The Toys were an American pop girl group from Jamaica, New York, which was formed in 1961 and disbanded in 1968.[1] Their most successful recording was "A Lover's Concerto" (1965), which sold more than two million copies and reached the number-two spot on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.

The Toys
The group in 1965: June Montiero (left), Barbara Harris (center), and Barbara Parritt (right)
The group in 1965: June Montiero (left), Barbara Harris (center), and Barbara Parritt (right)
Background information
OriginNew York City, U.S.
GenresR&B, pop music
Years active1961–1968
LabelsDynoVoice, Musicor
Past membersBarbara Harris
Barbara Parritt
June Montiero

Members edit

The trio consisted of:

Career edit

Barbara Harris started singing in her hometown churches at an early age and moved to Queens, New York, when she was 11 years old. In high school, she joined a group with four other young singers: Barbara Parritt (later Toomer), June Montiero, Betty Stokes and Betty Blocker.[3]

Stokes and Blocker eventually left the group, and Harris, Parritt and Montiero formed a trio. Bobby Uri, a manager and friend, named the group The Charlettes, and got them work doing background vocals for several recording artists. At a talent show in Brooklyn, they met Eddy Chase, who in turn introduced them to manager Vince Marc and songwriter/recording executive Bob Crewe. The group became the Toys and landed their first recording contract on Crewe's DynoVoice Records.

Marc introduced them to songwriters Sandy Linzer and Denny Randell.[1] Linzer and Randell wrote most of the songs they recorded. They took a piano piece from a Bach exercise book ("Minuet in G major" by Christian Petzold), put a Motown bassline to it, and "A Lover's Concerto" was born; the song soon rose to number two on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100. The band followed that up with another hit, "Attack!", also written by Linzer and Randell, which reached the Top 20.

They also produced the group's 1965–66 recordings on the DynoVoice record label.[1] Global sales of this disc exceeded two million copies, with a gold record awarded by the R.I.A.A. in 1965.[4] Their first U.S. tour was with Gene Pitney.[4] In 1967, the group changed labels and producers, moving to Pitney's label, Musicor Records, but charted only one more minor single (a cover of Brian Hyland's "Sealed with a Kiss") before breaking up.[1]

The Toys appeared on most of the major TV rock programs, including Hullabaloo and Shindig!.[1] They had a cameo role performing their song "Attack!" in the 1967 beach movie It's a Bikini World.[4][5]

Harris continued to perform on public television and at "Oldie Shows" as "The Toys featuring Barbara Harris". She has also sung with Joe Rivers, known for Johnnie & Joe's hit, "Over The Mountain". In 1998, she produced and released her first solo CD entitled Barbara Now, for which she wrote all but two of the songs. In 2016, she released the singles, "Forever Spring" and "(Rock 'n' Roll) Soothes The Soul".

Discography edit

Singles edit

(U.S. chart positions are Billboard Hot 100 except as noted.)
  • 1965: "A Lover's Concerto" (U.S. No. 2 (Cashbox charts: No. 1), UK No. 5)[6]
  • 1966: "Attack!" (U.S. No. 18, UK No. 36)[6]
  • 1966: "Baby Toys" (U.S. No. 76)
  • 1966: "Silver Spoon" (U.S. No. 111)
  • 1966: "May My Heart Be Cast into Stone" (U.S. No. 85)
  • 1968: "Sealed with a Kiss" (U.S. No. 112, U.S. R&B No. 43)

Albums edit

References edit

  1. ^ a b c d e "Biography by Andrew Hamilton". AllMusic. Retrieved 16 December 2008.
  2. ^ a b c Colin Larkin, ed. (1992). The Guinness Encyclopedia of Popular Music (First ed.). Guinness Publishing. p. 2522. ISBN 0-85112-939-0.
  3. ^ Voger, Mark (May 27, 2011). "Barbara Harris of the Toys: interview". The Star-Ledger. Retrieved November 4, 2014.
  4. ^ a b c Murrells, Joseph (1978). The Book of Golden Discs (2nd ed.). London: Barrie and Jenkins Ltd. p. 198. ISBN 0-214-20512-6.
  5. ^ "It's a Bikini World". 14 April 1967. Retrieved 15 October 2021.
  6. ^ a b Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 563. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.

External links edit