Tiny Tim (April 12, 1932 - November 30, 1996) was a pop/novelty falsetto singer and ukulele player with a sweet and endearingly eccentric stage persona who became famous during the late 1960s. Born Herbert Butros Khaury in Manhattan, New York, he began teaching himself the guitar at age six and by his teens, had also learned to play the violin, mandolin, and ukulele. He also developed a lifelong love of early popular music standards and discovered his ability to reach the upper vocal registers while singing along with Rudy Vallee on the radio. Khaury entered his first talent show in the early 1950s and began performing in Greenwich Village under different stage names. In 1968, he became a regular on the popular weekly comedy TV show, "Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In," and he released his debut album, "God Bless Tiny Tim," that same year.
Tiny Tim debuted on the Pop/Rock charts in 1968 with his rendition of the Nick Lucas 1929 #1 hit, "Tip-Toe Thru' The Tulips With Me," which made the Top 20 and became his signature song. This smash was followed by several minor hits that included "Bring Back Those Rockabye Baby Days" (1968), a cover of The Sopwith Camel's "Hello, Hello" (1968), and a cover of Jerry Lee Lewis' "Great Balls Of Fire" (1969), all performed with his trademark falsetto. Tiny Tim resurfaced years later in 1988 on the Country charts with "Leave Me Satisfied," which he sang with tremulous high tenor vocals. In 1968, he also recorded a cover of another vintage popular song from 1930, "Livin' In The Sunlight, Lovin' In The Moonlight," which was used many years later in the first SpongeBob SquarePants episode, "Help Wanted."
In addition to "Laugh-in," Tiny Tim performed on "The Ed Sullivan Show," "The Andy Williams Show," and "The Red Skelton Show," and he made a number of other memorable TV appearances at the height of his commercial fame. On December 17, 1969, he married his first wife, Victoria Budinger (a.k.a. Miss Vicki), in front of 40 million viewers on "The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson." Over the years, Tiny Tim continued to perform actively through the mid 1990s before suffering a fatal heart attack on stage while performing "Tip-Toe Thru' The Tulips With Me" at a gala benefit hosted by the Women's Club of Minneapolis.
- Tiny Tim discusses his early career and other topics in an interview with Rolling Stone (July 6, 1968).
- The New York Times remembers Tiny Tim.
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