Quarter To Three

Album: Dance 'Til Quarter to Three (1961)
Charted: 7 1

Songfacts®:

  • In this song, Gary U.S. Bonds sings about staying up til 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 singed 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.

Comments: 8

  • Barry from Sauquoit, Nyhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MisEdV89Yp8
  • Rich from New JerseyThis song hit #1 the week I graduated from high school. The story that went around at the time is that it was recorded at a big party to celebrate the success of Gary's previous hit, "New Orleans." This would explain the poor quality and raucusness of the recording.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn March 18 1962, Gary "U.S." Bonds performed "Twist, Twist, Senora" on the CBS-TV program 'The Ed Sullivan Show'...
    Seven days later on March 25th, 1962 it entered Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart at #68; six weeks later on May 6th, 1962 it peaked at #9 {for 1 week} and spent 10 weeks on the Top 100...
    It was the last of his five Top 100 records; started with "New Orleans" {#6}, followed by "Quarter to Three" {#1 for 2 weeks}, "School is Out" {#5}, "Dear Lady Twist" {#9}, and then finally this one...
    Gary 'U.S.' Bonds; born Gary Levone Anderson, will celebrate his 76th birthday in three months on June 6th {2015}.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn February 21st 1961, 'A Night With Daddy G" by the Church Street Five peaked at #11 on Billboard's Bubbling Under the Top 100 chart; it never did make the Top 100 in its instrumental* form...
    But when lyrics were added, "Quarter to Three" would enter the Top 100 on May 22nd, 1961 at position #99, and five weeks later on June 26th, 1961 it would peak at #1 {for 2 weeks} and spent 15 weeks on the Top 100...
    * Actually "A Night with Daddy G" did have a few lyrics; they were 'Wop Wop, Oh Yeah'; and the song is available on You Tube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X5YWxO_lHsk.
  • Elmer H from Westville, OkQuarter to Three was a monster hit back in 1961 and a fav of teen dance parties & the dance-craze phenomenon at the time. Some of my older cousins bought the single & Bonds' album & I heard it from them & on the AM radios in the Tulsa metro area. I recall that the single 45 rpm sounded muffled and the production quality wasn't so good. Who produced this song? Was it produced in a port-a-potty? Well, after all it was in 1961. They could've used Phil Spector's expertise. Anyway, it made it to #1 despite that deficiency. . But I still love Quarter to Three. And another of Bonds' hits I absolutely go bonkers over is Dear Lady Twist (another of his many Top Ten hits). Check it out. Is Gary Bonds in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame??
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyThe closing song on Bruce Springsteen's first concert {Providence, RI} of his legendary "Born To Run" tour in 1975...

  • Ron from Philadelphia, Pawhen this song was popular, there were rumors that there were suggestive or even explicit sexual references in the spoken words at the beginning, just before the main part of the song started. I'm surprised this isn't mentioned here.
  • Jay from Atlanta, GaAnother great song of his (written by Springsteen) was "Out Of Work", check it out, good stuff.
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