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A Lover's Concerto by The Toys

Album: The Toys Sing A Lover's Concerto and Attack!Released: 1965Charted:
2
5
  • The melody was adapted from "Minuet In G," a composition written by Christian Petzold. "Minuet In G" is often thought to be by Johann Sebastian Bach because it was included in a book of sheet music kept by Bach's wife Anna Magdalena. The song was written by Denny Randell and Sandy Linzer, who wrote all the original songs on the album and went to write some of the biggest hits for The Four Seasons. In our interview with Denny Randell, he explained that he started listening to "Minuet In G" at an early age. "I must have been about 5, 6" said Randell. "I was taking lessons at a very early age, and I loved that piece. It stuck with me. Over the years, I grew up and got more into music from a creative point of view. It's really interesting, throughout all my later teen years and when I first got into the business, I always had it on my mind that it would make a wonderful grounds for a pop song if done in the right way. At some point, finally, I just decided to write the song; it was time to put it together. It's in a different groove and it's a different time signature than the original piece; it was put into a form that could work for a Pop record at that time."
  • The title does not appear in the lyrics. Denny Randell told us how he came up with it: "In those days, I used to see a lot young girls, and they would like to write poetry of sorts. So I wanted this to be basically a romantic poem, and I came up with the title, which also reflected the classical background of 'A Lover's Concerto.' I just felt that it could work, I just had this feeling about it, even though it is not generally the way you write songs and hooks. The title was the combination of the feeling of both the lyric and the music. And it worked."
  • The Toys were Barbara Harris, Barbara Parritt and June Montiero. They met in high school and were signed by Lizer and Randell. This was their first single and biggest hit - the group broke up in 1968.
  • Ralph Casale, who played guitar on this track, tells us that the song's producer Charlie Calello had the arrangement laid out, and the two guitarists played "chicks." What's a chick? Ralph says: "Musicians used that word because when you pronounce the word 'chick,' with a heavy accent, it describes the sound produced when a guitarist strikes the first three strings of an electric guitar with a plectrum (pick) and the left hand stops the strings from resonating. You can also produce both the 'chicking' sound and a resonating sound at the same time. The rhythm pattern can be quarter notes, eighth notes or any pattern desired. The pattern used often was quarter notes on the second and forth beat of the measure. On 'Lovers Concerto' one guitarist played quarter notes on the second and fourth beat with one sound and the other played on all four beats with another sound."

    Ralph adds, "On this record Charlie wanted one guitar playing on two and four and the other playing on all four beats. The strings are struck in such a way that a chord sound and a chicking sound is produced. You can hear that effect on 'Lover's Concerto.' Charlie did a great job on that record. For me it was pretty much what we call 'straight ahead.' It was clever of the writers Denny Randell and Sandy Linzer combining their lyrics with a well known classical piece."
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Comments: 27

