A Lover's Concerto

Album: The Toys Sing A Lover's Concerto and Attack! (1965)
Charted: 5 2
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  • 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 a Songfacts interview with Denny Randell, he explained that he started listening to "Minuet In G" at an early age. "I must have been about five, six," 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, told Songfacts that the song's producer, Charlie Calello, had the arrangement laid out, and the two guitarists played "chicks." What's a chick? Casale 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."

    Casale 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."
  • This song was recorded at Olmstead Recording Studio in New York City. The song's producer, Charles Calello, also recorded Lou Christie's "Lightnin' Strikes," The Four Seasons' "Let's Hang On!," and Soupy Sales' "Do The Mouse" at that studio.
  • This song was an influence on The Supremes hit "I Hear A Symphony," which was released a short time later, giving Motown their first #1 hit with elements of classical music.
  • This song shows up in the 2020 Hulu movie Palm Springs, where a couple sing it at their daughter's wedding. The mother introduces it by saying: "We're going to perform a song we learned as little girls. It's a song I want you two to remember when you run into hard times. Love can get you through anything. This is 'A Lover's Concerto.'"

    I also appears in the movies Mr. Holland's Opus (1995), The Last Supper (1995), and My Rainy Days (2009).

Comments: 34

  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn this day in 1965 {October 24th} "A Lover's Concerto" by the Toys peaked at #2 {for 3 weeks} on Billboard's Top 100* chart, for its first week at #2, the #1 record for that week was "Yesterday" by the Beatles, and for it's 2nd and 3rd week at #2, "Get Off Of My Cloud" by the Rolling Stones was in the top spot...
    " Lover's Concerto" reached #4 on Billboard's Best Selling R&B Singles chart...
    Between September of 1965 and September of 1966 the New York trio had four records on the Top 100 chart, with the above "A Lover's Concerto" being their biggest hit...
    Besides "A Lover's Concerto", their three other Top 100 records were "Attack" {#18 in 1966}, "May My Heart Be Cast In Stone" {#85 in 1966}, and "Baby Toys" {#76 in 1966}...
    * And from the 'For What It's Worth' department, the remainder of the Top 10 on October 24th, 1965:
    At #3. "Get Off Of My Cloud" by The Rolling Stones
    #4. "Keep On Dancing" by The Gentrys
    #5. "Everybody Loves A Clown" by Gary Lewis and the Playboys
    #6. "Treat Her Right" by Roy Head and the Traits
    #7. "You're The One" by The Vogues
    #8. "Positively 4th Street" by Bob Dylan
    #9. "Hang On Sloopy" by The McCoys
    #10. "1-2-3" by Len Barry
  • Catherine Todd from Phoenix, AzOne of the most beautiful songs ever. I was only 7 when it came out, but it stuck with me forever.
  • Chris from AlbuquerqueI always loved this song. I also thought it was a hit not because of the singer, but in spite her. Her voice just wasn't up to the material. Just imagine if Linda Ronstadt ha sung it.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn December 31st 1966, Mrs. Miller* performed a covered version "Downtown" on the ABC-TV program 'American Bandstand'...
    Earlier in 1966 on April 24th her version entered Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart for a four week stay, peaking at #82...
    On the same 'Bandstand' show she also performed the record's B-side, a covered version of the Toys' "A Lover's Concerto", it also made the Top 100 and reached #95 on its 2nd and last week on the chart...
    * Mrs. Miller was Elva Ruby Connes Miller; she passed away on July 5th, 1997 at the age of 89...
    May she R.I.P.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn October 28th 1965, the Toys performed "A Lover's Concerto" on the weekly ABC-TV program 'Shindig!'...
    At the time the song was in its first of three weeks at #2 on Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart {See second post below}
    R.I.P. Jimmy O'Neill {Shindig's host, 1940 -2013}.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn March 27th 1966, Sarah Vaughan's covered version of "A Lover's Concerto" entered Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart at position #87; four weeks later on April 24th, 1966 it peaked at #63 {for 1 week} and spent 6 weeks on the Top 100...
