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Gary US Bonds hit the big time in 1961, kickstarting a career that has spanned nearly 60 years. In anticipation of a headline UK show, Bonds talks big hits, awful movies, superfan Bruce Springsteen and more…


Gary US Bonds in an original photograph to promote evergreen hit Quarter To Three
Michael Ochs Archives/Getty

Many of the top rockers of the early 60s were consigned to the oldies circuit by the decade’s end, never again to be serious chart contenders. Not Gary US Bonds, whose thundering New Orleans and Quarter To Three had lit up that pop hit parade like overheated TNT. The incendiary vocalist enjoyed an early 80s comeback every bit as spectacular as his initial run and remains a relevant contemporary artist, playing up to 50 dates a year, and releasing fresh product including his 2009 album Let Them Talk and a 2012 Christmas disc (both issued via his GLA logo).

“I keep listening”, says Bonds, who headlines this year’s Hemsby Rock’n’Roll Weekender in October. “I don’t get trapped into just following the oldie lead. You get trapped into that and then you get labeled into that. You’re dead meat from there.” To that end, Bonds and legendary tenor sax player Gene ‘Daddy G’ Barge – who graced all of Gary’s early hits except New Orleans – teamed with Chuck D of Public Enemy in 2016 to radically update Quarter To Three as a rap number. “I saw Chuck D at a function somewhere, and he goes: ‘Man, you ever do Quarter To Three again? That’s what I want to do!’” remembers Bonds. “He waited a few years later, but he did. He called me up, and called Daddy ‘G’: ‘Let’s go in and do it right quick!’ I said: ‘All right!’”

“I don’t get trapped into following the oldie lead. You get labeled into that and then you’re dead meat from there”

Born in Jacksonville, Florida, Gary Anderson moved to Norfolk, Virginia as a toddler and started singing there as a teenager. “You tried to emulate all the guys that you see on American Bandstand, or at the local state theatre whenever they came into town, or on the radio”, he says. “I definitely wanted to be Clyde McPhatter, or a Drifter, or a Turban – Clyde was the guy I tried to emulate most.

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About Vintage Rock

'Maybe Tomorrow?’ No, the new issue of Vintage Rock is out now and stars... Billy Fury! Our 20-page special includes an interview with his latter-day backing band Fury’s Tornados and Vince Eager recalls his part in the landmark new album ‘The Symphonic Sound Of Fury’. We also hear from The Beach Boys’ Mike Love and Bruce Johnston about how the legendary band made the transition from doo-wop-influenced rock’n’rollers to symphonic pop geniuses. Our Classic Album is ‘In Style With The Crickets’, an amazing triumph following the tragic death of Buddy Holly. We talk exclusively to Gary ‘US’ Bonds about his early days cutting hot R&B in Virginia, his comeback with Bruce Springsteen and his return to live shows. With a new CD and biography released, we revisit the career of Wee Willie Harris, British rock’n’roll’s strangest and smallest star. PLUS! We talk to the folks building and revamping 50s Jukeboxes, we hand-pick Sam Cooke’s Top 20 hits and speak to Jerry Lee’s sister Linda Gail Lewis. In our live reviews, we head to the Wildest Cats In Town weekender where Charlie Gracie reined supreme, plus there’s a memorable doo-wop reunion in London. And we visit the world of Rockabilly-Radio online.