Singers: The Purity of Madness

"Hel-loooo, my dear friends," flutes the voice. Blowing kisses, fluttering his large, bony fingers and rolling his eyes, Tiny Tim skips onstage like Bea Lillie in drag: shoulder-length locks, tattersall sports jacket decorated with a sheriff's badge, plaid shirt and orange socks. He always carries a copy of the New Testament and lugs a soiled brown shop ping bag in which he always keeps such talismans as a dime-store compact (he uses pale Elizabeth Arden foundation makeup), two notebooks containing the lyrics of 500 songs, and, of course, his "dear, sweet" ukulele.

Giggling, he takes the uke from its old...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!