Mel and Tim

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Mel & Tim
OriginUnited States
GenresSoul, R&B
Years active1969–1974
LabelsBamboo, Stax
Past membersMel Hardin
Tim McPherson

Mel and Tim were an American soul music duo active from 1969 to 1974. They are best known for the hit songs "Backfield in Motion", "Starting All Over Again" and "Good Guys Only Win in the Movies".


Melvin McArthur Hardin and Hubert Timothy McPherson were cousins from Holly Springs, Mississippi, who traveled to Chicago, where they were discovered by Gene Chandler. Yolanda Hardin (who was Mel Hardin's mother and McPherson's aunt) along with their cousins Walita, Catha, Donny and Darris Maxwell, helped the duo with songwriting and publicity.

Yolanda, formerly a singer, signed them to a recording contract with her Bamboo Records, and they recorded their own song, "Backfield in Motion". The record was immediately successful, reaching number 3 on Billboard magazine's R&B chart and number 10 on its pop chart in 1969. It sold over one million copies and was awarded a gold disc.[1] Their follow-up record was "Good Guys Only Win in the Movies", which was also the title of their first album.

Hardin and McPherson subsequently moved to Stax Records, for which they recorded a second top 5 R&B hit, the ballad "Starting All Over Again", released in the United States in June 1972. The record climbed to number 19 on the Billboard pop chart and stayed on the chart for 20 weeks.[2] Five months after its release, it was their second million seller.[1] It was also the title track of their second album, released in 1972, recorded in Muscle Shoals and produced by Phillip Mitchell. Mel and Tim performed at the Wattstax charity concert that year, but later recordings could not repeat their earlier successes.

Tim McPherson died in 1986.[3]

"Backfield in Motion" was covered by Anthony Swete.[4] "Starting All Over Again" was covered by Hall and Oates in 1990 for their album Change of Season.


Charted singles[edit]

List of charted singles, with selected peak chart positions
Year Title Chart positions
US Pop

1969 "Backfield in Motion" 10 3 79
1970 "Good Guys Only Win in the Movies" 45 17
1972 "Starting All Over Again" 19 4
1973 "I May Not Be What You Want" 113 33
1974 "That's the Way I Want to Live My Life" 79
"Forever and a Day" 88


  1. ^ a b Murrells, Joseph (1978). The Book of Golden Discs (2nd ed.). London: Barrie and Jenkins. p. 264 & 316. ISBN 0-214-20512-6.
  2. ^ Whitburn, Joel (1990). The Billboard Hot 100 Charts: The Seventies (8 July 1972 through 18 November 1972). Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin: Record Research. ISBN 0-89820-076-8.
  3. ^ Tim McPherson at Discogs.
  4. ^ Australian Record Labels - Page 32 101882 BACKFIELD IN MOTION / MAKE BELIEVE, MARK JUHNS/ANTHONY SWETE
  5. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2003). Top Pop Singles 1955–2002. Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin: Record Research. p. 465. ISBN 0-89820-155-1.
  6. ^ Whitburn, Joel (1996). Top R&B Singles: 1942–1995. Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin: Record Research. p. 299. ISBN 0-89820-115-2.
  7. ^ Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992 (illustrated ed.). St Ives, N.S.W.: Australian Chart Book. p. 197. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.

External links[edit]