Album:Super Hits of the '70s: Have a Nice Day Vol. 6
Timothy was the only big hit for the Buoys in 1971. There has been a history of death songs over the years like Tell Laura I Love Her and Teen Angel. But Timothy is about cannibalism. So the song was controversial at the time. The man behind the song was songwriter and producer Rupert Holmes. He is best known for the 1979 hit The Pina Colada Song. But before that he had success as a producer starting with 1969 top ten hit Tracy by the Cuff Links. The Cuff Links weren't really a band. It was just Holmes and The Archies lead singer Ron Dante. The Cuff Links ended when Dante wasn't allowed to join a touring band. Holmes was working on a pop arrangement of the Tennessee Ernie Ford classic Sixteen Tons which is about miners. Holmes had recently watched the 1959 film of the Tennessee Williams play Suddenly Last Summer which referenced cannibalism. He thought if he wrote a song about cannibalism it would get banned and the notoriety would make it a hit. He disguised it as an upbeat pop song. The Buoys were from Wilkes Barre, PA with Billy Kelly on lead vocals, Fran Bozema on keyboards, Jerry Hludzik on bass, Chris Hanlon on drums and Carl Siracuse on drums. Scepter Records released the record and it reached #17 on the Billboard Hot 100. Holmes' strategy was partially successful. Some radio stations played Timothy. But when they found out the song was about cannibalism, it was banned. This made teens want to hear the song even more and fueled record sales. But it also meant that larger radio stations already knew about the song and wouldn't play it at all and that prevented Timothy from reaching the top ten. The Buoys recorded one unsuccessful album and then split up. You can get Timothy on this Rhino various artists comp. Since 1980, Billy Kelly and Jerry Hludzik have led Dakota and they perform Timothy as part of their act. Depending on your viewpoint, Timothy is either a forgotten classic or one of the most notorious songs in pop history. I have heard worse. Here's Dakota performing Timothy from their 25th anniversary reunion DVD Nov. 23, 2005.