Herbert Khaury fell in love with music at an early age, spending countless hours playing the classics of yesteryear on a wind-up gramophone. His rise to fame began in 1952, when he entered a local talent show and debuted his trademark warbling falsetto singing style. The gentle giant adopted the stage name Tiny Tim, and began amassing a healthy cult following.
Tiny Tim released his first album, God Bless Tiny Tim, in 1968, and became a regular "novelty act" on programs such as Laugh-In, The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson, and The Ed Sullivan Show. In spite of the sheer ridiculousness of an enormous man with long, red hair, strumming a tiny ukelele while belting out ballads like Tiptoe Through the Tulips and I Got You Babe, Tiny Tim's repertoire showcased his vast knowledge of musical history.
His sound was ahead of it's time, at times resembling some of Alice Cooper's earlier releases. The legendary vaudevillian actor/comedian, Groucho Marx, employed Tim's version of Irving Berlin's Stay Down Here Where You Belong, in his act. The song depicts a conversation between Satan and his son, in condemnation of World War 1:
and not a one of them knows what they're fighting for…
Kings up there are bigger devils than your dad.”
Tiny Tim suffered a serious heart attack during a performance in September of 1996. Ordered to give up performing due to his frail health, Tim chose to disobey the advice of his medical team. He collapsed onstage two months later on November 30, and died shortly thereafter. Ironically, the last song he would ever perform before a live audience, Tiptoe Through the Tulips, was the very tune that made him a household name.
Thanks for the music, Tim... Rest in peace.