James Timothy "Tim" Hardin (December 23, 1941 – December 29, 1980) was an American folk musician and composer. He wrote the Top 40 hits "If I Were a Carpenter", covered by, among others, Bobby Darin, Joan Baez, Johnny Cash, The Four Tops, Robert Plant, and Johnny Rivers; his song "Reason to Believe" has been covered, notably, by many artists, includingRod Stewart (who had a chart hit with the song) and The Carpenters. Hardin is also known for his own recording 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. He spent part of 1959 in Vietnam as a military advisor. Hardin is said to have discovered heroin in Vietnam.
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, California in 1965, he met actress Susan 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.
An album entitled This is Tim Hardin, featuring covers of "House of the Rising Sun", Fred Neil's "Blues on the Ceilin'" and Willie Dixon's "Hoochie Coochie Man", among others, appeared in 1967, on the Atco label. The liner notes indicate the songs were recorded in 1963–1964, well prior to the release of Tim Hardin 1 by Verve Records. Tim Hardin 3 Live in Concert, released in 1968, was 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 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 and a heroin addiction and stage fright made his live performances erratic.
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.
In 1973, Hardin appeared on stage with Harry Chapin as part of Chapin's concert in Potsdam, New York. They jammed on a blues riff that survives in a bootleg recording. Some of the topics covered in the seven-minute long jam include drug use, travel and death. In Chapin's introduction, he makes reference to Hardin's participation as a session musician on his first two albums.
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 GM Records in the UK in 1973 (the album did not see a US release until it appeared on Antilles Records in 1976).
He sold his writers' rights in the late 1970s.
Hardin's song, "Black Sheep Boy", apparently tells the story about himself returning to his heroin addiction. The song is said to thematize a visit to his family which caused said relapse after he got offered heroin by a local, after he had been clean for a longer time.
- 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)
- "Black Sheep Boy" - Okkervil River on their concept album Black Sheep Boy, Scott Walker on his album Scott 2, Paul Weller on Volume Nine, the ninth issue of Volume magazine, Vince Guaraldi on album The Eclectic.
- "Don't Make Promises" - Helen Reddy on her album I Don't Know How to Love Him, Three Dog Night on their eponymous first album, Bobby Darin, 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.
- "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?" - 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 andElegy (in both cases as "Hang On to a Dream"), Rudy Bennett in the film Zoeken naar Eileen, 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").
- "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, Leonard Nimoy, John Holt, Smile (band), Werner Lämmerhirt, Bob Seger, Leslie West, Ramblin' Jack Elliot, Lee Dorsey and Engineers.
- "It'll Never Happen Again" - The Dream Academy, David Sylvian, Cilla Black, Johnny Rivers, and P.P. Arnold.
- "The Lady Came from Baltimore" - Johnny Cash, Joan Baez, Bobby Darin (single), 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" - Colin Blunstone, Astrud Gilberto, Irene Kral, Ron Davies, Sonny and Cher, Jess Roden, The Youngbloods, Bobby Darin, and Cilla Black.
- "Reason to Believe" - 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, and by the Israeli singer Arik Einstein, Vince Guaraldi on album The Eclectic.
- "Red Balloon" - Ricky Nelson, Small Faces, Kula Shaker.
- "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 (onAnother 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, "Reason to Believe" - The Sand Band, "Red Balloon" - Mark Lanegan, "Part of the Wind" - Diagrams, "Its Hard to Believe in Love for Long" - The Magnetic North, "How Can We Hang On To A Dream" - Alela Diane, "Misty Roses" - Snorri Helgason, "If I Knew" - Sarabeth Tucek, "It'll Never Happen Again" - Okkervil River, "If I Were a Carpenter" - Smoke Fairies, "Shiloh Town" - Gavin Clark, "Lenny's Tune" - Hannah Peel and "I Can't Slow Down" - Pinkunoizu.
If I were a Carpenter - Israeli top name singer - Arik Einstein. Hardin also appeared in Israel and the two became friends