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Gary U.S. Bonds

American rhythm and blues singer

Armando Bellmas
Armando Bellmas
Gary U.S. Bonds

Today on Ecléctico you're listening to rhythm and blues singer Gary U.S. Bonds. He had a big hit with this song in 1961 and made a comeback in the early 80s with the help of Bruce Springsteen and Little Steven, both of whom wrote songs and produced a string of albums with him during that era. You'll go deeper with an excerpt from an article by Tom Breihan on Stereogum.

"Quarter to Three" by Gary U.S. Bonds
1961 | American rhythm and blues singer

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“Quarter To Three” sounds like chaos. The song opens with muffled crowd noise and a bandleader counting off the beginning of a song. It’s not a live recording, but it sounds like one — and not even like a good one. It sounds like an amazing party happening down the street — wild, frenzied, mysterious, its sound obscured by what might as well be a couple of sets of walls. In any era, it’s crazy that a record this lo-fi managed to hit #1. In the pre-Beatles era where labels were pushing cleaned-up teenage dreamboats, it seems especially strange.

“Quarter To Three” is both for dancing and about dancing. Gary U.S. Bonds, the Florida-born and Virginia-based singer behind the song, roars out, “Don’t you know I danced, I danced till a quarter to three / With the help that night of Daddy G.” Daddy G is Gene Barge, the saxophone player who co-wrote the song and who honked frantically all through it. (It’s not the guy from Massive Attack.) So “Quarter To Three” is self-promotion, too: Come see this band! They will keep you dancing until late at night!

United States

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