Timmy Thomas (born Timothy E. Thomas in Evansville, Indiana, on 13 November 1944; died 11 March 2022) was an American R&B singer, keyboardist, songwriter, and record producer, best known for the hit anti-war song, "Why Can't We Live Together?" (the song subsequently being widely covered and sampled by artists including Canadian rapper Drake.
Thomas first attracted interest for his work as an accompanist with Donald Byrd and Cannonball Adderley, before working as a session musician in Memphis, Tennessee, and releasing singles on the Goldwax Records label. He had little solo success until he moved to Glades Records in Miami, Florida, and in late 1972 he released "Why Can't We Live Together". This was a memorable and heartfelt message song distinguished by its soulful organ, stripped-down production with a simple drum machine, and impassioned vocals.The record topped the Billboard R&B chart, made the top three in the Billboard Hot 100, and Top Ten in many other countries including the UK.This disc sold over two mllion copies.Both the hit single and the LP including the 1972 hit are extremely rare and considered very collectible.
The follow-up "People Are Changin'" made the charts the next year, and he continued to issue singles. The perception of him as a one-hit wonder is belied by his continued success in the R&B chart, where he had several further hits through to 1984.
He also continued to work on sessions for TK Records artists, including Gwen McCrae , and in later years as a producer.
Thomas appeared on Nicole McCloud's 1985 album "What about me", singing a duet with her called "New York Eyes", and on Joss Stone's The Soul Sessions album.
His song "(Dying Inside) To Hold You" was a massive hit in the Philippines, and gained further popularity in 2017 when it was covered by Darren Espanto for the film All of You.
In 2015, Canadian rapper Drake sampled Thomas' signature hit, "Why Can't We Live Together", on his single "Hotline Bling".