Tim Hauser, who died Oct. 16 at the age 0f 72, of cardiac arrest, was the visionary behind the sophisticated jazz-pop group the Manhattan Transfer, surviving members said in a press release. He was also the only person to be in every incarnation of the group and — like group member Alan Paul, who grew up in Newark and Hillside — a New Jerseyan.
Hauser grew up in Monmouth County, and a chance 1956 encounter with Frankie Lymon at Asbury Park’s Convention Hall changed his life. He got to watch Lymon and his group, the Teenagers, rehearse backstage. “I swear that was my turning point,” he told the Asbury Park Press in 2012. “That was God’s way of saying, ‘Here’s your gig, son and if you don’t get it, it’s not my fault.’ ”
In honor of Hauser, today’s installment in the 350 Jersey Songs series is the Manhattan Transfer’s slick but upliftingly joyful version of “The Boy From New York City” (Hauser can be seen at the far right of the vocal quartet), as performed on the TV show “Fridays” in 1981. The song itself has a Jersey connection, too, since the Ad Libs, who made it a hit in 1965, were from Bayonne.
And — one more bit of trivia — the guy introducing the band via a pretty good Howard Cosell imitation is Larry David, who later went on to fame as the co-creator of “Seinfeld” and the star of “Curb Your Enthusiasm.”
New Jersey celebrated its 350th birthday in 2014. And in the 350 Jersey Songs series, we marked the occasion by posting 350 songs — one a day, from September 2014 to September 2015 — that have something to do with the state, its musical history, or both. To see the entire list, click here.