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.
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'.