James Timothy Tim Hardin

James Timothy Tim Hardin

James Timothy Tim Hardin

Remembering Tim Hardin on his birthday
December 23, 1941  – December 29, 1980

James Timothy Tim Hardin

Bob Dylan’s oft-quoted statement that Tim Hardin was “the greatest songwriter alive” does little to enshrine Hardin other than for those he’s an already-enshrined singer-songwriter.

James Timothy Tim Hardin


Born James Timothy Hardin in Eugene Oregon on December 23, 1941, he dropped out of high school and joined the Marines. In his words, the move was “a legal loophole that allows the prisoner to sign himself into another prison, from parental care to the military.”

After the Marines, Hardin arrived in Greenwich Village in 1961 to study at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts. He became part of the Village’s folk scene and became part of a circle that included Fred Neil, Mama Cass, Karen Dalton and John Sebastian.

Hardin is best known for his simple, romantic songs made popular by other artists, most notably, Bobby Darin’s “If I Were a Carpenter” and Rod Stewart’s “Reason to Believe.”

James Timothy Tim Hardin
Hardin’s first album: Tim Hardin 1

He released Tim Hardin 1, in July 1966. Lisa Law, Hog Farm member and photographer took the album’s cover photo and all the photos on the back.

His Woodstock story is that he was scheduled to be the very first performer. 500,000 stomach butterflies prevented that, but opened the door for Richie Haven’s famous start. Hardin did perform later after Bert Sommer and before Ravi Shankar.

James Timothy Tim Hardin

Post Woodstock

During the years following Woodstock, Hardin moved between England and the U.S.

Due to ongoing drug and health problems, as well as a scarcity of new material, he did not complete any albums after 1973. Hardin died of a drug overdose in 1980.

James Timothy Tim Hardin

He is not in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

James Timothy Tim Hardin

2013 Rolling Stone magazine article on Hardin.

2013 Telegraph article on Hardin.

James Timothy Tim Hardin
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3 thoughts on “James Timothy Tim Hardin”

  1. From Robert Busan: I was blessed to see Tim perform a number of times.. my most favorite and most poignant, was at the legendary Village Gaslight for a sold out show. As someone who arrived a bit late to this intimate club show; it turned out to be a blessing for me. A few of us were given chairs at the sides of the small stage. I couldn’t have been more thrilled. However, although he played a number of his famous tunes, he was completely zoned out on drugs, making it a very sad experience. I had seen him not long before in a concert hall where he offered up a beautiful new song, “Mercy Wind.” I remember the Village Voice remaking about this new song. Tim asked the audience if they had any requests and I asked for Mercy Wind. Tim stared at me wide eyed, as if he was shocked that anyone knew the song. He replied he couldn’t play that one because he didn’t remember it well enough. The sadness on his face, combined with his being consumed by drugs that night, has been forever etched in my memory. A great and gifted song writer with a beautiful voice who could also play amazing guitar, Tim’s descent, that ultimately led to his death, is nothing short of complete tragedy.

  2. From Tom Lennox: His Tim Hardin 1 is a somewhat forgotten masterpiece. I got to see him perform live a couple times in Woodstock, NY and NYC. Great voice and had a great band/musicians plus excellent songwriter.

  3. Wonderful, aching, sweet voice, a gentle swing to his guitar playing and a piano styling as unique as Skip James’. Saw him once in Putney VT. On heroin, I’m sure. Still, he was mesmerizing and a real blues rocker when he strapped on his electric guitar for the second set.

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