June 08, 2006

Thursday's Time Machine: The Toys "A Lover's Concerto"

You've probably heard this song before. In one form or another, you've most likely heard the melody. Once lead vocalist Barbara Harris starts to sing, you'll instantly recognize that melody--it's Bach's Minuet in G--and how quickly do you fall in love with this gorgeous song? If you're like me, it's an instantaneous, passionate love affair. And what's not to love? This single, released in the summer of 1965, quickly shot up to the top five of the charts. As for The Toys, they were very much a product of the times; their sound is not unlike the Supremes, and "A Lover's Concerto" is thematically similar to "Chapel of Love," The Dixie Cups' hit from the previous year. Regardless, there's absolutely nothing wrong with the music, and the two minutes mini-concerto of "A Lover's Concerto" is, simply, a timeless pop confection. The sound of three harmonizing teenage girls singing a beautiful, almost virginally pure song about their dreams and expectations for marriage and their wedding day—how could that be anything less than perfect? In the early 1960s, success instantly came to those who realized such a theme, and, really, if the times were less cynical, I'm sure such a concept could still be a chart-worthy subject.

Like childhood innocence, The Toys' success could not last, and it didn't. Their other sides proved to be fine, quality girl-group material--all of which was lovingly remastered and compiled by Sundazed several years ago--but, unsurprisingly, nothing the band released afterwards matched the "Lover's Concerto" plateau, and it seems unlikely that they could have posed a serious threat to The Supremes—who, coincidentally, covered the song on their 1966 album I Hear A Symphony. (Their version pales next to the Toys; Ross doesn't come close to capturing Harris's youthful innocence.) But for a shining moment in the 1960s, the world fell in love with the Toys, and every time that song is played, that love affair continues.

Listen To: "A Lover's Concerto"

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