Graham Reid | | 1 min read
If you were there at the time, Tiny Tim was novelty act: the long-haired eccentric with a ukulele singing Tiptoe Through the Tulips in an impossibly high falsetto.
But that was the late Sixties for you, a time when the retro sound of Winchester Cathedral by the New Vaudeville Band and I Was Kaiser Bill's Batman by Whistling Jack Smith could be hits alongside Hendrix, the Who and Procol Harum.
Tiny Tim was just another oddity, like Napoleon XIV with They're Coming t Take Me Away Ha Ha.
But not exactly.
Tiny Tim -- New Yorker Herbert Kaury, born 1932 -- had an encyclopedic knowledge of songs from the Twenties, Thirties and Forties, some of his first recordings of more contemporary songs were with the then-unnamed Band, he fell in with them and Dylan in Woodstock and Dylan had an idea about working on a circus film with him . . .
Tiny Tim was nominated for a Grammy for his album of children's songs, his Tiny Tim's Second Album (from where these songs come, with his parents on the cover) was produced by Richard Perry with some arrangements by Perry Botkin Jnr . . .
So yes, he was a novelty act at one level, but his scholarly knowledge of old songs and his loving delivery of them (especially on later albums which garnered no attntion at all, he was considered a one-hit owner) meant he earned a place larger than a footnote.
More performance artist than circus freak, and of course a whole lot smarter than many gave him credit for, Tiny Tim had a wider vocal and emotional range than that unforgettable falsetto.
But he that too.
Tiny Tim died in 1996. He was 64.
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