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Tiny Tim

During his proverbial 15 minutes of fame in the late '60s, Tiny Tim was one of the most bizarre spectacles on television: a heavy, six-foot-tall man with long, unkempt ringlets of hair, an enormous nose, and a garish plaid wardrobe; warbling the old-time pop standard "Tip-Toe Through the Tulips" in a quavering, shockingly high falsetto while accompanying himself on the ukulele. Pegged as strictly a novelty act, Tim actually possessed an encyclopedic knowledge of vintage American pop and vaudeville songs; he was an avid collector of 78 rpm records and sheet music, and often scoured the New York Public Library's musical archives for material. And, although he was best-known for his falsetto, Tim was also a creditable baritone crooner in the pre-Bing Crosby mold, which allowed him to sing duets with himself. Tiny Tim's initial novelty wore off with the public after a couple of years, but he was so genuinely, guilelessly eccentric that he was never really forgotten, remaining something of a pop-culture icon for decades to come.

Tiny Tim was born Herbert Khaury, and gave his birth date as April 12, 1933, though some sources list 1932, 1930, and even 1926. The son of a Lebanese father and Jewish mother, he grew up in the Washington Heights section of Manhattan, and was (unsurprisingly) a misfit and loner, eventually dropping out of high school. His interest in American popular music (chiefly from the 1890s to the 1930s) began at a young age, as did his desire to be a singer, and accordingly he learned guitar and ukulele. His first performances -- under the alias Larry Love -- took place in the early '50s, and according to legend, he debuted at a lesbian cabaret in Greenwich Village called the Page 3, where he became a regular. Khaury performed at small clubs, parties, and talent shows under a variety of names; his parents tried to discourage him at first, but relented when they saw that not every gig ended in ridicule. By the early '60s, he had gained a cult following around the thriving Greenwich Village music scene, particularly after he began to incorporate bizarre renditions of contemporary songs into his repertoire. He finally settled on the name Tiny Tim after the character in Dickens' A Christmas Carol (according to some accounts, it was suggested by a manager accustomed to working with midgets).

Tim's appearance in the film You Are What You Eat led to a booking on the hugely popular comedy series Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In. He was an instant sensation; whether or not he was seen as an object of ridicule, no one had ever seen anything like him. He appeared several more times on Laugh-In, and became a frequent guest on Johnny Carson's Tonight Show, also performing on the Ed Sullivan and Jackie Gleason variety shows. His eccentric personality became as well-known as his music: he was obsessed with bodily cleanliness, and his distaste for sex seemed logical when paired with his gentle, asexual demeanor. A hot commodity, Tim signed a record deal with Reprise and issued his debut album, God Bless Tiny Tim, in 1968. His signature rendition of "Tip-Toe Through the Tulips" became a hit, and the LP sold over 200,000 copies. Striking while the iron was hot, Tim recorded a follow-up, Tiny Tim's Second Album, which was released in 1969; so was its follow-up, an album of children's songs titled For All My Little Friends. On December 17 of that year, Tim pulled off one of the highest-rated stunts in television history: he actually married his girlfriend, 17-year-old Victoria Budinger (known as Miss Vicki, in typically respectful Tim fashion), on the Johnny Carson show. The couple later had a daughter, Tulip, but mostly lived apart, and divorced after eight years.

Following his wedding, Tim continued to perform around the country, including some lucrative gigs in Las Vegas; unfortunately, many of his business associates took advantage of his naïveté, leaving him with few savings from his run of success. By the early '70s, perhaps due to simple familiarity, America's fascination with Tiny Tim had waned. Even after the TV appearances and high-profile gigs dried up, Tim kept plugging away, performing whenever and wherever he could. He spent around a decade off records before returning in 1980, and subsequently recorded steadily for a series of mostly small labels. He remarried in 1984 to 23-year-old Miss Jan, but the relationship dissolved after just under a month; the following year, Tim literally joined a circus for 36 weeks. In the late '80s, he moved to Australia for a few years, then returned to the U.S. to live in Des Moines, IA. In 1993, he married for a third time to Miss Sue, and the couple soon moved to Minneapolis. During the mid-'90s, Tim raised his public profile with appearances on the Conan O'Brien and Howard Stern shows; however, in September of 1996, he suffered a heart attack while performing at a ukulele festival in Massachusetts. Upon his release from the hospital, Tim resumed his concert schedule, but sadly, on November 30, he suffered another heart attack in Minneapolis while performing "Tip-Toe Through the Tulips," and died several hours later. ~ Steve Huey, Rovi
full bio

Selected Discography

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Track List: The Complete Reprise Studio Masters . . . And More

Disc 1
Disc 2
Disc 3

Comments

Legendary no one can do it as good as him, he was so musically gifted, that's probably why so many famous musicians (most notably Jim Morrison of the Doors) asked him to cover their songs. Rip Tiny you passed before I was created but you are not forgotten
Sponge bob!
GJRS48
I own his first two albums.
rmfrederi1
He very strange
autopsy_exam
Insidious part 1 had me searching his music.
sky059
Tiny Tim was more of a minstrel singer from the 14th Century, and so out of place in our day and age. He just got ground up in the machinery of our cruel world. I love his work and his personality. He sure had it tough bringing light into this world.
Tip Toe Thru the Tulips...1st Dec, Feb Mar
love tiny tim
Only Tiny Tim can make a song about brushing teeth and it actually being good
cef1953
I grew up in the 60s and loved Tiny Tim!

