Top 10 Andy Kim Songs

Andy Kim Songs

Feature Photo: Feld Brothers Management Corp., Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

The top 10 Andy Kim songs were mostly hits that were released between the late 1960s and the first half of the 1970s. In 1969, he first became an international star with “Baby, I Love You.” This happened again in 1974 with “Rock Me Gently.” In addition to becoming a globally recognized singer-songwriter, the Quebecois also co-wrote the 1968 hit, “Sugar, Sugar,” performed by the Archies. He, along with Jeff Barry, wrote a number of songs together for the Archies, as well as the Monkees.

Getting Started

Born as Andy Youakim on December 5, 1946, the man who adopted the stage name of Andy Kim, grew up in Montreal, Quebec, before moving to New York City to pursue a music career. As a son of Lebanese immigrants, the reason behind the name change was also to keep his ethnic heritage private. He did, however, have his earliest songs released with his real name used in the songwriting credits. The start of Kim’s recording career was in 1968 with the debut album, How’d We Ever Get This Way. The single with the same title became the first of a collection of songs released by Kim that would become hits on the official music charts. In 1969, Kim released two additional singles. The first was “Rainbow Ride” and the second was “Baby, I Love You.” The success of Kim’s recordings that year led to his first win at the Canadian Gold Leaf Awards as Best Male Vocalist in 1970.

Since the start of his career, Andy Kim’s niche as a songwriter focused on a musical technique known as Brill Building. It was a common term used in the music industry to describe the merged musical influences of various styles. This was extremely popular from the late 1950s until the late 1960s. While growing up as a fan of music, Andy Kim’s interest in records relied on more than just each song’s entertainment value.

He wanted to know what was the inspiration behind the song and how was it put together. This is what sparked his interest to move to the Brill Building in New York City as a music student looking to make a career in an industry Kim loved the most. Whenever Kim purchased Billboard magazines during this time frame, he visited the record companies based on the addresses that were listed. Inside the Brill Building alone, there were several music industry offices and recording studios that established a track record of producing some of the most popular music of all time.

Prior to signing up with Steed Records, Kim was already familiar with Jeff Barry’s work. When music critics and fans took note of how Kim’s music often paralleled the same style as Neil Diamond, both of these men were once upon a time residents of the infamous Brill Building. This iconic building became famous for maintaining a level of professionalism from a talent pool of recording artists who often played off each other whenever it came to composing, writing, and performing music.

Until 1971, Andy Kim was Jeff Barry’s main man from a roster of recording artists before financial woes and the changing trends of the music industry dissolved Steed Records as its own label. It was taken over by Famous Records and Paramount Records. When Steed was no more, Barry moved to California and that was the end of the steady working relationship between him and Andy Kim. From there, Kim chose to reinvent himself which would include undergoing a few different stage name changes.

Longfellow

While still working with Steed as his record label, Andy Kim had a preference for studio recordings over live performances. This came about after observing the fans were taken by surprise by his dark skin color that came with his Lebanese ancestry. The persona of “Andy Kim” gave most of them the impression he was a white man with a Californian-style personality. It was also during a time when Andy Kim purposely sang his earlier songs with a vocal style that made him sound younger than he really was. So in 1976, he altered the spelling of his name to Andy Kimm before taking on a new stage name, Baron Longfellow.

Under that pseudonym, he released “Shady Hollow Dreamer” in 1978. He also recorded and released Baron Longfellow which produced the hit single “Amour” in 1980. This was followed by 1984’s Prisoner by Design. In 1991, now strictly as Longfellow, “Powerdrive” was released as a single that received considerable airplay across Canadian radio stations.

Andy Kim’s Legacy

The legacy of Andy Kim and his music includes a 2005 Indy Award win for Favorite Solo Artist. This was the same year the music video “Love Is…” was released. That same year featured the release of “What Ever Happened to Christmas,” along with what became the first of many annual Andy Kim Christmas children’s charity events. In 2009, he was inducted into the Hit Parade Hall of Fame. Nine years later, he earned a star on Canada’s Walk of Fame, which was followed by the 2019 induction to the Canadian Music Hall of Fame. In 2023, Andy Kim was recognized as an Office of the Order of Canada. Since 1977, he’s been married to Bing Crosby’s former daughter-in-law, Sandra Jo Drummond. From 1958 to 1963, she was the wife to Phillip Crosby, one of Bing’s four sons who also happened to be the twin brother to Dennis.

As a recording artist, Andy Kim has produced ten studio albums, three compilation albums, and twenty-eight singles. The most recent of these recordings was the 2015 album, It’s Decided, a collaborated effort he shared with Kevin Drew. Drew is one of the founders behind the Toronto-based baroque-pop group known as Broken Social Scene. Together, Kim and Drew released “Longest Time,” which became a favorite among their fans in Ontario and Quebec. What It’s Decided and “Longest Time” represented when it was released in 2015 was Andy Kim’s quality level as a singer-songwriter. Even after fifty years, his knack for putting together timeless tunes hasn’t waned.

