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Tim Hardin

Only three weeks after the globally-discussed death of John Lennon, the demise of a contemporary songwriter passed almost unnoticed by the media.

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Like Lennon, Tim Hardin had virtually vanished from the music business during the last half of the 1970s.

Unlike Lennon, however, his retreat was not solely a matter of personal choice, but the culmination of a downward personal and artistic spiral.

In 1966 and 1967, Hardin had been one of the most promising of the emerging folk-rock singer-songwriters with his If I Were A Carpenter getting covered for a Top Ten hit by Bobby Darin.

Other Hardin compositions from the era like Misty RosesReason To Believe and How Can We Hang On To A Dream became near-standards, combining folk, rock, pop and bits of jazz and blues with a tender, world-weary romanticism.

But even as his songs were reaching the ears of millions via covers by the likes of Darin and Rod Stewart, and influencing dozens of early pioneering folk-rock singer-songwriters such as John Sebastian (who played on early Hardin recordings), Hardin was squandering opportunities and alienating his closest associates through his reckless drug abuse and womanising.

Never recapturing the muse informing his first two albums of the mid-60s, he hadn’t released music for about six years when he died of a heroin overdose in a Los Angeles apartment on 29 December 1980, aged 39.