Tommy Bruce

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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[edit]

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[1] 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.[1] 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".[2][3]

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,[1] he largely made a living in cabaret, much of it in Spain and Malta, and also made appearances on the 1960s nostalgia circuit.[2][3]

Tommy Bruce sang "Two Left Feet" to the opening credits of the 1963 film of the same name.[4]

In 2006 he died in Watford of prostate cancer, at the age of 68.[2]

Chart discography[edit]

Year Title Record label UK Singles Chart[5] Billed as
1960 "Ain't Misbehavin'" Columbia 3 Tommy Bruce and the Bruisers
1960 "Broken Doll" Columbia 36 Tommy Bruce and the Bruisers
1962 "Babette" Columbia 50 Tommy Bruce


Further reading[edit]

  • Lodge, Dave (2006). 'Have Gravel Will Travel: The Only Official Tommy Bruce Biography. Mediaworld. ISBN 1-904502-92-X. 



  1. ^ a b c Larkin (1997), p. 80.
  2. ^ a b c Alan Clayson (14 July 2006). "Obituary: Tommy Bruce | From". London: The Guardian. Retrieved 2012-12-11. 
  3. ^ a b "Tommy Bruce". Retrieved 2012-12-11. 
  4. ^ "Two Left Feet (1963)". Retrieved 2012-12-11. 
  5. ^ a b Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 83. ISBN 1-904994-10-5. 


Larkin, C. (1997). Virgin Encyclopedia of Sixties Music. Muze UK. ISBN 0-7535-0149-X. 

External links[edit]