Tim Hardin

Essential Albums

About Tim Hardin

Tim Hardin might be best known for the tunes he wrote that others found success in covering—including his trademark song “If I Were a Carpenter”—but during his short life he created a stunning body of work that melded folk, jazz, and soul in singular fashion. Born in Eugene, Oregon, in 1941, Hardin inherited a love of music from his parents. He moved to Greenwich Village in New York City in 1961 at the peak of the folk revival, playing folk and blues covers in small clubs and coffeehouses. Later, in Boston, he was discovered by record producer Erik Jacobsen, who connected him with Columbia Records. Hardin moved back to New York in 1964 and signed with the label, which dropped him before he released anything. He headed to Los Angeles in 1965, where he met his girlfriend, actress Susan Yardley, with whom he returned to New York the following year. He inked a new deal with Verve-Forecast in 1966, which released his first four and most acclaimed albums over the next three years, including Tim Hardin 1 and Tim Hardin 2. He forged a literate strain of folk-rock, with some of the jazzy textures Tim Buckley was embracing on the west coast. He later signed again with Columbia, releasing four more studio albums between 1969 and 1972. Hardin struggled but continued to perform through the ’70s in the U.S. and the U.K., dying in December 1980 from a heroin overdose. In the decades since his passing, his legacy has grown, with artists like Ron Sexsmith, Mark Lanegan, and Okkervil River’s Will Sheff expressing their admiration.

Eugene, OR, United States
December 23, 1941
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