Born in Jacksonville, Florida, Bonds was living in Norfolk, Virginia in the 1950’s when he began singing publicly in church, and with a group called The Turks. He joined record producer Frank Guida’s small Legrand label and Guida changed his name to U.S. Bonds in hopes that it would be confused with a public service announcement advertising the sale of government bonds and thus get more airtime. Bonds’ first hit was the song “New Orleans”, which was followed by “Not Me”, a flop for Bonds, but later a hit for The Orlons, and then by his only Number One hit, “Quarter To Three” in June 1961. Subsequent hits, under the name Gary (U.S.) Bonds, included “School Is Out”, “Dear Lady Twist” and “Twist, Twist, Senora” in the early 1960s. In a 1963 tour of Europe, he headlined above The Beatles. Eventually, the singer came to be known as Gary U.S. Bonds.
“Quarter To Three” appears on The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s 500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll list.
In the early 1980s, Bonds had a career resurgence, working off collaborations with Bruce Springsteen, Steven Van Zandt, and the E Street Band. Later hits included “This Little Girl”, “Jolé Blon” and “Out Of Work”. Bonds continues to release albums sporadically, and today is a mainstay of the nostalgia concert circuit.
While Gary U.S. Bonds is mostly known for achievements within Rhythm and Blues and Rock ‘n’ roll, he often transcends these genres, e.g. he has been nominated for the Country Music Association’s “Songwriter of the Year” distinction. He is also a honoree of the Rhythm & Blues Foundation. Bonds is an accomplished golfer and often plays celebrity PGA events.
He was inducted into the Long Island Music Hall of Fame on Oct 15, 2006.
Edited by Dwadden on 5 Nov 2011, 22:26
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