Barbara Harris and The Toys bring back the classics.
The Toys, Jerry Butler, Gene Chandler, and Shirley Alston Reeves are scheduled to perform as part of the Doo-Wop Reunion Concert on Saturday, March 29.
Gammage Auditorium in Tempe
Long before hitmakers like Kelis sampled Mozart and Mike Skinner borrowed from Bartok, a '60s girl group called The Toys layered exquisite teen harmonies over Bach finger exercises and launched a pop-music revolution. Led by Barbara Harris, The Toys brought sonatas to sock hops around the country when their million-selling single, "A Lover's Concerto," nearly topped the pop charts in 1965. Songwriters Sandy Linzer and Danny Randell adapted a minuet that Bach wrote in 1722 for his wife Anna Magdalena for the song, and their classical-music formula continued to reap benefits for The Toys. Their next single, "Attack," featured an intro borrowed from Tchaikovsky's The Nutcracker Suite, and went to No. 18 on the pop charts in January 1966. But by the end of the '60s, The Toys had broken up. Harris has since returned to performing with a second incarnation of the group, featuring newcomers Robin Trawick and Roxanne Eure. In recent years, Harris has also reached a younger audience in Europe's dance clubs, thanks to her solo collaboration with French beatmeister Phillipe Arcostanza (a.k.a Gotta). "[Gotta] contacted me over the Internet and he's a keyboard player, a young kid. He sent me some of his music and said, 'Could you please write lyrics to my songs?'" Harris says. "I did maybe five songs with him — one slow tune and the rest are disco. It's hot!"