Tommy Bruce (16 July 1937 – 10 July 2006) was an English rock and roll singer who had most of his success in the early 1960s. His cover version of "Ain't Misbehavin'" was a number 3 hit in the UK Singles Chart in 1960.
Life and career
He was born Thomas Charles Bruce, in Stepney, London. Both his parents died when he was a child and he grew up in an orphanage, later working as a van driver in Covent Garden Market before undertaking National Service in Belgium.
Returning to London in 1959, and working again as a market porter, he became a friend of his neighbour, songwriter Barry Mason. Mason suggested he record a version of the song "Ain't Misbehavin'", written by Fats Waller, in a style similar to "Chantilly Lace", a recent hit single by the Big Bopper. Produced by Norrie Paramor and released on Columbia Records, Bruce's recording rose to number 3 in the UK Singles Chart in 1960. He had no musical training, and described his own "sandpaper and gravel" singing voice with a strong London accent as "diabolical".
Backed by the Bruisers, a group of Birmingham musicians, he toured the UK on large variety bills with Billy Fury and others and they made a number of television appearances. However, his subsequent record releases were less successful, only "Broken Doll" and "Babette" making the Top 50. From 1963, he became a regular performer on the ITV variety show Stars and Garters, becoming involved in comedy routines as well as singing. Although he recorded further songs for a number of labels between 1965 and 1969, he largely made a living in cabaret, much of it in Spain and Malta, and also made appearances on the 1960s nostalgia circuit.
|Year||Title||Record label||UK Singles Chart||Billed as|
|1960||"Ain't Misbehavin'"||Columbia||3||Tommy Bruce and the Bruisers|
|1960||"Broken Doll"||Columbia||36||Tommy Bruce and the Bruisers|
- Lodge, Dave (2006). 'Have Gravel Will Travel: The Only Official Tommy Bruce Biography. Mediaworld. ISBN 1-904502-92-X.
- Larkin (1997), p. 80.
- Alan Clayson (14 July 2006). "Obituary: Tommy Bruce | From". London: The Guardian. Retrieved 2012-12-11.
- "Tommy Bruce". 45-rpm.org.uk. Retrieved 2012-12-11.
- "Two Left Feet (1963)". IMDb.com. Retrieved 2012-12-11.
- Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 83. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.