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Timothy Charles Smith (born 3 July 1961 in Carshalton, Surrey)[1][2] is an English singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, record producer and music video director. He is best known as the frontman of the cult English band Cardiacs, who he formed with his brother James "Jim" A. Smith.[3]

Tim Smith
Birth nameTimothy Charles Smith
Born (1961-07-03) 3 July 1961 (age 58)
Carshalton, Surrey, England
GenresArt rock, psychedelic pop, progressive rock, post-punk
Occupation(s)Singer-Songwriter, Music Producer, Music Video Director, Record Label Owner, Recording Studio Owner
InstrumentsVocals, Guitar, Organ, Piano, Synthesizer, Mellotron, Flute, Recorder, Percussion
Years active1975–2008
LabelsAlphabet Business Concern
All My Eye And Betty Martin Music
Associated actsCardiacs
The Sea Nymphs
Spratleys Japs



In 1975, Tim Smith played guitar in a nameless punky, psychedelic instrumental band with school friends Mark Cawthra (Drums) and David Philpot (Keyboard). Smith was taken aback by the sound of David’s Korg synthesiser and would later use the sound early on in Cardiac Arrest/Cardiacs.[citation needed]

In 1979, Smith helped record a 7", A Bus for a Bus on the Bus, at Elephant Studios in London.[4] When Ralph Cade and drummer Peter Tagg left the band he invited Mark Cawthra to take over on drums. Singer Mick Pugh subsequently left and Smith decided to take over the vocals himself. 1980 saw Smith recording the first and only Cardiac Arrest album, The Obvious Identity.[citation needed] Eventually, 1000 cassettes were recorded, but only sold at concerts to save on expenditure.[citation needed]

Smith decided to change the name of the band to Cardiacs in 1981.[citation needed] He helped record the band’s first album, Toy World, in the same manner as the Cardiac Arrest album – on cassette tape – at a small basement studio known as Crow Studios (owned and run by Peter Kunzler).[citation needed] After another line up change, Smith recruited Tim Quy (Percussion), Sarah Cutts (Saxophone) and Dominic Luckman (Drums) into the fold.[citation needed]

In 1983, Smith saw William D. Drake performing on a piano in a public house and drafted him into the ranks of Cardiacs as keyboard player.[citation needed]

The low budget label Alphabet Business Concern was created in 1984. Smith was asked by vocalist Fish to support his band Marillion on their forthcoming tour near the end of the year. Smith agreed but was not prepared for the hostile audience that awaited them on all legs of the tour (forcing them off the final three days of the tour).[citation needed]

In 1985, Smith was approached by students Mark Francombe and Nick Elborough with an offer to shoot footage of them at one of their live concerts as part of their coursework project. The Surbiton Assembly Rooms was chosen and the gig was recorded on 18 April 1985, but Smith was unhappy with the resultant footage and sound quality and canned the project.[5]

The students then assisted Smith with making a promotional video, produced and directed by Smith himself, which would include a 10-minute feature called "The Consultant’s Flower Garden" and three music videos.[citation needed] The video was released.[6]

During the 1990s, Smith took a break from Cardiacs to work on various other projects. During 1989 and 1991, he wrote songs for a solo album, Tim Smith's Extra Special OceanLandWorld, eventually released in 1995[citation needed]. He, estranged wife Sarah (now said to be practising as a white witch[citation needed]) and William D. Drake were reunited as The Sea Nymphs, a folkier, more ethereal and relaxed version of Cardiacs.[citation needed] The threesome had already recorded before in 1984 and released a cassette album, Mr and Mrs Smith and Mr Drake.[citation needed] Smith also performed with ex-Cardiacs guitarist Bic Hayes in Panixsphere in 1993 (although no official recordings exist yet) and with Jo Spratley in Spratleys Japs from 1995. 1999 saw the release of the latest Cardiacs studio album, Guns, on the Alphabet label.[citation needed]

The 21st Century has seen Smith (with Cardiacs) release one single, "Ditzy Scene", in 2007.[7] He has used most of the time again touring and working on new recording output for the near future. In March 2006, he toured with Ginger & The Sonic Circus as their support act, performing acoustic versions of Cardiacs songs, along with his own material.[8]

On 25 June 2008,[9] Smith suffered a heart attack, which caused brain damage through hypoxia and led him to develop the rare neurological condition dystonia, from which he is currently in the process of recovering.[10] As such, all plans for the new Cardiacs album and other future work have been postponed indefinitely. However, a tribute album was released in December 2010 on the website of The Genepool.[11]