Yes he was strange and weird but I loved his songs and he had flair.
I heard living in the sunlight on spongebob XD never knew it was him
i love tiny tim!!!!!!!su c h a happy person
my tulips punched thru Feb 12th this year !
myerspercuss i o n
How sad that someone of Tim's *talent* gets this huge bio while other true musicians get a few lines. Shame on Pandora. Or, shame on those who made TIm a star. Apparently a nice man ... who should never have stuck his nose in front of a mic.
a gifted talent...som e hated him because he was so good like Bob Dylan
Im so happy
Russel brand
jrlynch991
Hes weird. Kind of a freak. Who sings about a straight bananna?! Haha
thehiebertco
Tiny Tim is mentioned quite favorably in Bob Dylan's autobiograph y , Chronicles - Volume1. They were both trying to get stage exposure in the live music clubs of Greenwich Village in the early 60's. And if Bob Dylan says he was a rightious dude, well, that's good enough for me.
I love you tiny timmmm!!!! lol jk ur a f*ckin freak man go die in a ditch
I like this artist? No. I love this artist.
Wow, what an original talent. Extremely under rated.
made me a ukukle lover for life-simple and pure
Tim was the nicest guy. Strange, but, he was exactly what you saw. There was no act. He had a beautiful voice and he was a beautiful person. He always called me Miss Terry. I ran a coffee shop in the Village in the mid sixties. The Cafe Elleyses. French was cool then, not like now. Tim worked for me for a while. A good memory from the old days.
This guy was an amazing walking encyclopedia of early twntieth century music. I highly recomend his disc Songs of an Impotent Troubador. His stuff with Brave Combo, as mentioned by tjwp, is real great. He also had some excellent interviews on the Howard Stern Show. He was very entertaining . Tiptoe was nothing compared to his other stuff.
dancergirl32 0 1 1
One of the better musicians out there.. lighthearted and fun to listen too.. Wish he was still here to produce more music, rest in peace Tiny Tim
A truly misunderstoo d and underappreci a t e d performer. Once you learn more about him, you really like him, as a performer and as a man.
Tiny Tim possessed one of the most incredible voices in music history and knew how to use it.If people judge his talent by hearing one novelty song they are missing out on some wonderful singing.Tiny ' s version of Great Balls Of Fire is superior to Jerry Lee's in my opinion.He could sing pop,rock,cou n t r y , s w i n g , j a z z etc..His records are well done and fun to listen to.My wife and I still listen to his music and love it.We always wanted to see him live but never got the chance.I know his faith got h
hildaj33
I met this gentel man months before his death on a gambling ship in Palm Beach, it was sad to see what he had come down to. But he was truly a kind and gentel man. I called in sick the night he married Miss Vicky in the Johnny Carson show just so I could see the event. He was a man out of his time and mis understood, but his heart was in the right place, he was a good and sincere person.
evanko7
hI he was so sweet of a guy.
evanko7
i'll never forget, we did his flowers for the wedding on the Johnny Carson show,for our 25th flower store anniversary we had him come to it and he was a lot of fun. . We are still going on for our 50th anniversary of the flower store and wish Tiny Tim was still around to join us.. We pretty much has ordered EVERY TULIP in HOLLAND for his wedding on the Carson show.
"When a true genius appears in the world, you may know him by this sign, that the dunces are all in confederacy against him".
Jonathan Swift-

The world is wide with many things within. But few so rare as he, God bless Tiny Tim.
Here's a man who follows the beat of his own drum despite the fashion or fad of the time, devout in his faith, generous to the point where he was left with little, unshakable in his morality and just wanted to entertain people and make them smile. And for that he is mocked by some of you....how sad and small you are.
tjwp
Also check out his recordings with Brave Combo
i love him, its so sad he didnt fit in :(
all these people that leave comments about tiny tim must be on crack.
Tiny Tim harbored amazing talent that is no longer reconized in this fast paced, airbrushed, lip sync, automiton modern world that we live in today. So few "musicians" now write/or play thier own music. Saddly Tiny Tim I think was born either a little too late in his generation or perhaps a little too early to be fully appreciated. A true showman and vaud=villian that not only could play several instraments, but sing in sopprano, bass, and contralto, ALL ON THE SAME RECORDING!
tledford3
walterfive, What! he is simply a walking joke, please do not fluff him up like he is some kind of amazing talent. He is a gong show act, a train wreck or a bad wreck on the highway, yeah he got his 15 mins and then some. for what i have no clue!
He looks like those things from "Dark Crystal."
mjosephnancy
How truly fascinating. :D
Very Good!
A great American novelty act, like Mr Bush junior perhaps?
Interesting definition of a "great American"
A great American. Pro-Family, Pro-God, Pro-Country. Devoutly Roman Catholic.

50 years too late, he should have been headlining with Jolson and Vallee.

The world didn't understand that few things were as rare as he.

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