In this song, Gary U.S. Bonds sings about staying up till quarter to three in the morning, dancing to the swinging sax of Daddy G.
Daddy G is Gene Barge, tenor saxman in an instrumental group called The Church Street Five, which released a song called "A Night With Daddy G" that reached #111 in February 1961. Like Bonds, The Church Street Five were signed to Legrand Records, owned by former record store owner Frank Guida. Bonds wrote a lyric for the song and recorded it (with Daddy G on saxophone) as "Quarter To Three." In June 1961, it went to #1, where it stayed for two weeks.
This song has a party vibe, with the sounds of revelry and a rough-hewn production making use of echo and phase shifting. This gave the song a lot of energy and bucked the trend of the time, which was very smooth recordings.
The writing credits on this song go to Bonds and the three men who wrote the instrumental on which it is based, "A Night With Daddy G": Gene Barge, Frank Guida, and Guida's engineer and songwriting partner Joe Royster.
Bonds' real name is Gary Anderson. His label boss, Frank Guida, changed it to "U.S. Bonds" for his first single, "New Orleans," as a play on the posters asking Americans to "buy U.S. savings bonds." Pretty clever, but too many people, including many DJs, got it wrong and thought it was the name of a group. His next single, "Quarter To Three," was initially issued as U.S. Bonds but soon changed to Gary U.S. Bonds, along with his subsequent releases.
Bruce Springsteen, a big fan of Bonds, played this at many of his concerts in the '70s before and after his rise to stardom. When Springsteen played The Palladium in New York City on October 29, 1976, he brought Bonds on stage to perform the song. By this time, Bonds had long fallen out of favor (his last Hot 100 hit was in 1962 with "Copy Cat") and stuck on the cabaret circuit. Springsteen worked at a breakneck pace for the next few years, but found time after the release on his 1980 album The River to work with Bonds, resulting in a successful 1981 comeback album for Bonds called Dedication.
Springsteen wrote a lot more songs than he could record, and three of them went to Bonds: "This Little Girl," "Your Love" and the title track. Springsteen and members of his E Street band also played on the album and worked on the production. "This Little Girl" was a hit, going to #11 in the US and reviving Bonds' career. When Springsteen brought Bonds on stage a few times in 1981, the crowds were far more familiar with him. In 1982, Springsteen and his band worked on another album for Bonds: On the Line.
"Daddy G" got another mention a few months later when he showed up in the lyric to The Dovells song "Bristol Stomp," where they sing about how they "rocked with Daddy G." That song went to #2 in October 1961.
Bonds sued Chubby Checker in 1962, claiming he stole "Quarter To Three" for his song "Dancin' Party." The case was settled out of court.