In 2013, 2015 and 2017, events dubbed "The Alphabet Business Convention" were held in celebration of and with all proceeds funding Smith and his ongoing recovery. Among other things, they featured live music from bands within the Cardiacs circle.[12][13][14]

In July 2016, a special one-day concert took place in Preston, England, called The Whole World Window with all the funds going towards helping Smith get better. A cassette and CD album of the same name was also released via Hyena Inc containing performances by the same bands.[15]

In November 2016, the long-awaited second Sea Nymphs album, On the Dry Land, was released. This was achieved in part due to Smith's health being well enough to return to the studio in 2015 and 2016 to supervise completion of the album.[16]

In January 2018 an appeal was launched on the crowdfunding website JustGiving with the aim of raising £40,000 to fund Smith's ongoing care. The target amount was exceeded in the first day and a new target of £100,000 was set to provide for a year's care.[17][18]

On 25 October 2018, Smith received an Honorary Degree as Doctor of Music from The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. His brother Jim accepted the honour on his behalf.

Work as producer, video director and label bossEdit

Smith owns and operates his own recording studio - Apollo 8, currently based near Salisbury, Wiltshire - and has a long list of production credits to his name.[19]

Since the early nineties Smith has produced recordings for a variety of musicians and musical groups, many of whom belong to the so-called "Cardiacs family". These include Levitation, Sidi Bou Said, Eat, The Monsoon Bassoon, Wildhearts frontman Ginger (including his Silver Ginger 5 and Howling Willie Cunt projects), Stars In Battledress, Oceansize, William D. Drake, The Shrubbies, The Scaramanga Six and The Trudy.

Smith has created and/or edited pop videos for various bands including Sepultura, Dark Star and The Frank and Walters, as well as Cardiacs.[20]

In 2008 Smith created a film called "The Wildhearts Live In The Studio: A Film By Tim Smith", featuring The Wildhearts playing their self-titled album along with surreal interludes.[21]


Cardiac ArrestEdit


The Sea NymphsEdit


Spratleys JapsEdit

  • Pony CD (2001) AME CD001
  • Hazel CD Single (2001) AME CD002

Albums producedEdit


  1. ^ "England and Wales births 1837-2006". Retrieved 8 December 2017.
  2. ^ "Benefit For Tim Smith (Cardiacs) with Mr Smith and the Big Ships, The Dogbones, Poino, Claire Lemmon & Dogstand live at The Windmill". 19 May 2012. Retrieved 8 December 2017.
  3. ^ Cashmore, Pete (2 June 2015). "Cult heroes: Tim Smith led the Cardiacs in the face of hatred – and much love". The Guardian. Retrieved 8 December 2017.
  4. ^ "CARDIACS history". Retrieved 19 August 2015.
  5. ^ Elborough, Nick. "The making of Seaside Treats".
  6. ^ Elborough, Nick. "The making of Seaside Treats".
  7. ^ "Kavus Torabi's Guide To Cardiacs". 11 August 2014. Retrieved 8 December 2017.
  8. ^ "Ginger & the Sonic Circus - Rescue Rooms, Nottingham, England, UK". 27 March 2006. Retrieved 8 December 2017.
  9. ^ "Cardiacs News Archive". Cardiacs Official Website. 16 July 2008. Retrieved 15 April 2014.
  10. ^ "Tim Smith Health Statement 2018". 2018. Retrieved 19 October 2018.
  11. ^ "Magic Numbers and XTC raise funds for Salisbury musician". BBC Wiltshire. 14 December 2010. Retrieved 19 May 2013.
  12. ^ "The Alphabet Business Convention". Salisbury Arts Centre. Retrieved 8 December 2017.
  13. ^ "The Alphabet Business Convention. Salisbury Arts Centre. Saturday 2nd May 2015". 7 April 2015. Retrieved 8 December 2017.
  14. ^ "The Alphabet Business Convention". 16 March 2015. Retrieved 8 December 2017.
  15. ^ "The Whole World Window - A Benefit for Tim Smith". New Retrieved 8 December 2017.
  16. ^ "The Sea Nymphs". Imgur. 23 November 2016. Retrieved 8 December 2017.
  17. ^ "Tim Smith, the Cardiacs singer hoping to overcome brain injury to make music once more".
  18. ^ "Weʼre raising £100,000 to fund Tim Smith's healthcare costs for one year".
  19. ^ "Tim Smith Discography: Production Credits". Discogs. Retrieved 14 December 2015.
  20. ^ "Tim Smith Discography: Visual Credits". Discogs. Retrieved 14 December 2015.
  21. ^ "Discography". The Wildhearts. Retrieved 29 June 2014.

External linksEdit