The Improbable Life Of Tiny Tim
As Bing Crosby once put it, Tiny Tim represents 'one of the most phenomenal success stories in show business'. In 1968, after years of playing dive bars and lesbian cabarets on the Greenwich Village scene, rubbing shoulders with the likes of Bob Dylan and Lenny Bruce, the forty-something falsetto-voiced, ukulele-playing Tiny Tim landed a recording contract with Sinatra's Reprise label and an appearance on NBC's Laugh-In. The resulting album, God Bless Tiny Tim, and its single, 'Tip-toe Thru' The Tulips With Me', catapulted him to the highest levels of fame. Soon, Tiny was playing to huge audiences in the USA and Europe, while his marriage to the seventeen-year-old 'Miss' Vicki was broadcast on The Tonight Show in front of an audience of fifty million. Before long, however, his star began to fade. Miss Vicki left him, his earnings evaporated, and the mainstream turned its back on him. He would spend the rest of his life trying to revive his career, with many of those attempts taking a turn toward the absurd. But while he is often characterized as an oddball curio, Tiny Tim was a master interpreter and student of early American popular song, and his story is one of Shakespearean tragedy framed around a bizarre yet loveable public persona. Here, drawing on dozens of new interviews, never-before-seen diaries, and years of original research, author Justin Martell brings that story to life with the first serious biography of one of the most fascinating yet misunderstood figures in popular music.
Praise For Eternal Troubadour: The Improbable Life Of Tiny Tim…
"It's the best book about Tiny Tim IMO, with far more info than the others, and what seems to me like a balanced attitude toward this complex and remarkable man, who was such a magnet for controversy. His story is all there, the depressing parts and the thrilling parts. I'll be referring to this a lot, and cursing the publishers every time for not including a %$&?% index!" - Dr. Demento
"It's the best book about Tiny Tim IMO, with far more info than the others, and what seems to me like a balanced attitude toward this complex and remarkable man, who was such a magnet for controversy. His story is all there, the depressing parts and the thrilling parts. I'll be referring to this a lot, and cursing the publishers every time for not including a %$&?% index!"—Dr. Demento
"The story of Tiny Tim's life is alternately heartbreaking, infuriating, and head-scratching. And with scores of new interviews, and access to Tim's own personal (and very frank) diaries, this book makes for a compelling, if lengthy read for the non "Tiny Head."—Houston Press
"I love this book. It's exactly the right feel. Tiny Tim had an almost magical power to destroy cynicism in every one he encountered from Bing Crosby to Howard Stern, from Lenny Bruce to John Lennon, from Sinatra and Carson to all the rest of us. This hardcore atheist says without irony, 'God Bless Tiny Tim.'"—Penn Jillette (1/2 of Penn & Teller)
"...a heart-rending account of a tragic, inexplicable figure."—Record Collector Magazine
"The authors are to be commended for handling the complexities of this complicated yet beautiful spirit...they've produced one of the most honest and revealing biographies of the year, one that tells its story well, warts and all."—The Recoup
Jawbone Press, 9781908279873, 480pp.
Publication Date: February 9, 2016
About the Author
Justin Martell is an independent filmmaker and writer. Considered 'one of America's foremost experts' on Tiny Tim, he has consulted on and contributed liner notes to two posthumous Tiny Tim releases, I've Never Seen A Straight Banana (Collector's Choice, 2009) and Lost & Found: Volume 1 (Secret Seven Records, 2011). In 2013, he put out a previously unreleased Tiny Tim track on a limited-edition Edison wax cylinder, which Time.com dubbed the 'most retro record release ever'.
Alanna Wray McDonald is a poet, writer, and freelance art director for film and television. She resides in Iowa and Brooklyn, New York.