Top 10 Andy Kim Songs

#10 – Rainbow Ride

On the Canadian Top Singles Chart, “Rainbow Ride” became a minor hit for Andy Kim after it peaked as high as number forty-three in 1968. It became a number forty-nine hit on the US Billboard Hot 100. As a record, Rainbow Ride continued the bubblegum-style pop Kim’s debut of “How’d We Ever Get This Way?” did. However, this was a somewhat cheerier number as Kim used varying musical sounds from twangy electric sitar to fuzz guitar to the wah-wah. “Rainbow Ride” was a song that romanticized the highs and lows that came with the expansion of a musical genre known as rock and roll. While folk and rock often danced with each other, Kim leaned in favor of pop music that was meant to be enjoyed without worrying about political or social issues.

 

#9 – Longest Time (featuring Kevin Drew)

“Longest Time,” was the result of a collaborative performance by two Canadian recording artists. Andy Kim teamed up with Broken Social Scene’s Kevin Drew to record and released It’s Decided in 2015. This was a recording project the fans were already made aware of when Drew announced in an interview he’d be working with the legendary “Sugar, Sugar” songwriter, Andy Kim. The concept behind the album came to Kim as he was determined to prove to the world there was more to him than releasing a hit song or two as a recording artist. It was also an album designed to feature a tracklist of songs focusing on living a good life as one gets older and wiser over the course of time. “Longest Time” covered this as a cinematic gem as Kim proved he still had the chops to perform as a world-class vocalist and songwriting genius.

 

#8 – Shoot ‘Em Up Baby

The second single Andy Kim would experience a hit on the music charts was “Shoot ‘Em Up Baby.” On the Canadian Top Singles Chart, it peaked as high as number twenty-nine. On the US Billboard Hot 100, at number thirty-one. On the official singles chart belonging to Australia, “Shoot ‘Em Up Baby” squeaked in at number ninety-six. This bubblegum-style classic would later be covered as a dreamy wave in 2015 when Andy Kim collaborated with Ontario-based Kevin Drew for the production of It’s Decided.

While both versions are great, the original “Shoot ‘Em Up Baby” demonstrated a brand of innocent fun during a musical era that focused heavily on political and social issues that were making headline news at the time. After “Shoot ‘Em Up Baby,” was first released as a single in 1968 there was a mistaken publication by a newspaper from Seattle, Washington as it suggested the song made direct reference to drugs. This was a misconception as Kim never was a user. The song was about enjoying a night out on the town like a bunch of cowboys. Instead of getting angry about it, Andy Kim wrote the newspaper a thank-you note as Seattle’s failure to properly understand what “Shoot ‘Em Up” was about spiked the interest of music listeners to hear it for themselves.

 

#7 – I Forgot to Mention

2004 marked the return of Andy Kim as a recording artist since 1984. It was the first time since 1974 he reverted back to producing music with the same stage name he started out with. During the 80s and the early 90s, he went by the name of Baron Longfellow. “I Forgot to Mention” became a number-ten hit in Canada, as well as a comeback classic. What made “I Forgot to Mention” such a beaut was the romanticism Kim poured into the song as a maturing songwriter.

It was clear he still had a flair for writing quality pop music that focused more on the pleasures of life instead of whatever new troubles the world had gotten itself into now. Often, people forget to tell someone how much they love those closest to them. Too often people don’t take the time to appreciate what they have while in the moment. “I Forgot to Mention” was a wonderful feel-good song about one person enjoying another person’s company, like two peas sharing the same pod.

 

#6 – Resurrection

What makes “Resurrection” so appealing is the stark contrast it had with the rest of Andy Kim’s musical material from his debut album, How’d We Ever Get This Way. Instead of the bubblegum-pop approach that became an Andy Kim trademark, “Resurrection” was uncharacteristically eerie. The funeral tempo, plus the depressive orchestral grandeur and the circus-style bridges between each verse made this one of Kim’s most unusual songs he ever wrote and performed throughout his entire career as a recording artist. What “Resurrection” did as a song was highlight the contrast of style Kim was able to pull off so well. This song is a rare treat from one of the most gifted songwriters the music industry has ever known.

 

#5 – How’d We Ever Get This Way?

On the Canadian Top Singles Chart in 1968, “How’d We Ever Get This Way?” became a number nine hit. It peaked as high as number twenty-one on the US Billboard Hot 100. This was also a hit in Australia as it charted as high as number sixty-four. This was the first hit single for Andy Kim, despite the fact he was already recording music since 1963. It was also the title track of his debut album, one which would also mark the beginning of an impressive recording career that spanned over five decades.

When Kim started out as a recording artist, he worked with Jeff Barry under Barry’s Steed Records. From 1967 until 1971, this New York City-based label was the base of operations for these two men as Kim’s career continued to blossom. “How’d We Ever Get This Way?” was a song that shared similarities to the musical material produced by the iconic Neil Diamond while he was with Bang’s lineup. Moody and melodic at the same time, this was a song that performed like a bridge between the bubblegum classics and the dreamy dramatics Kim was best known for.