I recall this big hit for The Toys in 1965 because my girlfriend Bambi was absolutely crazy for the song. She hummed it & tried to sing it almost all day long at school & after hours. Bambi couldn't sing worth a hoot. And I think she was a bit weak-minded, but a sweet caring girl anyway. I got sick of it. Bambi sounded like she was calling the hogs!! However, I liked the record. I remember that in '65, most of the radio stations rated it at #1 because my sister kept most of the local radio's record chart leaflets they'd give out to their listeners. Let me say here that I watched a recent PBS-TV golden oldies special & it showed several Sixties stars performing their old hits. Stars like The Toys, The Orlons, Dee Dee Sharp, The Dixie-Cups (all 300 pounds of each one of them!), The Miracles, and more. Now, it's strange, but the Toys loked pretty good & sang just like the record---even after all these decades. Quite a performance!Rocky - Fort Smith, Ar
Great song by The Toys. The Supremes also did a very nice cover.Gene - San Diego, Ca
This made an appearance in the movie "Mr. Holland's Opus". When Mr. Holland is trying to teach his kids about music, he plays this and everyone is all "The Toys" and he's all like "No, it's Bach"Dusty - St. Louis, Mo
I took violin lessons from the ages of 6 to 17, and the original piece by Bach was one of the first songs I had to learn to play (I was 7 at the time); I heard this song for the first time on the radio sometime right before or during second grade (I can't remember if I was 7 or 8 at that time). From the first minute I heard this song at age 7/8, I knew the melody was familiar to me in someway or another. As I continued to listen to it, it immediately dawned on me that it was the same melody as Bach's Minuet! I don't remember if I had recommended this song to my violin teacher, but I think that would've been an excellent idea to do so!Jerro - New Alexandria, Pa
I had this song stuck in my head for a week and I was ready to strangle somebody!Dave - Pittsbrugh, Pa
no one should have covered this song the vocalist sings it so sweetlyMichael - Burnley, United Kingdom
I'll have to investigate further, but I think the backing musicians on this were none other than The Funk Brothers, who were the backing musicians for all the Motown acts (Supremes, Four Tops, Temps, Marvin Gaye, etc.). This was during the period where they often 'snuck' around to other recording studios to make extra money, but their unique 'sound' was undeniable.Brad - Flint, Mi
It's wasn't "Mrs. Mills", it was Mrs. Miller. She was a 59-year-old grandmother with a perfectly awful singing voice--off pitch and off tempo--who made the record charts back in '66 with her version of Petula Clark's "Downtown." Her debut album sold 250,000 copies in 3 weeks. You can read about her at www.mrsmillersworld.com.James - San Diego, Ca
The Fleetwoods of "Mr. Blue" fame also did a version of this song.James - San Diego, Ca
I remember this song because it alwyas was always playing in my doctor's office. It made my doctor visit less intimidating.Reginald Lewis - Vallej, Aruba
The last eight measures are the most euphoric, uplifting sounds I know. Someone cued the angels.Robert - Randolph, Nj
Angela, The song on the reverse side was "This Night"Robert - San Diego, Ca
I'm a bit of a trivia nut. This website is incredible! I too, heard speculation that this song wasn't Bachs, as stated by the editor's comments above, and I remember that on Mr Hollands Opus it was said to be Bach's. The only other reference I've read was a wikipedia entry-if I remember correctly it left it to speculation. DOES ANYONE KNOW FOR SURE?Rich - El Segundo, Ca
For those of you who are looking for a CD that contains the song (this comment is especially addressed to you, Cameron from Sydney, Australia), you'll be delighted to know that a CD reissue of the original LP The Toys Sing 'A Lover's Concerto' and 'Attack!' is available through different retailers, including Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and CDConnection. This is a must for anyone who wants the song without dealing with songs by different artists and who want to find out more about the Toys' career. Buy the album right away!Jerro - New Alexandria, Pa
I remember listening to the single when I was 4 years old...magic memory...does anyone remember what song was on the reverse side of the single. Cheers.Angela - Grafton, Australia
"A Lover's Concerto" of The Toys reaches # 2 in US Chart in 1965 & # 5 in UK Chart...was # 94 in Billboard Top 100 songs of 1966...Very nice song.Orly - Calgary, Canada
How dare Mrs Mills do this to a perfect little gem of 60s pop, you go girls !Steve - Melbourne, Australia
My girlfriend told me about this song. After I listened to it, the words really got into me. We have some songs who are very special for us, I listen to them every single day, first time in the morning, this is one of them. GO RAG P.R.Dreamer - Bangkok, Thailand
This beautiful song was playing on the radio when my boyfriend asked me to go steady. We made it "Our Song". 41 years later my boyfriend has been my husband now for 37 years,we have 2 grown children,3 beautiful grandchildren and to this day "Lovers Concerto" remains "Our Song". Our local Oldies Radio Station plays it for us every year on the morning of our wedding anniversary so we can have our dance and in between we play our 45 on our stereo. It's the best song ever!Linda - Stevens, Pa
perhaps because it is based on a classical song, this is one the few hits i have ever heard without a chorus (or without a verse, depending on how you look at it). there is just one part. even the "intstrumental bridge" just repeats the vocal melody. Great song, but kinda weird when you think about it.Jonathan - Vancouver, Canada
This song was one of the first songs I ever heard on the radio (along with 1-2-3 by Len Barry) and after 40 years I never get tired of hearing it.Howard - St. Louis Park, Mn
This is truly a beautiful song from a girl group! I love it!Tanya - Los Angeles, Ca
A Lover's Concerto is mentioned in the movie "Mr. Holland's Opus." In a very clever way, Mr. Holland (Richard Dreyfuss) teaches his students that this song is an adaptation from JS Bach. It is also part of the soundtrack.Marsha - Fort Worth, Tx
Also copied by Diana Ross & The Supremes, Sarah Vaughan, Jane Morgan, Kelly Chen and Floyd Cramer Orch.
Mrs.Miller's version is hilarious!
Swanet - Hengelo, Netherlands
Wonderful !This is the first song I want to listen again and again !Miki - Hanoi, Other
This little beauty of a song was released in early 1965 and still remains a favourite of mine. The song has terrific tune and rhythm, but is very hard to find.
If anyone has or knows where i can find a copy of it, please write.

21 Merinda Ave,
Baulkham Hills 2153
NSW Sydney Australia
Cameron - Sydney, Australia
have you heard the version my "Mrs. Mills"?? It was featured on an Album entitled: The worst songs everClaus - Peacehaven, England