Tim Hardin 1

Tim Hardin

Tim Hardin

Tim Hardin 1

         Ah, Tim Hardin.

         Eugene, Oregon December 23, 1941. High school dropout. Marine Corps. Heroin. New York City. Greenwich Village.

         Not the same collection of events in every singer-songwriter's resume, but familiar enough to merit a nod of recognition.

         Many received the Village's golden touch of success. A few only saw the tap on others's shoulders. Hardin didn't feel that tap, a surprise to others who knew him and loved his songs.

         At at time when composers were telling their tale in longer and longer songs (Mr Dylan's "Like a Rolling Stone" a prime example), Tim Hardin typically stuck with the short: verse > chorus > verse.

Tim Hardin 1

         On his first album, Tim Hardin 1, "Reason to Believe" is perhaps the best known of the many wonderful songs on the album. Many have covered the song, Rod Stewart's 1971 single perhaps the best known.
If I listen long enough to you
I’d find a way to believe that it’s all true
Knowing, that you lied, straight-faced
While I cried
But still I’d look to find a reason to believe
Someone like you makes it hard to live
Without, somebody else
Someone like you, makes it easy to give
Never think of myself
If I gave you time to change my mind
I’d find a way to leave the past behind
Knowing that you lied, straight-faced
While I cried
But still I’d look to find a reason to believe
If I listen long enough to you
I’d find a way to believe it’s all true
Knowing that you lied, straight-faced
While I cried
Still I’d look to find a reason to believe.
Those Woodstock Ventures invited to their festival and art fair in Bethel, NY ranged from the little known to the famous. "Little known" so some, but loved by many. Hardin was one of those artists loved by many. It is reported that Bob Dylan described Hardin as, "“the greatest songwriter alive."
Side one
  1. “Don’t Make Promises” – 2:26
  2. “Green Rocky Road” – 2:18
  3. “Smugglin’ Man” – 1:57
  4. “How Long” – 2:54
  5. “While You’re On Your Way” – 2:17
  6. “It’ll Never Happen Again” – 2:37
Side two
  1. “Reason to Believe” – 2:00
  2. “Never Too Far” – 2:16
  3. “Part of the Wind” – 2:19
  4. “Ain’t Gonna Do Without” – 2:13
  5. “Misty Roses” – 2:00
  6. “How Can We Hang On to a Dream?” – 2:04

Personnel

  • Tim Hardin – vocals, guitar, keyboards
  • Gary Burton – vibraphone
  • Bob Bushnell – bass
  • Earl Palmer – drums
  • Buddy Salzman – drums
  • Jon Wilcox – drums
  • John Sebastian – harmonica
  • Phil Kraus – vocals
  • Walter Yost – bass
          Woodstock Ventures also scheduled Hardin to open. First day. First performer.

Many wonder what it was like to be in that crowd of 400,000 on Max Yasgur's 40 acre field, but few ask what it was like to sit and sing in front of that many. For Hardin the challenge was initially too great a burden and Richie Havens famously filled in.  

         Hardin did later perform in that day's gloaming. His short songs filled his short set:
  • (How Can We) Hang on to a Dream
  • Susan
  • If I Were a Carpenter
  • Reason to Believe
  • You Upset the Grace of Living When You Lie
  • Speak Like a Child
  • Snow White Lady
  • Blue on My Ceiling
  • Simple Song of Freedom
  • Misty Roses
         Not appearing on the Woodstock album, nor the movie, addiction, and sometimes leaving the country to seek medical help kept Hardin out of the public eye for years. The New York Times described him in a 1976 show, "he is a nervous, self‐absorbed performer who phrases in a wildly unpredictable manner. Sometimes his improvisations are exciting, but sometimes they are simply aimless." [NYT article]

         Hardin died of a heroine overdose on December 29, 1980, 6 days after his 39th birthday. His songs continue to inspire.

 

One thought on “Tim Hardin”

  1. From George Klitsch As President of my Frat, I hired Tim to perform at FDU, Madison, NJ in 1971. His manager assured me he was clean, …..he wasn’t. He slurred his way through a couple songs, but when he did “If I were..” he was perfect! It’s like he was on automatic pilot! Then he proceeded to damage our Baldwin upright piano by keeping “time” with the mike on it’s top! I wanted to kill him! (it costs us over $300 to repair) Tim’s was a tragic story of the creative pressure for writing hits and close but near miss of Fame and Fortune. Truly sad.

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