(note from Laura:
Ron was born in Staten
Island, NY. He became interested in music at a very young age, influenced by his dad, who constantly sang around the house.
The mid-Fifties brought rock and roll and, with it, a new kind of excitement to the adolescent's life. Like scores of others, Ron
idolized rock pioneers such as Chuck Berry, Little Richard, and so on. The bass singer for a group called The Elegants ("Little
Star") happened to work for Ron's dad, and one fortuitous evening he took the boy to an Alan Freed rock and roll show, then
backstage to meet his idols in person. If Ron had had any doubts about entering the music business before, they left
him that day and never returned.
Around this time,
the eleven-year-old fell out of a tree and badly broke his arm, damaging the growing bone. The doctor suggested carrying a
rubber ball around and squeezing it as a way of strengthening his arm and ensuring that it would grow along with the rest
of him. Ron wasn't crazy about that idea, but he liked the alternative one ... take up the guitar! Seizing upon the perfect
opportunity to make lemonade out of lemons, the adolescent learned the instrument, eventually mastering it enough to form
a band, The Persuaders, with some chums. The group played at local dances and clubs; that is, when the accident-prone boy
wasn't busy breaking other bones in his body!
Ron was still using
the name Ronnie Dante when he began making the rounds at the Brill Building in New York City's famed Tin Pan Alley, guitar
in hand, offering to play and sing for anyone who would listen. In time he became a session singer, doing backgrounds for
established talent such as Neil Sedaka. During 1963 and 1964 he recorded several singles as a solo artist, but due to a strange
new phenomenom called "Beatlemania" sweeping the land, those records never became the hits they could have.
In 1964, Ronnie fell in with the
successful songwriting team of Paul Vance and Lee Pockriss ("Catch a Falling Star," "Itsy Bitsy Teeny Weeny Yellow Polka-Dot
Bikini"), who'd just written a hilarious parody of the current Shangri-La's hit "Leader of the Pack." It was called "Leader
of the Laundromat." Ronnie joined Danny Jordan and Tommy Wynn as the Detergents, recording a whole album's worth of parody
songs and touring the country with Dick Clark's Caravan of Stars. Ronnie had a blast that summer, meeting other stars and
honing his performing skills.
years, Ronnie (who by this time had shortened his name to Ron) Dante was making a name for himself doing jingle work; that
is, singing commercial jingles for television and radio. In 1968, Don Kirshner, whom Ron knew from his old Brill Building
days, was tapped as music supervisor for an upcoming Saturday-morning cartoon, The Archie Show. A decision had been made to
create a rock band out of the show's five principal characters (Archie, Betty, Veronica, Reggie and Jughead), and to this
end Don was searching for someone to be the lead voice of the group. Ron auditioned and got the part. Along with songwriter-producer
Jeff Barry, Ron would eventually crank out more than a hundred songs, doing the lead on all and the backgrounds on most. Other
singers on the Archies sessions (Toni Wine, Donna Marie) would come and go, but Ron would remain the constant presence for
the group's nearly three-year career. When The Archies' third single, "Sugar, Sugar," became the #1 hit of 1969, Ron knew
that his position in music history was solidified.
Also during 1969,
Ron was approached by his old collaborators, the songwriting team of Vance/Pockriss, who asked Ron to record some new songs
they had written. The result was an entire album's worth of material, with Ron doing both the lead and background vocals.
The songs were released under the name "The Cuff Links," and the album's title track, "Tracy," made it into the Top Ten on
the U.S. charts at the same time that The Archies' "Sugar, Sugar" was Number One. A decision was made to put together a real-live
group of Cuff Links, but by this time Ron was involved in other projects and unable to tour with a group, so seven other guys
banded together as The Cuff Links and picked up the baton.
In 1970, Ron released
his first solo album, Ron Dante Brings You Up. The titular song was an upbeat number penned by "Sugar, Sugar" songwriters
Jeff Barry and Andy Kim called "Let Me Bring You Up." During 1971, Ron recorded the lovely "That's What Life is All About,"
co-written by his Archies partner Toni Wine along with Irwin Levine (the duo also wrote the song "Candida," a hit for Dawn).
The Archies were on their way out by this time, and Ron was setting his sights to the future. In 1972, he did the singing
voice of Spiderman on the Webspinners LP, and from 1972-74 he provided lead vocals for another Don Kirshner-produced cartoon
group, The Chan Clan (spawned from the Hanna-Barbera show "Amazing Chan and the Chan Clan").
One day, while in
the studio working on a commercial jingle, Ron met a young singer-songwriter who had been working as Bette Midler's pianist
and arranger. Ron thought highly of this talented young man and offered to produce him if he would consider recording under
his own name. Consider it he did, and Ron went on to produce Barry Manilow's first ten albums, all huge successes. Ron
would go on to produce sessions for other singers, such as Cher and Irene Cara, as well as stage plays including Ain't Misbehavin'.
Today Ron is picking
up the singing career he briefly put on hold during his producing years. His CD, Favorites, released in late 1999, is
a collection of Ron's favorite songs from the late sixties, as he put it, "songs I wished I'd done." Ron's newest CD, Saturday
Night Blast, featuring remakes of still more 60's tunes plus a few original tracks, was released in September 2004. Ron moved
to Los Angeles in the early 90's and today is busy touring, recording and working on the business end of his chosen craft.
2017 Update: Below are Amazon
links to currently available Ron Dante music (CD, MP3, streaming)—including the newest offering, the Ron Dante