- “I'm so happy, ah-hah! Happy and lucky me. I've just got my way, living every day.” -
Herbert Khaury, “The Master of the Disturbing”. Born? Yes, he was. It's hard to say when though. The best guess is 1932, but nobody is quite sure, perhaps not even Tim himself. Unfortunately we can all be certain of the fact that this oddball legend passed away November 30th, 1996.
What is he famous for?
What, you've never heard of the unfashionably awesome Tiny Tim? Chances are that you're familiar with his work even if you aren't able to attach his name to it. His version of “Tiptoe 'Thru the Tulips” has been fairly well-played for decades, and if you're a Spongebob fan then perhaps you've heard my personal favourite “Livin' in the Sunlight, Lovin' in the Moonlight”, as featured in the first episode. Yep, you've guessed it – he was a musician. Popular belief claims that he began playing in a lesbian cabaret bar – regardless of whether this was true or not, he certainly did begin his career playing seedy clubs, bars and talent competitions in an effort to be discovered. Tiny Tim's act was a tribute to performers from days gone by, featuring his voice (usually in falsetto style) and his uke – along with his strange appearance and naïve personality.
Herbert believed that he didn't have what it took to get by on talent alone. He needed an act, or rather to play a character in order for the public and media to give him any attention. Tiny Tim came from within, playing on his own gawky expressions, mannerisms and looks. The man was an expert regarding vintage pop – he knew how to work the public, and this is how he formed his unique act and managed to gain any media attention whatsoever.
Tiny Tim's first album was “God Bless Tiny Tim”, released in 1968, of which his most famous rendition of “Tiptoe 'Thru the Tulips” was released as a single. Since this he continued musical output right up until his death, along with appearances and cameos on other band's tracks, from the mundane to the totally obscure – such as industrial noisemasters Current 93.
Tiny Tim married “Miss Vicky” live on the Johnny Carson show in 1969, which many people regarded as an expensive-cheap publicity stunt. They later had a daughter (Tulip), and then split up. It's said that Tim adored Tulip, but was a mostly estranged father, rationalised in his own mind as a result of not knowing how to go about having contact with her. They rarely spoke until shortly before his death.
Tiny Tim was a devout Catholic, but admitted being attracted to members of the same sex on occasions, which perhaps involved physicality. The man was very ashamed and tortured by this, and so spoke little of it. As will I. It doesn't affect his music or his public philosophy.
- “Things that bother you never bother me, I feel happy and fine, bwah-hah!” -
- “I do what I like, just what I like, and how I love it!” -