born on 23/12/1941 in Eugene, OR, United States
died on 29/12/1980 in Los Angeles, CA, United States
James Timothy Hardin (December 23, 1941 – December 29, 1980) was an American folk musician and composer. He wrote the Top 40 hit "If I Were a Carpenter", covered by, among others, Bobby Darin, Joan Baez, Johnny Cash, The Four Tops, Robert Plant, Small Faces, Johnny Rivers, and Bert Jansch; his song "Reason to Believe" has also been covered by many artists, notably Rod Stewart (who had a chart hit with the song), Neil Young, and The Carpenters. Hardin is also known for his own recording career.
Early life and career
Hardin was born in Eugene, Oregon and attended South Eugene High School. He dropped out of high school at age 18 to join the Marine Corps. Hardin is said to have discovered heroin while posted to the Far East.
After his discharge he moved to New York City in 1961, where he briefly attended the American Academy of Dramatic Arts. He was dismissed due to truancy and began to focus on his musical career by performing around Greenwich Village, mostly in a blues style.
After moving to Boston in 1963 he was discovered by the record producer Erik Jacobsen (later the producer for The Lovin' Spoonful), who arranged a meeting with Columbia Records. In 1964 he moved back to Greenwich Village to record for his contract with Columbia. The resulting recordings were not released and Columbia terminated Hardin's recording contract.
After moving to Los Angeles in 1965, he met actress Susan Yardley Morss (known professionally as Susan Yardley), and moved back to New York with her. He signed to the Verve Forecast label, and produced his first authorized album, Tim Hardin 1 in 1966 which contained "Reason To Believe" and the ballad "Misty Roses" which did receive Top 40 radio play.
Tim Hardin 2 was released in 1967; it contained "If I Were a Carpenter". An English tour was cut short after Hardin contracted pleurisy.
An album entitled This is Tim Hardin, featuring covers of "House of the Rising Sun", Fred Neil's "Blues on the Ceiling" and Willie Dixon's "Hoochie Coochie Man", among others, appeared in 1967, on the Atco label. The liner notes indicate that the songs were recorded in 1963–1964, well prior to the release of Tim Hardin 1. In 1968, Verve released Tim Hardin 3 Live in Concert, a collection of live recordings along with re-makes of previous songs. It was followed by Tim Hardin 4, another collection of blues-influenced tracks believed to date from the same period as This is Tim Hardin. In September 1968 he and Van Morrison shared a bill at the Cafe au Go Go, at which each performed an acoustic set.
In 1969, Hardin again signed with Columbia and had one of his few commercial successes, as a non-LP single of Bobby Darin's "Simple Song of Freedom" reached the US Top 50. Hardin did not tour in support of this single—his heroin use and stage fright made his live performances erratic.
Also in 1969 he appeared at the Woodstock Festival where he sang his "If I Were a Carpenter" song solo, as well as a full set of his music while backed by a full band. None of his performances were included in the documentary film or the original soundtrack album. His performance of "If I Were a Carpenter" was included on the 1994 box-set Woodstock: Three Days of Peace and Music.
He recorded three albums for Columbia—Suite for Susan Moore and Damion: We Are One, One, All in One; Bird on a Wire; and Painted Head.
Later work and death
During the following years Hardin moved between England and the U.S. His heroin addiction had taken control of his life by the time his last album, Nine, was released on GMA Records in the UK in 1973 (the album did not see a U.S. release until it appeared on Antilles Records in 1976). He sold the writers' rights to his songs, but the details of how this transpired vary.
On December 29, 1980, Hardin was found on the floor of his Hollywood apartment by longtime friend Ron Daniels. He died of a heroin overdose. His remains were buried in Twin Oaks Cemetery in Turner, Oregon.
- 1966: Tim Hardin 1 (Verve Forecast FT/FTS 3004)
- 1967: Tim Hardin 2 (Verve Forecast FT/FTS 3022)
- 1967: This Is Tim Hardin (demos recorded 1963/64) (ATCO 33–210)
- 1968: Tim Hardin 3 Live in Concert (Verve Forecast FTS 3049)
- 1969: Tim Hardin 4 (Verve Forecast FTS 3064)
- 1969: The Best of Tim Hardin (Verve Forecast FTS3078)
- 1969: Suite for Susan Moore and Damion: We Are One, One, All in One (Columbia CS 9787)
- 1971: Bird on a Wire (Columbia CK-30551)
- 1972: Painted Head (Columbia CK-31764)
- 1973: Nine (Antilles AN-7023)
- 1981: Unforgiven (San Francisco Sound SFS 10810)
- 1981: The Tim Hardin Memorial Album (Polygram PD-1-6333)
- 1981: The Shock of Grace (CBS Columbia PC37164)
- 1981: The Homecoming Concert (Line LICD 9.00040)
- 1990: Reason to Believe (The Best Of) (Polydor 833954)
- 1994: Hang on to a Dream: The Verve Recordings (Polydor 521583)
- 1996: Simple Songs of Freedom: The Tim Hardin Collection (Legacy /Sony 64858)
- 2000: Person to Person: The Essential, Classic Hardin 1963–1980 (Raven)
- 2002: 20th Century Masters – The Millennium Collection: The Best of Tim Hardin (Polydor)
- 2002: Black Sheep Boy: An Introduction to Tim Hardin (Universal International)
- 2007: Through the Years 1964–1966 (Lilith)
Covers of Hardin songs
- "Black Sheep Boy" – Scott Walker on his album Scott 2, Okkervil River on their concept album Black Sheep Boy, Paul Weller on the ninth issue of Volume magazine, Vince Guaraldi on album The Eclectic, Joel Plaskett on the album EMERGENCYs, false alarms, shipwrecks, castaways, fragile creatures, special features, demons and demonstrations, and Bobby Darin on his album "Inside Out."
