James Timothy "Tim" Hardin (December 23, 1941 – December 29, 1980)[1] was an American folk musician and composer. He wrote the Top 40 hits "If I Were a Carpenter", covered by, among others, Bobby DarinJoan BaezJohnny CashThe Four TopsRobert 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.


 [hide*1 Early life and career

Early life and career[edit]Edit

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.[citation needed] Hardin is said to have discovered heroin in Vietnam.[2]

After his discharge he moved to New York City in 1961, where he briefly attended the American Academy of Dramatic Arts.[2] He was dismissed due to truancy and began to focus on his musical career by performing around Greenwich Village, mostly in a blues style.[3]

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.[4] 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.[5]

After moving to Los AngelesCalifornia in 1965, he met actress Susan Morss (known professionally as Susan Yardley),[2][6] 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 and contained "If I Were a Carpenter". An English tour was cut short after Hardin contracted pleurisy.[7]

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.[citation needed]

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 band that included drummer Muruga Booker.

He recorded three albums for Columbia—Suite for Susan Moore and Damion: We Are One, One, All in OneBird on a Wire; and Painted Head.

In 1973, Hardin appeared on stage with Harry Chapin as part of Chapin's concert in PotsdamNew 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.[citation needed]

Later work and death[edit]Edit

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.

Tim Hardin died of a heroin overdose on December 29, 1980,[8] and his remains were buried in Twin Oaks Cemetery in Turner, Oregon.

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.[9]


Covers of Hardin songs[edit]Edit

If I were a Carpenter - Israeli top name singer - Arik Einstein. Hardin also appeared in Israel and the two became friends

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