Tue. Jul 23rd, 2024

Betty and Veronica, by Grover’s Mill (Muse Cycle #4)

I really love the world of Archie comics, and Betty and Veronica are just the most ideal fantasy girls. Why not write a song about them? The world of Riverdale is like some idyllic utopian dream where time seems to have stood still and Archie and the gang are forever young and always having the same old teen problems and adventures. These days of course Archie and friends are more up with the times: they say ‘cool’ and use smart phones and go to university, etc. But in my mind, they’re still living in the early Seventies, saying ‘groovy’ and Sugar Sugar is forever on the radio.

Yeah, I know this song is pretty cringe. Blame the crappy vocal which I could never get anywhere near right (oh Ron Dante – singer of Sugar Sugar – where are you?). Clearly, it’s a bubblegum, based largely on the arrangement and feel of The Archies’ Sugar Sugar, though the chords and melody are different. The main riff is the same notes as Sugar Sugar, just rearranged. I also included some ideas from The MonkeesLook Out, Here Comes Tomorrow, and there’s even a bit of The Partridge Family in there, plus others. You can play spot the reference with this one.

Some musical serendipity was at work with this song. I chose to quote that Monkees song mainly coz I liked that guitar riff. It was only afterward that I remembered it was a song about a guy having to choose between two girls, just like my song. Also, I wanted to include a percussive shaker sound on the track and, lacking a proper instrument, I looked around for something that would give that sound; and I found a box of Sugarine tablets, which sounded perfect. So I’m playing a Sugarine box on the track!

For such a low brow pop culture subject, this song had its origins in a French film by Eric Rohmer called A Tale Of Summer. Like in the song, the film’s hero is a young musician who has to choose between two lovers, one a girl next door type, and the other a more glamorous type. In the end, he chooses his music – a kind of liberation from commitment. This really resonated with me at the time. Although I’m labeling it a ‘muse song’, it’s not really about Betty and Veronica at all. It’s about Archie.

Included here as well is an alternate version with a radically different chorus that uses that Monkees riff. Which is ‘better’? 

Betty and Veronica, by Russell Forden

Betty is a girl next door,

And she’s the one that I adore.

She’s everything a boy could hope for.

I enjoy the time when we’re together,

I think that maybe it’s forever.

 

But Ronnie is a special thing,

I love the way she calls me Archiekins.

I’d never wanna give her the blues.

She makes me feel fine, why can’t they both be mine?

I don’t know which one I’m goin’ to choose.

 

So I’m rolling up my shirt sleeves, working on a song.

Take a month of Sundays, hope you sing along.

Trace an old melody, make it all brand new.

Put some words together, try to make ‘em true.

It feels good. Better than I thought that it would.

It’s real good. And I really got to say, I never felt this way,

Believe me.

 

The three of us have something groovy,

Think we’ll go and see a movie.

We’re having fun, but when it’s over –

I don’t know which one’s going home with me.

Here comes the jealousy.

 

I think about it all the time,

I’m caught up in the rhythm and rhyme.

It’s really got a hold of me.

Them two girls won’t quit, now it’s time to split.

This music’s gonna set me free.

 

So I’m rolling up my shirt sleeves, working on a song.

Take a month of Sundays, hope you dance along.

Trace an old melody, make it all brand new.

Put some words together, try to make ‘em true.

It feels good. Better than I thought that it would.

It’s real good. And I really got to say, I never felt this way,

Believe me.

 

Betty, I love you. Ronnie, I love you too.

But this old guitar, I really love you.

 

Betty and Veronica, you’re my sugar sugar.

Betty or Veronica, pick a tune on my guitar.

 

Betty and Veronica, pick a tune on my guitar.

Betty or Veronica, you’re my sugar sugar.

 

Ba ba baba ba ba-ba

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