Tim Moore is an American singer and songwriter who recorded five albums for David Geffen’s Asylum record label. A self-taught musician, Moore grew up in Philadelphia where he went to art school and began to play his self-penned songs at local coffee houses.
His rock career began as guitarist-singer with DC & the Senators, a cover band opening Philadelphia arena rock shows. During this early period, he also played drums with blues band Woody’s Truck Stop, the first Philadelphia band to feature Todd Rundgren. Producing more and more songs during this time, he and a friend, Jeff Scott, formed The Muffins, the first group to perform and record Moore originals, many of which Scott wrote lyrics for. The Muffins had minor US success on RCA records with a Kinks influenced single, “Subway Traveler”, produced by Cameo-Parkway founder Bernie Lowe. The Muffins peaked in the summer of love, opening for Lou Reed and the Velvet Underground for a week at Philadelphia’s Trauma psychedelic club.
After the Muffins disbanded, Frank Zappa heard Moore’s songs, which he found harmonically advanced for the period, and brought him to New York with the intention of signing him to Bizarre Records. Moore declined the signing when tour scheduling kept Zappa from producing the album himself. Moore returned to Philadelphia and worked as a staff writer and session guitarist on sessions with Thom Bell, Gamble and Huff and other Philly Soul producers. During this time, Moore lived next door to Daryl Hall in downtown Philadelphia where they both pulled salaries as staff writers. Hall and Moore co-wrote material for a band they founded, Gulliver, which released one album on the Elektra Records label.
After the breakup of Gulliver, Moore moved to Woodstock, New York, then the hometown of Bob Dylan, The Band, and Van Morrison, seeking a more personal approach to his music. He struck a deal with ABC-Dunhill records that produced the first Moore single, “A Fool Like You” on which Donald Fagen sang backup. (Moore also sang backup on the first Steely Dan single, “Dallas.”) Moore teamed with producer Nick Jameson to record his first solo album, Tim Moore which was released on Gulf + Western’s Famous Music subsidiary label A Small Record Company. Jameson provided him the Beatles-like studio freedom he had long sought. For the first time, Moore assembled his own tracks as a multi-instrumentalist, layering guitar, keyboard and bass parts over drum tracks by Bernard Purdie and Russ Kunkel. Three singles, “A Fool Like You”, “Second Avenue” and “When You Close Your Eyes”, received much airplay in the US and UK. But as “Second Avenue” was headed up the US charts, the album’s distributor (Paramount) abruptly ceased record operations. Because his single was already climbing the charts, the sudden release from contract spurred a Tim Moore bidding war between Clive Davis and David Geffen. By the time the deal went to Geffen, Art Garfunkel had released a competing version of “Second Avenue” which peaked at #34 on the Billboard Hot 100. This ‘cover battle’ effectively defeated both records’ chances for a hit. Moore’s version of “Second Avenue” made #58 on the Billboard charts.
The following year he released Behind the Eyes, featuring what remains his best-known song in the U.S., “Rock and Roll Love Letter”, a hit for the Bay City Rollers a year later. Moore’s guitar work on “Rock and Roll Love Letter” drew the attention of Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards. The two became friends and Moore spent two weeks guesting on guitar with the Stones and Peter Tosh during their rehearsals at Bearsville Studios.
Although Moore was signed to Los Angeles-based Asylum Records, he didn’t record in L.A. until his third album White Shadows. This more highly polished collection teamed Moore with Michael McDonald, David Foster, the Eagles Timothy B. Schmit, drummer Jeff Porcaro, Little Feat’s Bill Payne, and other L.A. based talent. The band he assembled for the American tour in support of “White Shadows” featured Brian Wilson’s bassist, Bob Lizik, Philadelphia drummer Steve Shive, Pittsburgh drummer Bennett Carlise, David Livingston on guitar and a Bob Lizik compadre from Chicago, John Melnick on keyboards. Lizik and drummer Steve Shive were featured players on his next album, High Contrast on Asylum Records, produced by legendary producer/engineer, Ken Scott who previously had produced albums by David Bowie, Supertramp, Dixie Dregs, Stanley Clarke and was the second engineer to Geoff Emerick on the Beatles White Album.