- "Don't Make Promises" – The Beau Brummels, Helen Reddy on her album I Don't Know How to Love Him, Three Dog Night on their eponymous first album, Bobby Darin, Scott McKenzie on his first album "San Francisco". The Kingston Trio, Gary Puckett & The Union Gap, Ricky Nelson, Scottish singer Tam White (a 1969 single on Deram Records), Chris Smither on Drive You Home Again, Joan Baez on her 1995 live Ring Them Bells album, Paul Weller on his album "Studio 150", Richard Barone on his album Sorrows & Promises (2016).
- "Eulogy to Lenny Bruce" – Nico, on her debut solo album, Chelsea Girl, Damon and Naomi on their album Damon and Naomi with Ghost.
- "How Can We Hang on to a Dream?" – Françoise Hardy on her album Françoise Hardy en Anglais; Ian & Sylvia on their album "Lovin' Sound". Echo & the Bunnymen, on their Avalanche EP; Fleetwood Mac on their Album "Live at the BBC (1968)"; The Nice, on their self-titled third album and Elegy (in both cases as "Hang on to a Dream"), Emerson, Lake & Palmer's on the 4-disc retrospective The Return of the Manticore; Gandalf on their eponymous debut (appearing as "Hang on to a Dream"), Nazareth on their album Snakes 'n' Ladders.
- "If I Were a Carpenter" – Wes Carr, Stan Webb's Chicken Shack, Bobby Darin, Johnny Cash and June Carter, The Four Tops, Leon Russell, Rod Stewart, Doc Watson, Joan Baez (as "If You Were a Carpenter"), Cornelis Vreeswijk, The Nice, Small Faces, Robert Plant, Dolly Parton, Leonard Nimoy, John Holt, Smile, Werner Lämmerhirt, Bob Seger, Leslie West, Ramblin' Jack Elliot, Lee Dorsey, Engineers, Sandro on his album Beat Latino, and León Gieco on album Tributo a Sandro, un disco de rock. Herman's Hermits recorded a version of this song.
- "It'll Never Happen Again" – Peggy Lee, The Dream Academy, David Sylvian, Cilla Black, Johnny Rivers, Connie Stevens, P.P. Arnold, and Okkervil River.
- "The Lady Came from Baltimore" – Johnny Cash, Joan Baez, Bobby Darin (single) and on his album "inside Out", Scott Walker on his album Scott, Jesse Malin, Lloyd Cole, John Stewart on his "Neon Beach" live album, and Bob Dylan (performed live but never released on record)
- "Misty Roses" – Peggy Lee, Colin Blunstone, Astrud Gilberto, The 5th Dimension, Irene Kral, Ron Davies, Sonny and Cher, Jess Roden, The Youngbloods, Bobby Darin, Johnny Mathis, The Sandpipers, and Cilla Black.
- "Reason to Believe" – Karen Dalton, Peter, Paul, and Mary, Johnny Cash, Paul Weller, Ian & Sylvia, Billy Bragg, The Youngbloods, Brainbox, Rod Stewart, Cher, Ron Sexsmith, Wilson Phillips, Gary Lewis & the Playboys, The Carpenters, Marianne Faithfull, Bobby Darin, Glen Campbell, The Kingston Trio, Weddings Parties Anything, Mason Williams, The Sandpipers, Scott McKenzie and by the Israeli singer Arik Einstein, Vince Guaraldi on album The Eclectic.
- "Red Balloon" – Ricky Nelson, Small Faces, Idha, Kula Shaker, and Bobby Darin.
- "Shiloh Town" – Mark Lanegan on his fourth solo album I'll Take Care of You.
- "Never Too Far" – Wally Tax, member of The Outsiders on his solo album The Entertainer, and Gandalf on their eponymous debut.
- "You Got a Reputation" [aka "Reputation"] – The Association, The Byrds (recorded during the Sweetheart of the Rodeo sessions and eventually released some 22 years later on The Byrds box set in 1990) and Gram Parsons (on Another Side of This Life: The Lost Recordings of Gram Parsons).
- "You Upset the Grace of Living" – Gandalf on their eponymous debut.
- "Reason to Believe, The Songs of Tim Hardin" – A collection of Tim Hardin covers released on UK independent record label Full Time Hobby. Features covers of "Don't Make Promises You Can't keep" – The Phoenix Foundation, "Red Balloon" – Mark Lanegan, "It'll Never Happen Again" – Okkervil River.
- HARDIN, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 243. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
- Brend, Mark (2001). American Troubadours: Groundbreaking Singer-Songwriters of the '60s. Hal Leonard Corporation. p. 176. ISBN 978-0-87930-641-0.
- "Tim Hardin Biography". Zipcon.net. Retrieved 2015-10-12.
- Richie Unterberger. "Tim Hardin | Biography & History". AllMusic. Retrieved 2015-10-12.
- Richie Unterberger. "lovin.html". Richieunterberger.com. Retrieved 2015-10-12.
-  Archived April 10, 2008, at the Wayback Machine.
- "Tim Hardin Contracts Pleurisy", Rolling Stone, No. 16, August 24, 1968, p.5
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on July 13, 2015. Retrieved 2015-11-10.
- Browne, Pat. The Guide to United States Popular Culture. p. 364.
- Richie Unterberger. "Suite for Susan Moore and Damion: We Are One, One, All in One - Tim Hardin | Songs, Reviews, Credits". AllMusic. Retrieved 2015-10-12.
- Inside Out (Bobby Darin album)
- If I Were a Carpenter (Bobby Darin album)
- Tim Hardin on IMDb
- Tim Hardin at Find a Grave
- Detailed fan site