The Music of The Cuff Links


Introduction to The Cuff Links

The Cuff Links are American rock/bubblegum pop studio group headed by Ron Dante, who also formed and headed a fictional group The Archies (of “Sugar, Sugar” fame). Formed during the late 60s music era, the group’s biggest hit was 1969’s “Tracy,” still their best-known effort. Their other modest hits include “When Julie Comes Around,” “Robin’s World” and “Run Sally Run” before breaking up.

Ron Dante and The Cuff Links

The Cuff Links is the name of a Staten Island, New York studio pop group formed in 1969. They were an American bubblegum pop/rock group which was led by Ron Dante. Dante also used to be a member of the parody group The Detergents of “Leader of the Laundromat” fame during the early 1960s. He was also featured as “member” a fictional cartoon pop group The Archies, whose hit “Sugar, Sugar” became one of the biggest bubblegum pop hits of the late 1960s.

The Cuff Links hitting the chart with “Tracy”

In 1969, The Cuff Links released their debut single “Tracy” on Decca Records. The song charted at #9 on the Billboard Hot 100 and enjoyed its stay for 12 weeks. It also went to #5 on the easy listening (adult contemporary) singles chart. “Tracy” was a million-selling hit and it was given a gold disc.

The Cuff Links’ other releases

Later that year, the album Tracy was released and eventually went to #138 on the Billboard 200 in 1970 Their second single “When Julie Comes Around” peaked at #41 on the national chart and #10 in the UK singles chart. The album’s liner notes featured a “story” of how Vance and Pockriss discovered the “seven-member group” (which according to the same liner notes later grew into nine-strong group). However, the album didn’t name each of the members nor feature any pictures of them.

When The Cuff Links were about to embark on a tour, Vance and Pockriss formed a seven-member touring band. They consisted of Joe Cord on vocals, Pat Rizzo on saxophone, Rich Dimino on keyboards, Dave Lavender on guitar, Andrew “Junior” Denno on bass, Danny Valentine on drums and Bob Gill on trumpet, flugelhorn and flute. However, Dante chose not to tour with them and instead signed a solo contract with the help of Archies creator Don Krishner. Vance and Dante had a dispute regarding Dante’s royalties on the first album. It was later settled after a closed door meeting between them.

In 1970, The Cuff Links issued their self-titled LP which was again produced by Vance and Pockriss. The album’s first single “Run Sally Run” peaked modestly at #76 on the pop charts. It was also their last entry on the Billboard Hot 100. It was followed by their final single “Robin’s World” which failed to enter the pop chart but made to the Top 40 easy listening chart. Further records were released between 1972 and 1975 on Atco Roulette labels, aso produced by Vance and Pockriss, but all of which flopped.

In 1999 singer-songwriter Michael “Valentine” Ubriano was granted the right to lead the Cuff Links on their tours. The touring band also includes Valentine and is still active performing up to the present.

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