The first time Timmy Thomas gave a concert in South Africa, the racist government there was in full effect, Nelson Mandela was in prison, and based on the color of his skin, one of the officials that Thomas dealt with actually had to be home by 9p.m. That was the evil awful law against anyone who wasn’t “white.”
When Thomas first applied for his visa to travel to South Africa, the U.S. State Department tried to forbid him from going. They couldn’t protect him, they said. So he made up a lie about hiring private security and went anyway.
Thomas broke it all down for a small live audience before his epic delivery of “Why Can’t We Live Together” played through his keyboard, which was programmed to sound like a band of string instruments. The hypnotizing rendition included a bad ass, Van Halen style heavy metal guitar solo, played on keyboard. Timmy Thomas shreds.
Great news on the horizon for his manager Jan J. Lisewski from Allsun Records, Timmy Thomas has still got a voice that can cross five generations in four bar’s time, instrumental chops that will be sampled by future Santanas, and an experimental style that breaks all boundaries, just like his message.
Timmy Thomas spoke with heart and soul that his life’s work and purpose is to bring all people together. Keep up the awesome work.
Thomas also got into the story of marching in a non violent protest along with his then college girlfriend (now wife of 51 years) with Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King Jr.’s organization, and getting ready to knock a racist bigot out cold at the march before she reminded him that the international non-violent protest movement was of utmost importance.
Timmy Thomas is the man who performed in Malaysia, Indonesia, The Phillippines, and South Africa, at the height of unrest in those nations, and anywhere there was strife. Nations heard his song and called him, and he went to all of these places, and he never once played a segregated concert.
That’s why Carlos Santana covered his record. Same with Sade. Drake too in his own way. And ultimately Timmy Thomas told the crowd at Books&Books that Henry Stone was the man responsible for making it possible, by believing in the record and putting his distribution engine to work to make it a global hit. Independently.
This is an important part of the legacy of T.K. Productions, and Timmy Thomas said himself “If it wasn’t for Henry Stone, none of this would have happened.”
Timmy Thomas is one amazing human being, who tells us that we all are, or can be, if we all just learn to live together.