Tiny Tim – He Sang Like a Canary!
Music | February 6, 2018
Photo of TINY TIM
UNITED KINGDOM – circa 1970 ISLE OF WIGHT FESTIVAL (Photo by David Redfern/Redferns)
Herbert Buckingham Khaury, better known as the (late) entertainer, Tiny Tim, was all the rage beginning in the 60s. He was probably best known for his high-pitched, bird-like voice, flamboyant attire and striking physical features, which comprised his signature look. He had long, wavy, and at times, stringy hair. Sometimes his hair was brown and sometimes it was a reddish color. Before his signature look, he was just a regular looking guy.
Tiny Tim, after becoming a well-known entertainer, rarely, if ever, performed without his beloved and precious ukulele. He played the instrument and sang in that somewhat, off-putting, falsetto voice that was so recognizable. His famous act emerged in the 60s when most other current artists were pushing the limits of the social norm; often referred to as ‘unacceptable’. Tiny Tim, however, pushed the acceptable limits of the unacceptable.
During the 60s, countless musicians jumped on the bandwagon of, “anything goes!”. Tiny Tim was no exception. He was out to make a name for himself and he hit the mark. His brand of entertainment, although, was a bit quirky, to say the least. Tiny Tim was rarely seen without that ever-present ukulele, his physique was oddly shaped, he had large facial features and long, scraggly, unkempt hair.
Tiny Tim’s wardrobe selections were also over the top. His style could have been defined as either shabby chic or modern Salvation Army on any given day. He also never really fit into any specific, current music genre. At times Tiny Tim was referred to as an “annoyance”. By some, he was thought to be making a mockery of the changing era.
Tiny Tim made appearances on many prime time and late-night programs.
Most musicians “testing the waters” during the 60s were promoting new and progressive ideas. The counterculture mantra was that it was time to love your brother, live and let live and don’t judge, lest you also be judged. Tiny Tim, however, was known for being passionate about years gone by, often wearing face paint as part of his act. He idolized the performers of years past; especially the old Vaudeville acts.
He seemed to be taking a step back in time. Aside from his signature look, Tiny Tim is most likely or best remembered for his version of, “Tiptoe Through the Tulips With Me”. That quirky, falsetto voice just couldn’t help but catch the attention of audiences. The gimmick made him somewhat of a spectacle.
Instead of forging onward, Tiny Tim made a name for himself by taking a step back in time. In the age of classic and acid rock n’ roll, his specialty was romantic songs from the 1920s; an age gone by. He had such a fondness for that style of entertainment.
For years, Tiny Tim was a popular entertainer, often performing for free in clubs and other similar venues before making a name for himself. He was so unlike any other artist at the time and was known for being one of the most popular entertainers in America at one point. Tiny Tim was also well known for pulling that famous ukulele out of a tired, old, paper bag.
Over the many years of Herbert Buckingham Khaury’s showbiz career, he was known by several names. He started out as a regular guy and was best recognized, to later generations, as the eccentric Tiny Tim.