A genuine oddball in an industry where oddballness is often just a pose, Tiny Tim was briefly a big star at the end of the 60s. A big mainstream star too – piped into the living rooms of suburban America via programmes like Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-In and The Ed Sullivan Show. And despite the fact that he was usually featured as the joke guest – and often the butt of jokes by the smirking hosts – he managed to worm his way into America’s affections.
His first two LPs (God Bless Tiny Tim and Tiny Tim’s 2nd Album) are wonderfully eccentric pop albums that showcase Tiny’s great falsetto voice and ukelele, along with his love of popular music and his broader vocal range (demonstrated particularly well on his self-duetted version of I Got You Babe). Produced by Richard Perry, they’re both highly professional and rather gorgeous sounding: just what was needed to make it all go down a little easier. His first LP is available here for only £4.12 and is highly recommended.
As well as being a great entertainer, singer and loveable freak, one of the most impressive things about Tim was his love for, and knowledge of, popular music. The man was basically a walking encyclopaedia of American song. Although his deepest love for was for pre-rock ‘n’ roll standards, he maintained his interest in music until his rather sad end in 1996.
I’ve gone for this song, his version of The Penguins’ Earth Angel, because it captures all of the things that made him so compelling: from his brilliant and cartoonish falsetto to his often bizarre stage manner. Most of all though it’s here simply because it’s a great interpretation of the song and because he, with that band, never looked cooler. God bless Tiny Tim.