“Quarter to Three” is a popular song, adapted and expanded from “A Night with Daddy ‘G’ – Part 1” (Legrand LEG 1004), an instrumental by the Church Street Five, which was written by Gene Barge, Frank Guida and Joseph Royster, and sung by Gary U.S. Bonds. The song became a number-one hit on the Billboard Hot 100 in the United States on June 26, 1961, and remained there for two weeks.
The 45rpm single of “A Night with Daddy ‘G'” identifies the composers by their last names only – Barge, Guida, Royster – and identifies the music publisher as Pepe Music (BMI). The Legrand Records 45 release of the vocal “Quarter to Three” version adds “Anderson” to the author credits, since that was Bonds’ birthname and he supplied the vocal arrangement.
The single was recorded with very rough sound quality (compared to other records at the time). Producer Frank Guida has been quoted on subsequent CD reissues that his production sound was exactly what he wanted it to sound like. Noted British producer and columnist Jack Good felt compelled to devote his entire Disc magazine column to praising the “fuzzy, muzzy, and distorted” sound of the U.S. Bonds hit release. The article was subtitled “This record could never have been made in Britain”.
Members of the Church Street Five (otherwise known as Gene Barge’s band) Played on this record and all of the other Legrand and S.P.Q.R releases (including Jimmy Soul’s sides as well). Members of this group included Ron “Junior” Farley on bass, Willie Burnell on piano, Leonard Barks on trombone, and Emmet Shields on druns. Eric Shauls and Wayne Beckner also played guitar on this record and various other records produced by Frank Guida (Earl Swanson played the sax solo on this side as well).
The UK release on Top Rank International JAR 575 reached number 11 in the UK chart on September 2, 1961. The record’s B-side is “Time Ole Story” (Beckner).
Dion DiMucci stated that “Quarter to Three” was the inspiration for his hit “Runaround Sue”, which was written by Dion and Ernie Maresca.
Bill Wyman of the Rolling Stones covered this song for his 1976 solo album Stone Alone.
The song was sung regularly by Bruce Springsteen as a show closer on the Born to Run tours and the Darkness Tour appearing on the Hammersmith Odeon London ’75 concert document and, as performed in 1979, the No Nukes film.
The song was sung for Clarence Clemons in 1992 at the concert of Ringo Starr and His All-Starr Band.
“Quarter to Three” appears on The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s 500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll list.