Gary U.S. Bonds – Quarter To Three

I must admit I never heard of Bonds until Bruce Springsteen wrote a song for him called This Little Girl on Bond’s 1981 Dedication album.

Bruce covered this song in the seventies live. One performance in paticular was outstanding… the 1979 No Nukes concert encore (at the bottom).

I like Gary’s version a lot because of the party atmosphere which contrasts to the smoother records at the time.

After listening to the lyrics…I wondered who Daddy G was…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.

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.

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.  They would be Gene Barge (Daddy G), Frank Guida, and Guida’s engineer and songwriting partner Joe Royster.

Daddy G was a popular guy…he 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 1961.

The song went to #1 in the Billboard 100, #3 on the R&B Charts, and #7 in the UK in 1961.

From Songfacts

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.

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.

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.

Bonds sued Chubby Checker in 1962, claiming he stole “Quarter To Three” for his song “Dancin’ Party.” The case was settled out of court.

Quarter To Three

Don’t you know that I danced
I danced till a quarter to three
With the help, last night, of Daddy G
He was swingin on the sax like a nobody could
And I was dancin’ all over the room
Oh, don’t you know the people were dancin’
Like they were mad
It was the swingin’est band they had ever had
It was the swingin’est song that could ever be
It was a night with Daddy G
Let me tell you now
I never had it so good
Yeah and I know you never could
Until you get hip with that jive
And take a band like the Church Street Five
Oh don’t you know that I danced
I danced till a quarter to three
With the help last night of Daddy G
Everybody was as happy as they could be
And they were swingin with Daddy G
Blow Daddy

Let me tell you now
I never had it so good
Yeah and I know you never could
Until you get hip with that jive
And take a band like the Church Street Five
Oh don’t you know that I danced
I danced till a quarter to three
With the help last night of Daddy G
He was swingin on the sax like nobody could
And I was dancin all over the room
Oh don’t you know the
Dance, do bee wa dah
Dance, do bee wah dah
You can dance, do bee wah dah
You can dance, dance, dance

Author: Badfinger (Max)

Power Pop fan, Baseball fan, old movie and tv show fan... and a songwriter, bass and guitar player.

30 thoughts on “Gary U.S. Bonds – Quarter To Three”

  1. His early stuff was well before my time too, so like most of you, it seems, I first heard of him in ’81 or ’82 with ‘This Little Girl’ and the Dedication LP, which I liked. It was good of Bruce to use his fame to help Bonds get his career going again after nothing at all (commercially) for over a decade.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Yeh, he’s ok. I hadn’t heard of Bruce until my friend Daniel Olsen at school put me onto him well after Born in the USA. Latecomer I was. Daniel was obsessed and had everything of his. I borrowed everything. I transcribed for ear the whole Born To Run record in a lyric book I made. I still think it’s in the top 3 to 5 records of history. How did you come across him at the start?

        Liked by 1 person

      2. The River is where I got in…yea some Bruce fans stopped liking him after Born In the USA becasue he was so “commercial” which I thought was crazy. He just evolved.
        I love Born in the USA. My favorite is his debut album Greetings From Ashbury Park…which I didn’t find until after Born in the USA.

        Like

      3. Born is a protest song, which many didn’t understand nor politicians. I must admit today I saw a book at the supermarket with him and Obama on sale at the front aisle. I don’t like that, not that I dislike Obama but Bruce getting political is not my scene. His debut album is great. His early stuff.. Brilliant. What he’s doing now, not sure.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. It’s funny about Bruce. In the old days..he kept all of that so guarded…then boom he was everywhere spouting it. It’s his choice but any musician getting too political gets on my nerves…look at Madonna and Ted Nugent….both irritate me.

        Yea politicians only heard the chorus…they didn’t listen to it.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Great song. I’m sure I read somewhere that they recorded it using the wrong equipment, or that they hadn’t realised that it was being recorded, which is why it sounds a but muffled and far-off, but decided to release it anyway as it sounded so raw. Which was a great decision in my book

    Liked by 1 person

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