b. Robert Higginbotham, 5th March 1933, Springfield, Ohio, U.S.A.
d. 22nd January 1982, Newark, New Jersey, U.S.A.
Tommy Tucker was an R&B singer, best remembered for his 1964 hit single ‘Hi-Heel Sneakers’.
His real name was Robert Higginbotham.
Tommy was a talented piano player and singer/songwriter.
Born in Ohio, Tommy was the fifth of eleven children.
His parents were Leroy and Mary Higginbotham.
In 1951, Tommy was part of the The Bobby Wood Orchestra.
In 1955, he had moved on to become a member of several groups, including The Belvaderes, The Dusters, and also recorded under the name of Tee Tucker (recording for the ATCO imprint).
long tall shorty b/w mo shorty - 1964 / hi-heel sneakers b/w i don't want cha - 1964
On signing to Checker Records, Tommy’s single, ‘Hi-Heel Sneakers’ b/w ‘I Don't Want ' Cha (Watcha Gonna Do)’, reached number 11 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.
The single also reached number 23 in the U.K. Singles Chart.
Tucker's follow-up Checker release, ‘Long Tall Shorty’ b/w ‘Mo Shorty’, fared less well.
Tommy recruited many musicians to work on his albums, including Louisiana Red, Willie Dixon and Donny Hathaway.
Tommy co-wrote a song with Atlantic Records founder executive Ahmet Ertegün, entitled ‘My Girl (I Really Love Her So)’.
Tommy took a break from music in the late sixties.
He settled in East Orange, New Jersey where he took a position as a real estate agent.
Tommy became a freelance writer for a local newspaper, writing about the exploitation of African Americans in the white owned media.
high heel sneakers - 1964 / mother tucker - 1974 / live and well - 1978 / the rock is my pillow, the cold ground is my bed - 1982
He returned to recording in 1974, recruiting the services of Bo Diddley on two of his albums, namely ‘Mother Tucker’ and, later, ‘The Rocks Is My Pillow, The Cold Ground Is My Bed’.
Tommy was the father of the blues artist Teeny Tucker and was the cousin of Joan Higginbotham, the U.S. female astronaut who went into space on the Space Shuttle in 2006.
Tommy died in 1982 at the age of 48 at College Hospital in Newark, New Jersey.
He was inhaling carbon tetrachloride while refinishing the hardwood floors of his home.
Hi-Heel Sneakers & Long Tall Shorty (Checker Records 1964)
Mother Tucker (Red Lightnin' Records 1974)
Live and Well (Ornament Records 1978)
The Rocks Is My Pillow - The Cold Ground Is My Bed (Red Lightnin' Records 1982)