I will take a look at a lady who is considered one of the first Blue Eyed Soul Stylists of the Rock Era. One of her biggest fans would have been the late Elvis Presley.
The best video of her (1981)
The little girl with the big voice, Timi Yuro (born Rosemary Yuro, August 4, 1940 in Chicago, Illinois – March 30, 2004 in Las Vegas, Nevada) was an American soul and R&B singer. She is considered to be one of the first blue-eyed soul stylists of the rock era.
According to her record label, Liberty Records, Yuro moved with her family to Los Angeles, United States. There, she sang in her parents’ Italian restaurant and in local clubs before catching the eye and ear of record executives.
Signed to Liberty, she had a U.S. Billboard No. 4 single in 1961 with “Hurt”, an R&B ballad that had been an early success for Roy Hamilton.
On “Hurt” and on her Billboard No. 12 follow-up in 1962, “What’s a Matter Baby (Is It Hurting You?)”, Yuro showed an emotional but elegant vocal style that owed a debt to Dinah Washington and other black jazz singers. Many listeners in the early 1960s thought Yuro actually was black.
She opened for Frank Sinatra on his 1962 tour of Australia. Then in 1963, Liberty released Make the World Go Away, an album of country and blues standards. The singer at her vocal peak, this recording includes a powerful title track of the same name, a beautifully understated version of Willie Nelson’s “Permanently Lonely”, and two different blues takes of “I’m Movin’ On”.
Yuro was also known for soulful reworkings of popular American standards, such as “Let Me Call You Sweetheart”, “Smile”, and “I Apologize”.
By the late 1960s, Yuro had performed in venues from London to Las Vegas. Sadly the Beatles and the British Invasion had taken their toll on Timi’s and so many other artists of the 1960’s, that her career soon lost its momentum, and she quit the music business altogether after her marriage in 1972.
When Yuro began to sing again in the 1980s, her doctors detected throat cancer. But she continued to have success with her 1982 album “I’m Yours” which also topped the charts, as did her single version of the Bobby Helms classic, “You Are My Special Angel“.
Soon another LP followed in the same year, “Today” which was a very personal effort she made with Willie Nelson, with both Willie dueting and playing for Timi on some tracks.
In 1983, Arcade Records released some new Timi treasures “With a Song in My Heart“, “Crying in the Chapel“, “All in the Game” and “I Love You for Sentimental Reasons“. These songs released on the LP “For Sentimental Reasons” turned out to be the very last new Yuro recordings she would ever record and some of the hardest to still obtain.
Her last recording was the 1984 CD Timi Yuro Sings Willie Nelson, produced by her old friend Nelson.
Her doctors re-detected the throat cancer in 1985. Unable to sing, her larynx and a lung were eventually removed. We were most fortunate that Timi amazingly had that one more chance to made the string of incredible Northern Soul recordings before losing her voice permanently.
Valiantly she fought cancer, but on March 30, 2004 in Las Vegas, she succumbed to brain cancer. Her voice will never be stilled. Timi’s work is admired in the United States as well as in Great Britain, the Netherlands and throughout the world.
According to the obituary in the Las Vegas Sun, her hometown paper, Yuro’s most famous fan was probably Elvis Presley, who commanded his own table at the casino where Yuro headlined in the late 1960s. (Presley had a Top 10 country hit, and Top 30 pop hit, with his 1976 version of “Hurt“.)
In April 2004, the English singer, Morrissey, announced Yuro’s death on his official website, describing her as his “favorite singer”. (Morrissey also recorded a version of Yuro’s “Interlude” with Siouxsie Sioux in 1994.)
P.J.Proby knew Timi Yuro from their time in Hollywood, and often mentions it during his performances of “Hurt“.
Elkie Brooks recorded a version of Yuro’s classic “What’s a Matter Baby” on her 1988 album Bookbinder’s Kid. Yuro was so impressed with the version, she contacted Brooks while she was on a UK tour, and the two kept in contact.
Yuro had found success on the dance floors of northern England in the 1970s and 1980s when Northern Soul DJs championed her up-tempo tracks of “It’ll Never Be Over for Me” and “What’s a Matter Baby“. The former has remained an important Northern Soul track; the latter was re-released on Kent Records in the 1980s.
In 2008, a website managed by the Official Timi Yuro Association was up and running: http://www.timi-yuro.com/
The Official Timi Yuro Association was founded by Timi Yuro and Andy Lensen in September 1981 for her fans worldwide. Its current goals are to promote Yuro’s music and legacy by sharing memories, stories, articles and photos, and exchanging information about her biography, discography, rare recordings, and live and recorded performances.