Friday, May 29, 2009
Tiny Tim sings an anthem for the new century: the psychedelic, deranged global warming premonition "The Other Side"
When he is remembered at all, Tiny Tim is labeled a one-hit wonder, a media oddity whose stint on Laugh-In made him hot for a minute (during which he had a massively viewed wedding on The Tonight Show), and then he was consigned to the scrapheap of pop culture. In truth, Tiny was indeed an unusual man on a personal level (and very especially a lovesick, often heartbroken one), but he was a gentleman who loved the hoary old tunes that he sang. Tiny was the kind of a versatile, unusual singer who could do justice to "There’ll Always Be an England” and The Beatles’ “Girl” (which he seems to relate to on a heavy level, and if you knew the stories of his fascinations with les femmes, you’d know he did).
Several top-notch Tiny Tim discoveries can be made on YouTube, including his appearance on “The Coca Crystal Show” with Izzy Fertel. The finest discovery, however, are clips from a TV special Tiny did in Australia in the late Sixties, which are all posted on this blog.
The most familiar tune is the wonderful "Living in the Sunlight” (I dare you to be downhearted while listening to Tiny warble this one). The song was recently revived on Spongebob Squarepants. But the most eye-opening, jaw-dropping performance is “The Other Side,” my personal fave from Tiny’s debut LP, God Bless Tiny Tim. On the record it’s a thoroughly psychedelic turn (that sounds amazing in headphones), but here, as sung to and with a group of cute little girls, it’s nothing less than a bizarrely prescient ditty about global warming — the icecaps are indeed melting. I have long maintained that my all-time favorite use of a children’s chorus is on The Cramps’ “People Ain’t No Good,” but I will now supplement that by saying that the best use of a cute-kid chorus on TV has to be Tiny’s of the tots here to chant the line “All the world is drowning…”
An inconvenient truth? Tiny predicted it YEARS ago!