Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Another Motown Smash Hit! -- The Toys - "Lover's Concerto" (1965)

This song took me years to track down.

I would hear it from time to time on "Oldies" radio stations in the early 80's,and loved the vocals and the lilting melody combined with that unmistakable Motown beat. This was back in the days when .45 records and cassettes where all the rage . A couple times I went to my local Tower Music Store and would ask for the song "How Gentle is the Rain?" Naturally nobody knew it because that was not the name of a song. Then one day a friend of mine and a major music collector played it at a small party I attended. I found out then and there that it had the curious title "A Lover's Concerto" and managed to locate it on a cassette collection of R&B hits.

This song was based on a piano finger exercise by none other than Johann Sebastian Bach. The ladies who sang this (Barbara Harris, Barbara Parritt, and June Montiero) were all from Jamaica, New York, who formed their group in 1961 when they were all teenagers.

Though they never became as big as The Supremes or Martha Reeves and The Vandellas , this song did hit Number Two in America and Number Five in the United Kingdom.

The trio toured for three years after this, and had one more hit called "Attack" which peaked at Number 18. (Hum, another curious song title.)

The group brokee up after changing labels and producers in 1968, but reformed in 1986 for a two-year run on the retro-music curcuit. Barbara Harris, the former main lead singer, is still an active performer and her website--which features more background o the group and some great pics--can be found here:


  1. I've always liked this song a lot. I kinew about Bach, of course, and one day I'd like to hear just the music.
    Very cool song,for sure.

  2. Yes, glad you enjoyed that one too Jacquie. I haven't heard the Bach version yet either.

  3. Good one. Funy they made them sing it from a seated position

  4. Good song Doug, the comodification of Gospel was a wonderful innovation I think, I like this one especially.

  5. Thanks Jeff. Yes, that whole set-up for the ladies is strange--what was going through the director's mind?

  6. Good point, AA Gospel was a major part of the Motown Sound, and was of course direct inspiration for many white performers as well.