Bertie Higgins

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Bertie Higgins
Birth name Elbert Joseph Higgins
Born (1944-12-08) December 8, 1944 (age 69)
Origin Tarpon Springs, Florida
Genres Country, pop, soft rock
Occupations Singer-songwriter
Years active 1981–present
Labels Kat Family, Epic
Website Official website

Elbert Joseph "Bertie" Higgins (born December 8, 1944,[1] Tarpon Springs, Florida) is an American singer-songwriter.[2] In 1982, he had his only Top 40 album with Just Another Day in Paradise. It spawned the Top 10 romantic ballad Key Largo, which referenced the Humphrey Bogart movie of the same name and reached #8 in the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 record chart and #1 in the adult contemporary charts. In 2009, the song was #75 on VH1's Greatest One-Hit Wonders of the 80's.

Career[edit]

Higgins, who is of Portuguese, Irish and German descent and once supported himself as a sponge diver, began his career in show business at the age of twelve as a ventriloquist. He won prizes in local talent contests and became a favorite at school assemblies around Tampa Bay.

Higgins' first band played proms, homecoming dances, and sock hops. After graduating Tarpon Springs High School, Higgins enrolled in St. Petersburg Junior College to study journalism and fine art. He eventually left college and became a drummer for the Tommy Roe band and The Roemans, and played alongside such groups as The Rolling Stones and The Beach Boys.

Tiring of the rigors of the road and yearning to make his own musical statement, Higgins left The Roemans and returned home to Florida. He put down his drumsticks, picked up a guitar and began crafting music and lyrics. Music producers such as Bob Crewe, Phil Gernhard, and Felton Jarvis took an interest in him and contributed to the growth of the young songwriter. Higgins' talent flourished and he was in demand to play venues throughout the state. During this period, he also met and became a protégé of actor/director Burt Reynolds, who saw Higgins' writing potential and tutored him in screenwriting.

In 1980, Higgins moved to Atlanta and met record producer Sonny Limbo. He arranged a meeting between Higgins and music publisher Bill Lowery, whom Higgins had known through Tommy Roe.

Higgins had been working on a song about a failed romance. He presented the rough cut to Lowery and Limbo. They helped him perfect the lyrics of the song that became Key Largo. Higgins recorded the master and presented it to Kat Family records, a newly formed CBS/Sony distributing company. After an initial rejection, Kat Family agreed to release the single. Key Largo eventually landed in the Top Ten in the United States. Other singles followed such as Just Another Day in Paradise, Casablanca, and Pirates and Poets, but none matched the success of Key Largo. During the early 1990s, Higgins was plagued with personal and legal problems that included heavy drinking, divorce, and prison for a 1995 DUI crash.

For the past several years, Higgins and his band have toured extensively around the globe. He is named in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland and displayed in the Georgia Music Hall of Fame in Macon. Besides being a performer, songwriter and vocalist, he is an accomplished screenwriter/novelist and actor. Higgins has owned a successful restaurant in the Florida Keys and has written music for David Letterman, Burt Reynolds, Nancy Wilson, and many others. He has made numerous TV talk show and music variety show appearances around the world. In 2012, following a successful tour of Mainland China, he performed alongside Michael Bolton on two television shows from Beijing including the New Year’s gala. The performances were viewed by an audience of two billion people worldwide. Higgins continues to tour on a regular basis in the Pacific Rim.

Higgins has served on the Board of Governors of the Atlanta Chapter of the Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences for several years. Besides maintaining a rigorous schedule of one-nighters, he also makes regular appearances on the Las Vegas strip.

In recent years, Higgins has moved into film production with his sons Julian and Aaron, producing Beast Beneath (distributed by Entertainment One), 2009's Poker Run(also distributed by Entertainment One) and 2012's The Colombian Connection, starring Tom Sizemore.

Higgins supports several national charitable organizations such as Hospice, The American Cancer Society, and The Boys and Girls Clubs of America. He regularly participates in national golf tournaments for charity.

In 2014, Higgins completed his seventeenth CD entitled, “The Very Best of Trop Rock”.

Discography[edit]

Albums[edit]

Year Album US Label
1982 Just Another Day in Paradise 38 Epic
1983 Pirates & Poets  — Kat Family/CBS
1985 Gone With the Wind  — CBS (Japan)
1991 Back to the Island  — Polydor (Japan)
1994 Back to the Island  — Southern Tracks (different track listing than above album)
1999 Trop Rock  — Key Largo
2002 Island Bound  — Sony
2007 The Ultimate Collection  — Madacy
2008 A Buccaneer's Diary  — Key Largo
2008 The Essential Playlist"  — Toucan Cove/Universal
2009 Captiva  — Toucan Cove/Universal
2012 Year of the Dragon  — Toucan Cove/Universal
2014 Bertie Higgins, Live  — Toucan Cove/Universal
2014 The Very Best of Trop Rock  — Toucan Cove/Universal

Singles[edit]

Year Single Chart Positions RIAA Album
US AC US US Country CAN AC CAN CAN Country
1981 "Key Largo" 1 8 50 1 3 34 Gold Just Another Day in Paradise
1982 "Just Another Day in Paradise" 10 46 90 12  —  —  —
1982 "Casablanca"  —  —  —  —  —  —  —
1982 "Port O Call"  —  —  —  —  —  —  —
1983 "When You Fall in Love" 34  —  —  —  —  —  — Pirates and Poets
1983 "Pirates and Poets"  —  —  —  —  —  —  —
1983 "Tokyo Joe"  —  —  —  —  —  —  —
1988 "You Blossom Me"  —  — 72  —  —  —  — singles only
1989 "Homeless People"  —  — 75  —  —  —  —

References[edit]

  1. ^ "BBC — Music — Bertie Higgins". BBC Online. Retrieved 16 September 2012. 
  2. ^ "Singer Songwriter Bertie Higgins Appears Monday At Pazzazz Lounge". Sarasota Herald-Tribune (Sarasota, Florida, USA: Diane McFarlin). 16 December 1983. p. 90. Retrieved 23 September 2010. 

External links[edit]