to license “Hide And Seek” to Sony for use on The Get Down for an initial fee of $25,000. “Without justification, Dante asserted that he, not Essential, had the legal rights” to the master recording.
“We believe it is odd that he would attempt to declare ownership of the songs 48 years after the original recordings,” Wolfe said. In a brief statement to Deadline, he added, “The license to Sony is in jeopardy due to the specious assertion by Dante.”
Dante has another take, telling Deadline, “I was the lead singer on over 100 songs for The Archies and continue to perform them at my shows. I will fight for my rights on these recordings, just so you know.” Dante declined further comment, noting, “Since we are in the middle of this I can only say that my lawyers are on it and it will be settled soon.”
The suit filed by Essential seeks temporary and permanent injunction against Dante’s “interference.”
Dante maintains a busy performance schedule, both as a solo act and, this summer, with the popular Happy Together tour along with The Turtles, The Association, The Cowsills, The Box Tops and Three Dog Night’s Chuck Negron. In addition to the Archies songs, Dante sang the Cuff Links’ 1969 hit “Tracy.”
Netflix had no comment.
The Archie Comics characters have gotten a huge boost in contemporary visibility with Riverdale, the CW’s new live-action teen drama that reimagines Archie’s gang in a darker, moodier context. The series is executive produced by Greg Berlanti.