TINY TIM Biography - Musicians


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Name: Tiny Tim                                                                       
Birth name: Herbert Khaury                                                           
Born: 12 April 1932                                                                 
Died: 30 November 1996                                                               
Herbert Khaury (April 12, 1932 - 30 November 1996), better known by the stage       
name Tiny Tim, was an American singer, ukulele player, and musical archivist. He     
was most famous for his rendition of Tiptoe Through The Tulips sung in his           
distinctive high falsetto / vibrato voice. He was generally thought of as a         
novelty act, though his records display a wide knowledge of American songs. He       
had no official middle name, but often used Buckingham.                             
Shortly before his death Tiny Tim said he was 64 years old, which would put his     
year of birth at 1932. According to TinyTim.org, and photos taken of his             
passport and birth certificate, and his death certificate, Herbert Khaury was       
born on 12 April 1932.                                                               
He was born in New York City, the son of immigrants Butros Hanna Khaury (nee         
Khoury; d. 2 April 1971), who was Lebanese, and Tillie Staff (15 January 1893 -     
9 July 1986), a Polish Jew.                                                         
According to legend, Tiny Tim first sang in a lesbian cabaret bar. He went on to     
sing in a wide variety of clubs and bars, as well as entering many talent           
competitions in an attempt to get discovered. He used a number of pseudonyms,       
but eventually settled on Tiny Tim, after the character from Dickens's A             
Christmas Carol. Tiny Tim recorded many records for the girls that he liked.         
These were 78-rpm, 10-inch records made in private pressings of one or two           
copies, with handwritten labels. He gave one of the records to actress Tuesday       
Weld in 1964. One of the names used on these early records was “Darry Dover,       
but most of these records used the name Tiny Tim.                                   
In the 1960s Khaury was seen regularly near the Harvard University campus as a       
street performer, singing old Tin Pan Alley tunes. From Massachusetts he moved       
to New York City, and developed something of a cult following. He appeared in       
the independent feature film You Are What You Eat, which led to a booking on         
Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In, an American television comedy-variety show. Dan         
Rowan announced that Laugh-In believed in showcasing new talent, and introduced     
Tiny Tim. The singer entered, blowing kisses, and sang "Tiptoe Through the           
Tulips" to Dick Martin. This was followed by several more appearances on Laugh-In   
and a recording contract with Reprise Records. He made a name for himself as a       
novelty performer, guesting with Johnny Carson, Ed Sullivan, and Jackie Gleason.     
In 1968, his first album, God Bless Tiny Tim, was released. It contained an         
orchestrated version of his signature song, Tiptoe Through The Tulips, which         
was a hit when released as a single. The other songs displayed his wide-ranging     
knowledge of the American songbook, and also allowed him to demonstrate his         
baritone voice, which was less often heard than his falsetto. On one track, a       
version of I Got You Babe, he sang a duet with himself, taking one part in           
falsetto, and the other in the baritone range. On the Old Front Porch extends       
this to a trio, including a boy (Billy Murray), the girl he is courting (Ada         
Jones), and her father (probably Murray again).                                     
Another notable song was a cover of Stay Down Here Where You Belong, written         
by Irving Berlin in 1914 to protest the Great War. It is written from the           
standpoint of Satan talking to his son, and is a powerful condemnation of those     
who foment war: To please their kings, they've all gone out to war, and not a       
one of them knows what they're fighting for Kings up there are bigger devils         
than your dad. (The comedian Groucho Marx also used this song as part of his         
own act, at least in part to irk the patriotic Berlin, who in later years tried     
in vain to disown the song.)                                                         
At the end of the year, he appeared on the Beatles' 1968 Christmas record           
exclusively issued to their fan club, singing Nowhere Man. George Harrison, in       
particular, appreciated Tiny Tim's camp appeal, calling him "a gas." (Harrison's     
musical interests included the ukulele.)                                             
Tiny Tim recorded and released two more albums for Reprise, Tiny Tim's Second       
Album 1968, and For All My Little Friends, 1969, a collection of children's         
songs. A small record label got hold of some of his pre-fame recordings and         
overdubbed them with canned applause, creating a fictional "live concert"           
recording to cash in on Tiny Tim's popularity. The album was called Concert in       
On 17 December 1969, he married Victoria Mae Budinger (Miss Vicki) on The           
Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson, a publicity stunt which attracted 40           
million viewers. Tiny wrote his own marriage vows, including the promise to be not   
puffed up. Tiny Tim and Miss Vicki made more news a month later with the             
announcement that they were expecting a baby, with comedians at the time             
suggesting the name VicTim. The baby was miscarried, but a later attempt at         
childbirth succeeded.                                                               
In contrast to the romance oriented publicity of their wedding, Tiny Tim and         
Miss Vicki mostly lived apart, and divorced eight years later. Their daughter,       
Tulip Victoria, is now married and living in Pennsylvania with four children.       
In August 1970 Tiny Tim performed at the Isle of Wight Festival 1970 in front of     
a crowd of 600,000 people. His performance, which included English folk songs       
and rock and roll classics, was a huge hit with the multinational throng of         
hippies. At the climax of his set, he sang There'll Always Be an England             
through a megaphone which brought the huge crowd to its feet. This can be seen       
in the 1995 movie of the event, Message to Love.                                     
After this career highlight, however, Tiny Tim's television appearances reduced,     
and his popularity began to wane. He continued to play around the United States     
and made several lucrative appearances in Las Vegas. In 1985, Tiny Tim released     
his cult hit, Santa Claus Has Got The AIDS This Year,and joined the Alan C. Hill     
circus. In 1986/87 he starred as a ukulele-playing psycho clown in the cult B-grade 
horror film Blood Harvest (1987), directed by Bill Rebane.                           
In 1988, Tiny Tim released a country single for the Nashville-based NLT records     
entitled "Leave Me Satisfied". He spent time promoting it to country radio and       
fans that year including making a visit to Nashville during Country Music Fan       
Fair, now called the CMA Music Festival.                                             
In the 1990s, interest in Tiny Tim seemed to pick up a little. He began to           
release records again, including I Love Me (1995) and Girl (1996). He also           
recorded his last music video with NYC's punk rock band Ism(1996). It was a         
punk remake of Tiptoe Through The Tulips and was never officially released. He       
frequently appeared on The Howard Stern Radio Show and in Stern's movie, Private     
Parts (1997), as well as occasional appearances on other television programs.       
Tiny Tim also worked with a number of other artists, including Brave Combo (his     
backing band on Girl) as well as Sydney based rock band His Majesty with whom he     
recorded the albums Tiny Tim Rock and Tiny Tim's Christmas Album, both of which     
were produced by Sydney Artist and writer Martin Sharp. He was also championed       
by, and collaborated with, Current 93 and Nurse With Wound.