God Bless Tiny Tim was the first album by Tiny Tim. Released in 1968 on the Reprise label, it included "Tip-Toe Thru' The Tulips With Me" (the song which made him famous), a version of "I Got You Babe", and a collection of more obscure songs. Many of the songs have humorous lyrics, are sung for humorous effect, or have an unexpected hook. It is widely praised, but was not released on CD until the late 1990s, and then only in Japan.
The album was produced by Richard Perry, who had produced Captain Beefheart's first album, Safe As Milk, and was to go on to produce Diana Ross, Harry Nilsson, Rod Stewart and Ringo Starr. The arrangements are by Artie Butler.
The songs were written by a variety of composers, most from the early 20th century, and most rather obscure, although "I Got You Babe" was by Sonny Bono, and "Stay Down Here Where You Belong" was by Irving Berlin.
For some of the album, Tim sings in his unusual falsetto style. However, on a number of songs, "Stay Down Here Where You Belong", "The Coming Home Party" and others) he sings baritone, demonstrating his voice's great range. In "On the Old Front Porch", "Daddy, Daddy, What is Heaven Like?" and on "I Got You Babe" he sings both baritone and falsetto, alternating between the two. A joke in "I Got You Babe" is revealed in the last words where both baritone and falsetto voices unexpectedly sing at once, revealing the apparently agile duet is actually himself singing double-tracked.
Tiny Tim (born Herbert Khaury; April 12, 1932 – November 30, 1996) was an American singer, ukulele player, and musical archivist. He was most famous for his rendition of "Tiptoe Through the Tulips" sung in a distinctive high falsetto/vibrato voice.
Tiny Tim was born in Manhattan, New York City, New York, the son of a Polish Jewish mother, Tillie (née Staff), a garment worker, and a Lebanese Catholic father, Butros Khaury, a textile worker. He displayed musical talent at a very young age. In a 1968 interview on The Tonight Show, Khaury described the discovery of his ability to sing in an upper register in 1952: "I was listening to the radio and singing along as I was singing I said 'Gee, it's strange. I can go up high as well.'" He then entered a local talent show and sang "You Are My Sunshine" in his newly discovered falsetto. He started using the stage name Tiny Tim in 1962 when his manager at the time, George King, booked him at a club that favored acts by performers short in stature.
Tiny Tim appeared in Jack Smith's Normal Love, as well as the independent feature film You Are What You Eat in which he sang the Ronettes song, "Be My Baby" in his falsetto range); also featured was a rendition of Sonny and Cher's "I Got You Babe", with Tim singing the Cher parts in his falsetto voice, along with Eleanor Barooshian singing Sonny Bono's baritone part. These tracks were recorded with musicians who would later go on to be in The Band. The latter performance led to a booking on the massively popular Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In, an American television comedy-variety show. Co-host Dan Rowan announced that Laugh-In believed in showcasing new talent, and introduced Tiny Tim. The singer entered carrying a shopping bag, pulled his soprano ukulele from it, and sang a medley of "A Tisket A Tasket" and "On the The Good Ship Lollipop" as an apparently dumbfounded co-host Dick Martin watched. In his third performance on Laugh-In, Tiny Tim entered, blowing kisses, preceded by an elaborate procession of the cast, and after a short interview, sang "Tiptoe Through the Tulips".
In 1968, his first album, God Bless Tiny Tim, was released. It contained an orchestrated version of "Tiptoe Through the Tulips", which became a hit after being released as a single. For All My Little Friends, 1969, a collection of children's songs was nominated for a Grammy Award.
On December 17, 1969, with 21.4 million viewers watching, Tiny Tim married Victoria Mae Budinger (aka "Miss Vicki") on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson. During their marriage, Tiny Tim and Miss Vicki mostly lived apart, and divorced eight years later. When Tiny Tim first became well-known to the American public, pundits and journalists debated whether or not this character being presented was just an orchestrated act, or the real thing. "It quickly became clear that he was genuine," however, and that he could probably be best described as "a lonely outcast intoxicated by fame" and "a romantic" always in pursuit of his ideal dream.
After his career highlights, Tiny Tim's television appearances dwindled, and his popularity began to wane. He continued to play around the United States, making several lucrative appearances in Las Vegas. When he lost his Reprise recording contract he founded his own record label, and humorously named it Vic Tim Records, as a pun on the combination of his wife's name with that of his own. Tiny Tim, a biography by Harry Stein, was published in 1976 by Playboy Press. Notably, he performed with the popular American alternative rock band Camper Van Beethoven in 1986. In the 1990s he released several albums, including Rock (1993), I Love Me (1993) and Girl (1996).
In September 1996, he suffered a heart attack just as he began singing at a ukulele festival at the Montague Grange Hall (often confused in accounts of the incident with the nearby Montague Bookmill, at which he had recorded a video interview earlier that same day) in Montague, Massachusetts. He was hospitalized at the nearby Franklin County Medical Center in Greenfield for approximately three weeks, before being discharged with strong admonitions not to perform again because of his health and the dietary needs for his diabetic and heart conditions. Nevertheless, he ignored the advice. While playing at a Gala Benefit at The Woman's Club of Minneapolis on November 30, he had a second heart attack on stage and he later died at the Hennepin County Medical Center. He is entombed in a mausoleum in Lakewood Cemetery in Minneapolis.
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