Moore’s albums were highly praised by critics. Other acts continued to mine his new releases for songs, but neither of these achievements brought Moore wider public attention in his homeland. Instead, he found success outside the US while promoting his fifth album, Flash Forward, produced by Blondie engineer, Rob Freeman. In 1986 Moore spent 75 days touring Brazil after his romantic beat-ballad “Yes” from Flash Forward went to number one and held that position for 10 weeks. “Yes” enjoyed a similar run of success in Portugal in 1988.
Performers who have recorded Moore’s songs include Art Garfunkel (“Second Avenue”), Cher (“Love Enough”), Richie Havens (“That’s the Way I See You/Yes/It Ain’t Over ’til It’s Over”), Bay City Rollers (“Rock and Roll Love Letter”), Etta James (“Charmer”), The Records (another version of “Rock and Roll Love Letter”), Maxine Nightingale (“I Think I Want to Possess You”), Ian Matthews (“A Fool Like You”), Colin Blunstone (“I Can Almost See the Light”, “When You Close Your Eyes”, “Second Avenue”), Eric Andersen (“A Fool Like You”), Cliff Richard (“Love Enough”), Clifford T. Ward (“I Got Lost Tonight”), Jimmy Witherspoon (“Aviation Man”) and others.
Elektra Records 1985
Tracks: Let´s Get Activated, Yes, Body And Soul, I´ll Find A Way, Anything And Everything, Rock & Roll Love Letter, Surrender, Telepath, Theodora & Get It Outta My System.
Musicians on the Flash Forward album: Tim Moore and others.
Asylum Records 1979
Tracks: Hermit Rock, The Right Of A Lover, Gonna Try Again, Everybody Loves A Hero, Cocoa, Fallen Angel, I Can’t Wait, Nightingale & Crisis In The Thin Yard.
Musicians on the High Contrast: Tim Moore, Ken Scott, Geo Conners, Bob Lizik, Carl Sealove, Ed Greene, Steve Shive, Lee Rybacek, Joel Peskin, David Lindley, Rosemary Butler, Randy Bishop, Marty Gwinn & Arlan Greene.
Asylum Records 1977
Tracks: In The Middle, Love Overnight, Strengthen My Love, It’s Your Life, Dolorosa, I Got Lost Tonight, Light Of You, Devil Inside My Heart, Little Bo’s Peep Show & To Cry For Love.
Musicians on the White Shadows: Tim Moore, Elliott Randall, Fred Tackett, Wilton Felder, Bob Lizik, Lee Sklar, Craig Doerge, Bill Payne, Mike Utley, Jai Winding, Harvey Mason, Jeff Porcaro, Bobbye Hall, Jeff Porcaro, Ernie Watts, Renee Armand, Flo & Eddie, Howard Kaylan, Michael McDonald, Laurel Anne Masse, Timothy B. Schmit, Tom Snow, Richard Torrance & John Townsend.
Behind The Eyes
Asylum Records 1975
Musicians on the Behind The Eyes album: Tim Moore, Joel Bishop O’Brien, Alan Schwartzberg, John Wilcox, John Tropea, Don Payne, Will Lee, Bob Lizik, The Simms Brothers, Andy Robinson & Paul Glanz.
Tracks: For The Minute, Lay Down A Line To Me, (I Think I Wanna) Possess You, Now I See, Rock And Roll Love Letter, If Somebody Needs It; The Night We First Sailed Away, Kaptain Kidd, Sweet Navel Lighting & Bye Bye Man.
Asylum Records 1974
Tracks: A Fool Like You, Second Avenue, Charmer, Sister Lilac, High Feeling, I Can Almost See The Light, Love Enough, Aviation Man, When You Close Your Eyes & I’ll Be Your Time.
Musicians on the Tim Moore album: Tim Moore, Russ Kunkel, Roy Markowitz, Nick Jameson, Billy McCord, Tom Sellers, Stephen Gelfand, Lloyd Hamoy Donnelly, Andy Robinson, Arin Dickens & Annie Sutton.