Remembering Tim Hauser Through the Songs He Loved

I was both surprised and saddened by the recent passing of Tim Hauser. He was not only the guy who founded the famous vocal group Manhattan Transfer; he was a friend and did a weekly vocal music show on KCRW back when I was Music Director. His show was called, Sunday Sings Jazz on Sundays from Noon-2pm. He was a lover of music and life who wore his heart on his sleeve. You could hear it when he sang, and when he did his radio show too.

Tim, as leader of the Transfer while his KCRW show was running, was on the road a lot. He would come in, record his shows onto DAT or  reel-to-reel. He was well prepared with a playlist printed out, and  always brought original-issue 45 rpm 7" sides in, wanting to get the authentic sound. When he needed a sub, he called his chum Billy Vera. Musically they were on the same page: two peas in a pod.

And so I gave Billy Vera a show too: he featured a lot of 50's R&B, doo-wop, and jazz. I didn't know it at the time, but he had written and produced some #1 hit records for Bonnie Raitt and Lou Rawls. He also had a popular band, Billy and the Beaters, and today he fronts a big jazz band.

So it was only natural to invite Billy over and feature a number of Tim's favorite songs, and that is what this show is all about. Both guys had serious 45 rpm singles collections, and big classic Seeburg jukeboxes at home to play them on. They were close friends and understood each other's tastes.

Tim Hauser founded the Transfer driving around Manhattan making ends meet as a cab driver. Two of his fares turned out to be jazz singers: Janis Siegel and Laurel Massé, who joined the band in its first incarnation. Massé was severely injured in an auto accident and had to leave the band; Cheryl Bentyne took her place. It didn't take long for The Manhattan Transfer to become the #1 vocal group with hits like "Operator", "Tuxedo Junction", "Route 66", and their version of Joe Zawinul's song "Birdland". The group's amazing talent and impeccable four-part harmonies won them numerous grammies and big tours all over the world.

Tim Hauser was born in Troy, NY on the dark day of December 12, 1941, when America was heading into World War II. He grew up mostly on the Jersey Shore, in Asbury Park and Ocean Township. He became interested in vocal pop music at an early age and sang in various ensembles. But it was in 1956, when he heard the group Frankie Lymon And The Teenagers that his future was set. He said hearing the group "was God hitting me with that lightning bolt, going, 'Here it is, kid; if you miss it, it ain't my fault.'"

Tim Hauser, you are loved and will be missed. You were a great musician and human being.

Rhythm Planet Playlist: 10/24/14

  1. Count Basie & Joe Williams / "Goin' To Chicago" / Jazz Tribute To Chicago / U-5
  2. The Videos / "Trickle, Trickle" / Goldisc Records From The Vault Vol. 1 / Goldisc
  3. The Chantels / "He's Gone" / The Best Of The Chantels / Rhino
  4. The Charts / "Why Do You Cry" / The Jesters Meet The Charts Doo Wop / Classic Records
  5. Frankie Lymon and The Teenagers / "ABC's Of Love" / The Best Of Frankie Lymon and The Teenagers / Rhino Atlantic
  6. The Heartbeats / "Crazy For You" / Single / Roulette
  7. The Love Notes / "If I Could Make You Mine" / Harlem Holiday Vol. 1 /
  8. The Flamingos / "Golden Teardrops" / The Only Doo Wop Album You'll Ever Need / AP Music LTD
  9. The Cliques / "Girl In My Dreams" / The Book Of Love / Cherished Records
  10. The Harptones / "That's The Way It Goes" / That's The Way It Goes / Collectables





Tom Schnabel