Top 10 Tiny Tim Songs

Tiny Tim Songs

Feature Photo: NBC Television, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Our Top 10 Tiny Tim Songs list presents the best Tiny Tim songs like “Tiptoe Through the Tulips,” “Strawberry Tea” and many more. Tiny Tim was originally born as Herbert Butros Khaury on April 12, 1932, in Manhattan, New York. As a small child, Khaury took a keen interest in music, especially after his father gave him a vintage Gramophone and a recording of Henry Burr’s “Beautiful Ohio.” Inspired, Khaury not only sat and listened to the record for hours but teach himself how to play guitar. At eleven, he began to learn the violin, then the mandolin, and then the ukulele. By the time he became a teenager, he spent a good chunk of his free time at the New York Public Library so he could learn more about the phonographic industry and its first collection of recording artists.

He also researched sheet music, going as far as making photocopies of them to take home. This was a hobby he continued without fail. Long before he became Tiny Tim who’d write and record a series of songs, he was born and raised as a simple boy in a Catholic household in New York City and its Manhattan Island. At one point, while recovering from appendix surgery when he was a young teen, he read the Holy Bible and listened to music on the radio. When it came time to go back to high school, he eventually dropped out and took on a series of small jobs.

Hello, Tiny Tim

What sparked Khaury’s interest to embark on a music career came after listening to himself sing some of the songs he heard on the radio. When he discovered he could sing in a falsetto voice, this gave him cause to believe it was a spiritual experience. It was during the early 1950s, as a messenger for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios, that he became more interested in the entertainment industry. He later entered a local talent show, singing “You Are My Sunshine” in his recently discovered falsetto vocals. He then began performing during amateur nights under various stage names at different dance clubs. He also made a point to dress in clothing that was out of the norm as a means to stand out. He also grew out his hair and wore facial makeup to make himself look ghostly white.

In 1959, Khaury first settled on the stage name of Larry Love, the Singing Canary. He often performed at Hubert’s Museum and New York City’s Times Square. It would be during this time he signed up with a manager who’d send him to audition and perform throughout Greenwich Village. It would be during this time he performed “Tiptoe Through the Tulips” with his falsetto voice and ukulele instrument. This performance led to the first paying gig that had him play for six hours a night six nights a week. From 1963 until 1965, he performed as Dary Dover before adopting the stage name of Sir Timothy Timms. After he was booked to follow an act booked by his manager at the time, Khaury used Tiny Tim as his stage name. This has since become the six-footer’s signature name that would stay with him for the rest of his career.

Singing and Acting

In addition to performing as a singer, Tiny Tim also appeared as an actor. It was in 1968 that he sang a falsetto version of the Ronettes “Be My Baby” for an independent film titled You Are What You Eat. What further helped the discovery of Tiny Tim was his appearance on a new comedy variety show, Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-In. He was the first new talent the series showcased in what was their premiere episode. When Tiny Tim made his appearance, he carried a shopping bag that featured what became his infamous Martin soprano ukulele. He first sang a medley of “A-Tisket, A-Tasket” and On the Good Ship Lollipop,” causing the show’s co-host, Dick Martin, to watch in awe. Tiny Tim made two additional appearances while the show was still in its first season. Each time he appeared before the camera, he’d act up in a manner that would spark attention.

It was also in 1968 Khaury released his first album. God Bless Tiny Tim featured an orchestrated version of “Tiptoe Through the Tulips,” which became his first hit after it was released as a single. In 1969, he released his second album, For All My Little Friends, as a children’s recording. It earned him a Grammy Award nomination for the work but not the win. That same year, at the start of the 1969-70 season of the National Hockey League, Tiny Tim wore the skates and jersey of Pat Quinn from the Toronto Maple Leafs. This was Tiny Tim’s favorite team. For him, when he seized the opportunity to don the skates and hit the ice, it was a big thrill to meet them personally and share the rink space on their home turf.