 

#4 – Be My Baby

“Be My Baby” was a 1963 classic performed by the Ronettes. This was the American all-girl group’s biggest hit that has also been recognized as one of the greatest songs ever recorded. This song inspired so many musicians over the course of time. The drum phrase in this iconic song has become one of the most replicated by performers in their own musical material. In 1964, Brian Wilson from the Beach Boys wrote “Don’t Worry Baby” as his response to “Be My Baby.”

Among the recording artists who covered “Be My Baby,” Andy Kim and Jody Miller come out on top as the talents who did these best. Kim’s version in 1970 became a number six hit on the Canadian Top Singles Chart and a number seventeen hit on the US Billboard Hot 100. It also became a number thirty-six hit in Australia and a number twenty-four hit in Germany. Deservedly so, “Be My Baby” and the Ronettes earned a spot in the United States National Recording Registry by the Library of Congress.

 

#3 – Baby, I Love You

“Baby, I Love You” became a number-one hit on the Canadian Top Singles Chart after it was released as a single in 1969. It also earned Andy Kim a Juno Award for Best Male Vocalist in 1970. At the time, it was referenced as the Gold Leaf Award, the Canadian equivalent of the Grammy Awards. On the US Billboard Hot 100, “Baby, I Love You” peaked as high as number nine.

This song became Andy Kim’s first certified gold hit by the RIAA but it wouldn’t be his last. He’d achieve this again after the 1974 release of “Rock Me Gently.” Always the romantic, Andy Kim seemed to pour his heart out in the form of a song as a singer and a writer. “Baby, I Love You” was no exception but it did win over a much larger fan base, thanks to its hooky melodic that was so popular at the time.

 

#2 – Rock Me Gently

After the 1974 release of “Rock Me Gently,” it was the first single since “Baby, I Love You” that earned Andy Kim his second certified gold disc by the Recording Industry Association of America. It was a number-one hit on the US Billboard Hot 100 and on the Canadian Top Singles Chart. On the official UK Singles Chart, it peaked as high as number two. In 2008, there was also a sped-up version of this song that was featured in a Jeep Liberty commercial that included Andy Kim’s name on the display screen shortly after the visual ad campaign started.

At the time of recording, Andy Kim experienced a three-year drought as a big hitmaker. He, along with Jeff Barry’s Steed Records found themselves left in the dust as the trends of the music industry moved on in favor of different sounds. Instead of getting depressed about his situation, Kim created his own record label and financed “Rock Me Gently” as a single on the A-side of a record while placing the instrumental version of it on the B-side. It was enough to win over the interest of Capitol Records as they signed Kim up before “Rock Me Gently” was officially released as a single. As for the instrumental version, this became a popular favorite among radio stations favoring R&B music.

 

#1 – Sugar, Sugar (performed as the Archies)

Originally recorded by the Archies, the iconic “Sugar, Sugar” was a song written by the collaborated effort of Jeff Barry and Adam Kim. The band’s name came from the infamous Archie Comics series, as well as The Archie Show it spawned in 1968. This became a worldwide cult classic, topping the Canadian Top Singles Chart, the US Billboard Hot 100, and the UK Singles Chart. Of all the bubblegum-style pop songs ever produced, “Sugar, Sugar” remains at the very top as the all-time favorite.

No other song has won the hearts of so many music fans as “Sugar, Sugar” has. Other nations that witnessed this legendary cult classic peak at number one are Belgium, Brazil, Denmark, Germany, Ireland, Mexico, Norway, Rhodesia, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, and Sweden. In sales, “Sugar, Sugar” sold over six million copies all over the world. In the United States alone, three million. It became certified gold by the RIAA and silver by the British Phonographic Industry.

So, if the song was credited to the Archies, where does Andy Kim fit in? While Ron Dante was indeed the lead singer that performed the lyrics to “Sugar, Sugar,” Kim was one of the backing vocals that was instrumentally responsible for its success. He, along with Toni Wine, matched Dante’s singing performance beautifully which made “Sugar, Sugar” such a harmonious classic.

They were also part of the unforgettable handclapping, as was another musical legend, Ray Stevens. As a unit, the Archies delivered what was so much more than an incredible hit song. “Sugar, Sugar” became a pop icon that still holds fast as a timeless classic. As impressive as Wilson Pickett’s R&B version was in 1970, nothing truly beats the original. However, Pickett’s version offered a special flavor that altered the song’s vibe. He also slightly altered the title from “Sugar, Sugar” to “Sugar Sugar.” As good as it was, it’s not quite as memorable as the one the Archies performed. On February 5, 2006, “Sugar, Sugar” was inducted into the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame since Quebecois Andy Kim was one half of the songwriting team.

 

Top 10 Andy Kim Songs article published on Classic RockHistory.com© 2023

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