    Between 1947 and 1966 she had thirty-three Top 100 records; five made the Top 10, "Nature Boy" {#9 in 1948}, "(I Love the Girl) I Love the Guy" {#10 in 1950}, "Make Yourself Comfortable" {#6 in 1955}, "Whatever Lola Wants" {#6 in 1955}, and "Broken-Hearted Melody" {#7 in 1959}...
    She just missed having three more Top 10 records when "It's Magic" {1948}, "These Things I Offer you (for a Lifetime)" {1951}, and "C'est La Vie" {1955} all peaked at #11...
    'The Divine One' passed away on April 3rd, 1990 at the age of 66.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn September 5th 1965, "A Lover's Concerto" by the Toys entered Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart at position #98, and on October 24th, 1965 it peaked at #2 {for 3 weeks} and spent 15 weeks on the Top 100...
    On October 19th, 1965 it reached #1 {for 2 weeks} on the Canadian RPM 100 Singles chart...
    During its 1 week at #2 on the Top 100, the Beatles' "Yesterday" was #1 and for weeks 2 & 3 the Rolling Stones' "Get Off My Cloud" held the top spot...
    A year later in 1966 Mrs. Miller, aka Elva Ruby Connes Miller, covered the song, her version stayed on the Top 100 for 2 weeks, peaking at #95...
    The Toys, a trio from Jamaica, NY, had three other records make the Top 100 chart; "Attack" {at #18 in 1966}, "May My Heart Be Cast In Stone" {at #85 in 1966}, and "Baby Toys" {at #76 in 1966}.
  • Rocky from Fort Smith, ArI 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!
  • Gene from San Diego, CaGreat song by The Toys. The Supremes also did a very nice cover.
  • Dusty from St. Louis, MoThis 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"
  • Jerro from New Alexandria, PaI 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!
  • Dave from Pittsbrugh, PaI had this song stuck in my head for a week and I was ready to strangle somebody!
  • Michael from Burnley, United Kingdomno one should have covered this song the vocalist sings it so sweetly
  • Brad from Flint, MiI'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.
  • James from San Diego, CaIt'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 from San Diego, CaThe Fleetwoods of "Mr. Blue" fame also did a version of this song.
  • Reginald Lewis from Vallej, ArubaI remember this song because it alwyas was always playing in my doctor's office. It made my doctor visit less intimidating.
  • Robert from Randolph, NjThe last eight measures are the most euphoric, uplifting sounds I know. Someone cued the angels.
  • Robert from San Diego, CaAngela, The song on the reverse side was "This Night"
  • Rich from El Segundo, CaI'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?
  • Jerro from New Alexandria, PaFor 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!
  • Angela from Grafton, AustraliaI 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.
  • Orly from Calgary, Canada"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.
  • Steve from Melbourne, AustraliaHow dare Mrs Mills do this to a perfect little gem of 60s pop, you go girls !
  • Dreamer from Bangkok, ThailandMy 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.
  • Linda from Stevens, PaThis 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!
  • Jonathan from Vancouver, Canadaperhaps 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.
  • Howard from St. Louis Park, MnThis 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.
  • Tanya from Los Angeles, CaThis is truly a beautiful song from a girl group! I love it!
  • Marsha from Fort Worth, TxA 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.
  • Swanet from Hengelo, NetherlandsAlso copied by Diana Ross & The Supremes, Sarah Vaughan, Jane Morgan, Kelly Chen and Floyd Cramer Orch.
    Mrs.Miller's version is hilarious!
  • Miki from Hanoi, OtherWonderful !This is the first song I want to listen again and again !
  • Cameron from Sydney, AustraliaThis 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
  • Claus from Peacehaven, Englandhave you heard the version my "Mrs. Mills"?? It was featured on an Album entitled: The worst songs ever
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