Tommy Tucker (singer)

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Tommy Tucker
Birth name Robert Higginbotham
Born (1933-03-05)March 5, 1933
Springfield, Ohio, United States
Died January 22, 1982(1982-01-22) (aged 48)
Newark, New Jersey, United States
Genres Blues
Occupation(s) Singer-songwriter, pianist
Instruments Piano

Tommy Tucker (born Robert Higginbotham; March 5, 1933 – January 22, 1982)[1] was an American blues singer-songwriter and pianist. He is best known for the 1964 hit song, "Hi-Heel Sneakers", that went to No. 11 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, and peaked at No. 23 in the UK Singles Chart.[2]

Early life[edit]

He was born Robert Higginbotham, to Leroy and Mary Higginbotham, the fifth of eleven children, in Springfield, Ohio, United States.


Tucker's follow-up release, "Long Tall Shorty", was less successful. Nevertheless, musicians that played on his albums included Louisiana Red, Willie Dixon and Donny Hathaway.

Tucker co-wrote a song with Atlantic Records founder executive Ahmet Ertegün, called "My Girl (I Really Love Her So)". Tucker left the music industry in the late 1960s, taking a position as a real estate agent in New Jersey. He also did freelance writing for a local newspaper in East Orange, New Jersey, writing of the plight and ignorance of black males in America, and the gullibility and exploitation of African Americans in general by the white-dominated media.[citation needed] Tucker currently has four albums selling in Europe and over the internet, through the Red Lightnin' record label.

Personal life[edit]

Tucker was the father of up-and-coming blues artist Teeny Tucker (real name Regina Westbrook), and was the cousin of Joan Higginbotham, the U.S. female astronaut who launched in November 2006 on the Space Shuttle Discovery.[citation needed]

He was also friends with Davey Moore, the featherweight who died following a boxing contest with Sugar Ramos; and Johnny Lytle, the renowned vibraphonist.


Tucker died in 1982 at the age of 48 at College Hospital in Newark, New Jersey, from inhaling carbon tetrachloride while refinishing the hardwood floors of his home; though his death has been alternatively attributed to food poisoning.[3][4]


  1. ^ "The dead Rock Stars Club : The 1980s". Retrieved 2015-12-19. 
  2. ^ Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 568. ISBN 1-904994-10-5. 
  3. ^ "Tommy Tucker". Retrieved 2014-06-13. 
  4. ^ "Robert Higginbotham, Singer Of Blues and Jazz, Dead at 48". The New York Times. January 25, 1982. Retrieved 2012-08-20. Robert Higginbotham, a blues and jazz singer who performed under the name Tommy Tucker, died Friday at College Hospital in Newark. Mr. Higginbotham, who lived in East Orange, N.J., was 48 years old. ... A native of Springfield, Ohio, he had lived in East Orange for 17 years. He was a licensed real-estate broker and had been an amateur prize fighter as a young man. 

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