U.S. Bonds is more than just a legendary vocal interpreter and
fiery, vital onstage performer. For over thirty-five years, Bonds
has been a Songwriter and Arranger. A man who has written hits
and been nominated for awards.
Early in his career, Gary U.S. Bonds sang and had a heavy role
in the arrangement of his first hit, "New Orleans." In order to
draw attention to the record, promotional copies were sent to
radio stations in sleeves inscribed, "Buy U.S. Bonds" - hence
at the age of 19, "Gary" became Gary U.S. Bonds.
The follow-up to "New Orleans" was the now legendary 'party' record,
titled "Quarter to Three," an instrumental, originally called
"A Night with Daddy G." Gary and Gene Barge (Daddy G.) went on
to write and arrange what would eventually inspire Bruce Springsteen
to say of Bonds, "There's some guys out there, what they do is
Over the next three years, Bonds co-wrote and recorded hit after
hit: "School is Out," "School is In," "Dear Lady Twist," "Twist,
Twist Senora," "Not Me" and many more. Bonds status continued
to rise so high that on a 1962 tour of Europe, he headlined above
a group of relative newcomers called the Beatles.
A few years later, while still performing, Gary wrote songs for
other artists. One in particular was the Johnny Paycheck hit,
"Friend Don't Take Her She's All I've Got," which was nominated
for a Grammy and earned Gary the Country Music Association's "Songwriter
of the Year" nomination. The song was also number one on the R&B
charts with Freddie North and in 1997 it was a Top 10 Country
hit for Tracy Byrd.
In 1980, a chance meeting between Bruce Springsteen and Bonds
developed into a solid friendship. Shortly after, a musical collaboration
resulted in Bonds' "Dedication" and "On the Line" LP's, with singles;
"This Little Girl is Mine," "Out of Work," "Jole Blon" and "Daddy's
Come Home" produced by Springsteen and Miami Steve Van Zandt.
Without a question, Gary U.S. Bonds was back on stage. His gritty,
soulful and powerful vocals sound even better than before.
In 1997, Bonds was honored with the Rhythm and Blues Foundation's
prestigious "Pioneer Award." Bruce Springsteen and Miami Steve
Van Zandt presented the award to Bonds. This was fitting in light
of the fact that Springsteen and Van Zandt were long time fans
who had grown up on Bond's music. In fact, "Quarter to Three"
was one of their famous concert encores. They gave a heartfelt
presentation to the man that was both an idol and a friend.
With the release of Gary's next outstanding recordings, it is
likely that his talent as a songwriter and producer will finally
become a focal point of comments about him.
Gary U.S. Bonds is one of those rare artists with both a rich
history and an unlimited future.