The six foot, ukulele-wielding, crazy-haired, high-pitched germ-a-phobe Tiny Tim might not be the most well-known name in music these days, but you’ve definitely heard his music. And, through its use in horror movies like Insidious, it’s probably sent chills down your spine.
“Tip Toe Through The Tulips” by Tiny Tim featured in ‘Insidious’
“Tiptoe Through The Tulips,” Tiny Tim on Johnny Carson’s Tonight Show
Tiny Tim was born Herbert Khaury in Manhattan back in the early ‘30s and hit show business as the ukulele player, falsetto/vibrato singer named Tiny Tim in the late ‘50s. Once the ‘60s rolled around, Tiny Tim became an entertainment sensation through appearances on Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In and The Ed Sullivan Show.
His performance usually featured him alone on stage with just his ukulele, singing freakishly high and then freakishly low—sometimes even doing male and female part duets with himself.
Tiny Tim Duet
In the ‘60s, Tiny Tim was received as comedy. Today we can see it for what it truly is: pure nightmare fuel, that’s also freakishly cool. (His TV specials are profoundly creepy and lucky for Halloween-lovers, most are available on YouTube. Just watch him singing one of his most bizarre songs “The Other Side” to a bunch of children sitting around him. It’s enough to induce shivers.
“The Other Side,” Tiny Tim
This song is scary not only because it’s about the apocalypse and “drowning” the entire world to “wash away the sins.” It’s also terrifying because on his debut album the track begins with at least 20 seconds of just him maniacally laughing.
He was most famous for the songs “Tiptoe Through The Tulips” and “Livin’ In The Sunlight, Lovin’ In The Moonlight” (which you can hear in the pilot episode of Spongebob Squarepants). Though it was his musical performance he was most famous for, at the height of his career he became a household name after marrying his first wife, a 17-year-old called “Miss Vicki”—on national television when he was 37.
Tiny Tim & Miss Vicki TV Wedding
Five months after the wedding, Miss Vicki bore a stillborn, which Tiny Tim buried under a headstone reading “It.”
The two separated after eight years with one child, Victoria Tulip, but they lived separately throughout their entire marriage. Tiny Tim married two more times after that, each time still living separately. Tiny Tim had a bad case of OCD and is said to have taken six to eight showers a day, which might have something to do with the separate living situations.
Tiny Tim died of a heart attack in the midst of singing his hit “Tiptoe Through The Tulips” on stage in front of a live audience in 1996. In his obituary his wife at the time said, “he died singing ‘Tiptoe Through the Tulips,’ and the last thing he heard was the applause and the last thing he saw was me.”
Tiny Tim “Livin’ In The Sunlight, Lovin’ In the Moonlight”
Tiny Tim was a peculiar character and will always be remembered for his unique performances and eccentric personality. But his 1968 debut album God Bless Tiny Tim will always be the perfect album for Halloween.