Remembering: Tim Hauser of The Manhattan Transfer
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Friday, October 17, 2014
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We’ve received some news that’ll be sad for those of you who’ve enjoyed the music of The Manhattan Transfer over the years: Tim Hauser, who helped found the group way back in 1969, has died at the age of 72.
Born on December 12, 1941 in Troy, New York, Hauser and his family moved to the Jersey Shore while he was still in single digits, ultimately graduating from St. Rose High School in Belmar, NJ, where the school gives out an annual award in his name to students excelling in theater arts. Hauser started his first group, The Criterions, at age 15, recording a pair of singles – “I Remain Truly Yours” and “Don’t Say Goodbye” – and making an appearance on Alan Freed’s Big Beat Show, but his musical success didn’t stop him from attending Villanova University and, after graduation, entering the US Air Force and the New Jersey National Guard. (For you trivia buffs out there, it’s probably worth noting that, while at Villanova, Hauser was a member of the Villanova Singers and the Villanova Spires along with Jim Croce.)
Although The Manhattan Transfer first came into existence in 1969, as noted above, the group’s musical direction was still very much in flux when they recorded their debut album, Jukin’, which ultimately led to their dissolution not long after the album’s release. Hauser decided to reconvene the group in 1972, however, after his experiences while making ends meet as a taxicab driver led to close encounters with Laurel Massé and Janis Siegel. Once Alan Paul was brought in to provide an additional male vocal to the group’s sound, The Manhattan Transfer was born again, and while the lineup has changed slightly on occasion over the years - Massé departed in 1978, but her replacement, Cheryl Bentyne has remained with the group ever since – they’ve soldiered on ever since, scoring several hits during the ‘70s and ‘80s, including “Operator,” “Twilight Zone / Twilight Tone,” and their most substantial US success, “The Boy from New York City,” which hit #7 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1981. They also found fans in the UK, even earning a #1 hit in 1977 with “Chanson D’Amour.”
On The Manhattan Transfer’s official Facebook page, Bentyne, Paul, and Siegel released a joint statement regarding the loss of their longtime musical collaborator:
It is with heavy hearts that we share the news of Tim Hauser’s passing with you all... As many of you know, Tim was the visionary behind The Manhattan Transfer. We spent more than 40 years together singing and making music, traveling the world, and sharing so many special moments throughout our lives... It's incomprehensible to think of this world without him. We join his loving wife, Barb, his beautiful children, his family, and the rest of the world in mourning the loss of our dear friend and partner in song.
Janis, Cheryl and Alan
For those of you with tickets to our upcoming shows, we will continue to tour as scheduled and continue to share Tim’s incredible legacy...
For our part, we’ve put together a playlist featuring songs from throughout The Manhattan Transfer’s career – or, rather, since Hauser successfully reinvented the group – but we decided to close things out with a song from his 2010 solo album, Love Stories. Rest in peace, Tim, and thanks for the music.