The Finch Formerly Known As Gold

1 April 2004

Remembering Timi

Her full name was Rosemarie Timotea Aurro, but by the time they squoze it down to fit on the label of a 45, she'd become Timi Yuro.

The small name, however, was attached to a BIG voice. In 1961, not yet twenty-one, she took a humdrum mid-50s R&B pout and turned it into an event.


How powerful, this voice? Elvis himself cut this tune, and it's still Timi's version you remember.

Timi Yuro sang lots of things. We forget, for instance, that she got the pop hit of Hank Cochran's "Make the World Go Away", two whole years before Eddy Arnold conquered Nashville with it; in between hits, she recorded old standards, folk tunes, and anything else she could fit in. (It helped that she was recording for Liberty, a record company which didn't believe in underutilizing their artists.)

But I'm spinning "What's A Matter Baby" right now, her big 1962 hit, and the hair on the back of my neck is standing at attention.

And my hurtin' is just about over
But baby, it's just startin' for you

Sung and recorded at the very edge of distortion, then remixed by Phil Spector, this may be Yuro's best: the voice is just as big, and the finger she's pointing is even bigger.

Throat cancer, which wouldn't stay put even after they removed her larynx, ended her career; finally, having migrated to the brain, it ended her life this week.

Posted at 9:49 PM to Tongue and Groove