Timmy Thomas

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Timmy Thomas
Birth nameTimothy E. Thomas
Born (1944-11-13) November 13, 1944 (age 76)
Evansville, Indiana, U.S.
GenresR&B, soul
Occupation(s)Singer, songwriter, musician, record producer
InstrumentsKeyboards, organ, vocals
Years activeEarly 1960s–1990s
LabelsGlades, Marlin, Gold Mountain

Timothy E. Thomas (born November 13, 1944)[1] is an American R&B singer, keyboardist, songwriter and record producer, best known for the hit song, "Why Can't We Live Together".[2]


Thomas first attracted interest in his work as an accompanist with Donald Byrd and Cannonball Adderley, before working as a session musician[2] in Memphis, Tennessee, and releasing singles on the Goldwax Records label. He had little solo success until he moved to Glades Records in Miami, Florida, and in late 1972 he released "Why Can't We Live Together".[2] The record topped the U.S. Billboard R&B chart, made the top three on the Billboard Hot 100, and top 20 in other countries including the United Kingdom[1] where it peaked at number 12 on the UK Singles Chart.[3] This disc sold over two million copies.[1]

He was earlier part of a group called Phillip & the Faithfuls, which also included the singer Phillip Reynolds, releasing material for the Goldwax imprint, including "Love Me", "What'Cha Gonna Do" and "'If You Love Her" (all in 1964). He then became a session musician in Memphis, continuing to release solo sides for Goldwax, including "Have Some Boogaloo". He also released "It's My Life" in 1967. In 1970, he had switched labels to the Climax imprint and one side called "What's Bothering Me". Relocating to Miami, Florida, in 1972, Thomas played sessions for the TK group labels, signing to the Glades Records imprint, where, later that year, he released "Why Can't We Live Together".

Thomas followed up the release with "People Are Changin'" (B-side "Rainbow Power") which reached the charts in 1973. In 1974, he released the album You're the Song I've Always Wanted to Sing. He went on to release six further Glades singles and then, in 1975 recorded a duet with Betty Wright entitled "It's What They Can't See". From 1976 through 1980, Thomas recorded singles for both the Glades imprint and the T.K. Disco label, including "Stone to the Bone", "Africano", "Touch to Touch", "The Magician", "Freak In, Freak Out" and "Drown in My Own Tears" and the albums The Magician (Glades, 1976) and Touch to Touch (Glades, 1977). He also continued to work on sessions for TK Records artists, including Gwen McCrae, and in later years as a producer.

Thomas went on to record several R&B hits culminating in "Gotta Give a Little Love (Ten Years After)", a U.S. top 30 soul entry in 1984 for Gold Mountain Records.[2] Thomas appeared on Nicole McCloud's 1985 album What About Me?, singing on a duet with her called "New York Eyes". This track reached number 41 in the UK.[3]

In the 1990s, he worked as a producer for LaFace Records and released the album With Heart and Soul for DTM Records. Also, his song "(Dying Inside) To Hold You" was a massive hit in the Philippines, and gained further popularity in 2017 when it was covered by Darren Espanto for the film All of You.

In 2015, Drake sampled Thomas' signature hit, "Why Can't We Live Together", on his single "Hotline Bling".




  • "Why Can't We Live Together?" / "Funky Me" (1972)
  • "People Are Changin'" / "Rainbow Power" (1973)
  • "Let Me Be Your Eyes" / "Cold Cold People" (1973)
  • "What Can I Tell Her" / "Opportunity" (1973)
  • "One Brief Moment" / "Rio Girl" (1974)
  • "Deep in You" / "Spread Us Around" (1974)
  • "You're the Song (I've Always Wanted to Sing)" / "I've Got to See You Tonight" (1974)
  • "Sexy Woman" / "Sweet Brown Sugar" (1975)
  • "Ebony Affair" / "It's What They Can't See" (1975)
  • "Love Shine" / "Runnin' Out of Time" (1976)
  • "The Magician" (1976) [UK]
  • "Stone to the Bone" / "Watch It! Watch It!"(1977)
  • "Touch to Touch" / "When a House Got Music" (1977)
  • "Freak In, Freak Out" / "Say Love, Can You Chase Away My Blues?" (1978)
  • "Drown in My Own Tears - Part 1" / "Drown in My Own Tears - Part 2" (1978)
  • "Why Can't We Live Together" (Live) / "Rainbow Power" (1979) [France] [4]
  • "Are You Crazy???" (1981)
  • "My Last Affair" (1982)
  • "Gotta Give a Little Love (Ten Years After)" (1984)
  • "New York Eyes" (with Nicole McCloud) / "Ordinary Girl" (1985)
  • "(Dying Inside) To Hold You" (1990)
  • "What Do You Say to a Lady" (with Jackie Moore) (1991)

Charted singles[edit]

Year Single Chart Positions
US Pop[5] US
AUS[7] UK[8]
1972 "Why Can't We Live Together" 3 1 25 12
1973 "People Are Changin'" 75 23 - -
"Let Me Be Your Eyes" 107 48 - -
"What Can I Tell Her" 102 19 - -
1974 "One Brief Moment" - 62 - -
"I've Got to See You Tonight" /
"You're the Song (I've Always Wanted to Sing)"
- -
1975 "Sexy Woman" - 69 - -
1977 "Stone to the Bone" - 74 - -
1978 "Freak In, Freak Out" - 92 - -
1981 "Are You Crazy??? (Pt. 1)" - 73 - -
1984 "Gotta Give a Little Love (Ten Years After)" 80 29 - -
"Love Is Never Too Late" - 90 - -
1985 "New York Eyes"
Nicole with Timmy Thomas
- - - 41
1990 "Why Can't We Live Together" (remix) - - - 54

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Murrells, Joseph (1978). The Book of Golden Discs (2nd ed.). London: Barrie and Jenkins Ltd. p. 322. ISBN 0-214-20512-6.
  2. ^ a b c d Colin Larkin, ed. (1993). The Guinness Who's Who of Soul Music (First ed.). Guinness Publishing. p. 271. ISBN 0-85112-733-9.
  3. ^ a b Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 557. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
  4. ^ http://www.discogs.com/Timmy-Thomas-Why-Cant-We-Live-Together-Funky-Me/master/93700
  5. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2003). Top Pop Singles 1955-2002 (1st ed.). Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin: Record Research Inc. p. 709. ISBN 0-89820-155-1.
  6. ^ Whitburn, Joel (1996). Top R&B/Hip-Hop Singles: 1942-1995. Record Research. p. 443.
  7. ^ Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992 (illustrated ed.). St Ives, N.S.W.: Australian Chart Book. p. 308. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.
  8. ^ Betts, Graham (2004). Complete UK Hit Singles 1952-2004 (1st ed.). London: Collins. p. 783. ISBN 0-00-717931-6.