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Tommy Bruce

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Tommy Bruce

Tommy Bruce (16 July 1937 – 10 July 2006) was an English rock and roll singer who had most of his success in the early 1960s. His cover version of "Ain't Misbehavin'" was a Top Ten hit in the UK Singles Chart in 1960.

Life and career

He was born Thomas Charles Bruce, in Stepney, London. Both his parents died when he was a child and he grew up in an orphanage, later working as a van driver in Covent Garden Market before undertaking National Service in Belgium.

Returning to London in 1959, and working again as a market porter, he became a friend of his neighbour, songwriter Barry Mason. Mason suggested he record a version of the song "Ain't Misbehavin'", written by Fats Waller, in a style similar to "Chantilly Lace", a recent hit single by The Big Bopper. Produced by Norrie Paramor and released on Columbia Records, Bruce's recording rose to number 3 in the UK Singles Chart in 1960. He had no musical training, and described his own "sandpaper and gravel" singing voice with a strong London accent as "diabolical".[1][2]

Backed by the Bruisers, a group of Birmingham musicians, he toured the UK on large variety bills with Billy Fury and others and they made a number of television appearances. However his subsequent record releases were less successful, only "Broken Doll" and "Babette" making the Top 50. From 1963, he became a regular performer on the ITV variety show Stars and Garters, becoming involved in comedy routines as well as singing. Although he recorded further songs for a number of labels between 1965 and 1969, he largely made a living in cabaret, much of it in Spain and Malta, and also made appearances on the 1960s nostalgia circuit.[1][2]

Tommy Bruce sang "Two Left Feet" to the opening credits of the 1963 film of the same name.[3]

In 2006 he died in Watford of prostate cancer, at the age of 68.[1]

Chart discography

Year Title Record label UK Singles Chart[4] Billed as
1960 "Ain't Misbehavin'" Columbia 3 Tommy Bruce and The Bruisers
1960 "Broken Doll" Columbia 36 Tommy Bruce and The Bruisers
1962 "Babette" Columbia 50 Tommy Bruce
[4]

Further reading

References

Notes

Bibliography

External links

  • Tommy Bruce home page

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