On December 17, 1969, Tiny Tim married his seventeen-year-old bride, Victoria Budinger. She was twenty years younger than him but this wasn’t enough for the two to exchange vows in front of forty million viewers of The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson. The two did have a daughter together but the marriage didn’t last. Three years later, the two divorced. Since then, Tiny Tim married two more times. Along the way, as the 1970s crept in, the popularity of Tiny Tim began to simmer down. In 1986, he performed with an alternative rock band named Camper Van Beethoven before he was featured in a 1987 horror movie, Blood Harvest. In 1993, he did a skit with World Wrestling Entertainment’s Jerry Lawler.

Tiny Tim’s final appearance before the camera was on September 28, 1996. He recorded a video interview at Montague Bookmill before suffering a heart attack at the Montague Grange Hall in Montague, Massachusetts. He spent three weeks in the hospital before he was released under strict orders to stop performing. Tiny Tim was diabetic and had a heart condition that was taking a toll on his body. Instead of following the medical advice he was given, Tiny Tim continued to take the stage and perform. After admitting to his third wife, Susan Marie Gardner, he wasn’t feeling well on November 30, 1996, he still went up on stage to perform as he didn’t want to let his fans down. By the time he started his performance, most of the audience had already left. In the middle of his final song for the evening, Tiny Tim suffered another heart attack while he was still on the stage. He later collapsed, lost consciousness, then passed away before the night was over.

Tiny Tim Legacy

When Tiny Tim started to become better known locally, then nationally, it was assumed he was of British descent because of how he carried himself before an audience. His actual ancestry comes from his mother’s Polish-Jewish heritage and his father’s Lebanese background. Tiny Tim, quite frankly was a born and bred New Yorker, through and through. Like a true New Yorker, he pursued his ideal dream. There is a large mural of Tiny Tim with tulip themes that was illustrated by Australian artist, Martin Sharp. It’s located at the Macquarie University Student Council in Sydney, Australia.

There were a total of thirteen studio albums recorded and released to Tiny Tim’s credit. There were also seven compilation albums and five studio albums. Keeping Me Troubles to Myself was an EP he recorded and released in 1983.

Top 10 Tiny Tim Songs

#10 – As Time Goes By

“As Time Goes By” was originally a jazz song that was written in 1931, then became famous after it was featured in the 1942 blockbuster, Casablanca. It was performed by Dooley Wilson and became one of the most popular songs of all time. This has become more than just some hit song as time went by. Covered by a long roster of artists, “As Time Goes By” has become the signature tune of Warner Bros. It’s been used in production logos, as well as closing logos in various film and television productions. As for Tiny Tim’s version, this was a song he performed live while at the Royal Albert Hall in London, England, in 1968. It’s one of the tracks featured on the posthumously released live album, Tiny Tim Live! At the Royal Albert Hall. What’s so appealing about Tiny Tim’s music is the sincerity he puts into each song he performs. “As Time Goes By” is no exception to this reality.

#9 – Love Is No Excuse

As one of the live performances, Tiny Tim did in 1968 while in London, England, “Love Is No Excuse” was among a number of songs featured on Tiny Tim Live! At the Royal Albert Hall that wouldn’t be released as an album until 2000. The unique approach Tiny Tim used as a performer deservedly gave him a loyal fan following that loved the falsetto vocals, as well as the ukulele that served just as much of a star in each of his songs as he did.

However, this song simply has Tiny Tim illustrate his vocal talent that doesn’t always include the high-pitched, womanly like voice. What’s great about his music is taking something that originally came from another artist and breathing new life into it. “Love Is No Excuse” was technically a 1964 country song that was recorded and released as a duet by Jim Reeves and Dottie West. On the US Billboard Hot Country Singles chart, it peaked at number seven.

