4 August 1940
30 March 2004 (aged 63)
Timi Yuro (born Rosemary Yuro, August 4, 1940 in Chicago, Illinois - March 30, 2004 in Las Vegas, Nevada) was an American soul and R&B singer. She is considered to be one of the first blue-eyed soul stylists of the rock era.
According to her record label, Liberty Records, Yuro moved with her family to Los Angeles, United States. There, she sang in her parents' Italian restaurant and in local clubs before catching the eye and ear of record executives. Signed to Liberty, she had a U.S. Billboard No. 4 single in 1961 with "Hurt", an R&B ballad that had been an early success for Roy Hamilton. On "Hurt" and on her Billboard No. 12 follow-up in 1962, "What's a Matter Baby (Is It Hurting You?)", Yuro showed an emotional but elegant vocal style that owed a debt to Dinah Washington and other black jazz singers. Many listeners in the early 1960s thought Yuro was black. She opened for Frank Sinatra on his 1962 tour of Australia.
In 1963, Liberty released Make the World Go Away, an album of country and blues standards. The singer at her vocal peak, this recording includes a powerful title track of the same name, a beautifully understated version of Willie Nelson's "Permanently Lonely", and two different blues takes of "I'm Movin' On". Yuro was also known for soulful reworkings of popular American standards, such as "Let Me Call You Sweetheart", "Smile", and "I Apologize".
By the late 1960s, Yuro had performed in venues from London to Las Vegas. However, her career soon lost its early momentum, and she quit the music business altogether after her marriage in 1972. When Yuro began to sing again in the 1980s, her doctors detected throat cancer. Her larynx was eventually removed and in 2004 she succumbed to cancer. Her last recording was the 1984 CD Timi Yuro Sings Willie Nelson, produced by her old friend Nelson.
Yuro's work is admired in the United States as well as in Great Britain and the Netherlands. According to the obituary in the Las Vegas Sun, her hometown paper, Yuro's most famous fan was probably Elvis Presley, who commanded his own table at the casino where Yuro sang in the late 1960s. (Presley had a Top 10 country hit with his 1976 version of "Hurt".) In April 2004, Morrissey announced Yuro's death on his official website, describing her as his "favorite singer". (Morrissey also recorded a version of Yuro's "Interlude" with Siouxsie Sioux in 1995.) P.J.Proby knew Timi Yuro from their time in Hollywood, and often mentions it during his performances of "Hurt".
Yuro found success on the dance floors of northern Britain in the 1970s and 1980s when Northern Soul DJs championed her up-tempo tracks of "It'll Never Be Over for Me" and "What's a Matter Baby". The latter was rereleased on Kent Records in the 1980s.
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