#8 – I’ll See You Again

The origin of “I’ll See You Again” dates as far back as 1929’s Bitter Sweet operetta. It became one of Sir Noel Coward’s most recognized compositions as a waltz theme that spawned from a mix of car horns and klaxons while in the middle of a New York City traffic jam. Tiny Tim’s vocals, combined with his signature ukulele, make this an easy favorite from his arsenal of music.

What makes this song even more special is the orchestra involvement that makes “I’ll See You Again” seem larger than life. This was actually part of a song list that was performed and recorded while Tiny Tim performed live at London, England’s Royal Albert Hall in 1968. It wouldn’t be until Rhino Records would have the right to release Tiny Tim Live! At the Royal Albert Hall as a live album in the year 2000, four years after Tiny Tim’s death.

#7 – There’ll Always Be an England

During the Isle of Wight Festival 1970, Tiny Tim performed “There’ll Always Be an England” before a crowd of 600,000 people. Whether it was intentional or not, he became the star of the show. This was the recognition the impressed British press and fans gave him. Unlike the performers around him, he simply used his unmistakable voice and prized ukulele to win over the crowd that was privy enough to be there.

#6 – I Got You Babe (featuring Eleanor Barooshian)

While in his falsetto voice, Tiny Tim took on the role of Cher while Eleanor Barooshian assumed Sonny’s role in baritone. Their performance earned them a spot on the premiere episode of Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-In. It was a popular variety show that became a big part of American television while it ran from 1968 to 1973. While Tiny Tim’s version was not a worldwide hit like Sonny and Cher’s original performance, it still turned some heads.

#5 – Strawberry Tea

Playful and cute, “Strawberry Tea” was a Tiny Tim song that came from his 1968 debut album, God Bless Tiny Tim. The appeal behind this song was the straightforwardness that was actually Tiny Tim’s trademark. Among many fans who favor psychedelic music scores, “Strawberry Tea” still has the makings of becoming a modernized hit should the right talent come along and pick it up.

#4 – Tip Toe to the Gas Pumps

Deliberately sung as a song making reference to the long lines at the gas pumps that took place during the OPEC oil crisis, Tiny Tim used his signature song, “Tiptoe Through the Tulips” as a means to carry out this musical parody. It became one of his most popular tunes.

#3 – Great Balls of Fire

Tiny Tim’s falsetto version of “Great Balls of Fire” was a cover song he released in 1969. On the UK Singles chart, it peaked as high as number forty-five. While there’s just no beating Jerry Lee Lewis’s iconic 1957 original, Tiny Tim still laid out a good enough performance to wow more than just the British audience. Fans of Tiny Tim and his music find his version of “Great Balls of Fire” to be entertaining enough in its own right.

#2 – Livin’ in the Sunlight, Lovin’ in the Moonlight

The falsetto performance of “Livin’ in the Sunlight, Lovin’ in the Moonlight” by Tiny Tim in 1968 was originally a 1930 number for the film, The Big Pond. Bing Crosby and Paul Whiteman Orchestra both recorded versions of this song that same year. Additional artists over the years, including Tiny Tim, have covered this fan favorite. Tim’s version, however, stands out due to the ukulele instrumentation that was used. His version became even more popular after it was featured in the pilot episode of the animated series, SpongeBob SquarePants.

#1 – Tiptoe Through the Tulips

“Tiptoe Through the Tulips,” after it was first heard by an audience at Greenwich Village, became Tiny Tim’s signature song. The origin of this song dates back to 1929 when it was first published. It was first made popular by Nick Lucas as a guitar number before Tiny Tim turned it into a novelty hit in 1968. As a happy-go-lucky number, “Tiptoe Through the Tulips” became a number seventeen hit on the US Billboard Hot 100, as well as that one song that defined his career. The iconic status of this fun-loving song has been featured several times in movies, on television, and as a song that was performed by numerous artists throughout the years.

Top 10 Tiny Tim Songs article published on Classic RockHistory.com© 2022

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