Tim Burgess inherited Mick Jagger's rock & roll swagger and big lips before Oasis' Liam Gallagher became famous for them. When Burgess debuted with his group the Charlatans in the late ‘80s, he looked and sounded almost interchangeable with many of the Manchester, England artists at the time — bangs, baggy pants, and detached, lazy vocals — but by embracing other musical styles and moving forward, he has actually outlived his contemporaries. Burgess may not receive the critical accolades, British tabloid mentions, and chart hits of the bands who influenced him or whom he helped inspire, but he has quietly built a solid career with an impressive body of work that transcended the Madchester, shoegaze, and Brit-pop movements that his group flirted with. Burgess was born on May 30, 1967 in Salford, Manchester, England. In 1989, he joined the Charlatans, then consisting of keyboardist Rob Collins, guitarist John Baker, bassist Martin Blunt, and drummer Jon Brookes. Burgess was selected after an array of singers had already been auditioned. In 1991, the band was signed to Beggars Banquet. The single "The Only One I Know" was hugely successful on U.S. modern rock stations, peaking at number five. Nirvana and their grungy brethren had yet to conquer the alternative airwaves, and the Charlatans were on the verge of an American breakthrough. But that didn't happen as "The Only One I Know" had little appeal outside of the college circuit, and after Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit" was unleashed in the summer of 1991, it was open season on English acts. Nevertheless, Burgess continued with the Charlatans while their more popular heroes the Stone Roses and the Happy Mondays folded early. Once considered bandwagon jumpers of the Madchester scene, the Charlatans gained tremendous respect by refashioning their dated mix of '60s psychedelic rock and club beats on subsequent records. In 1995, Burgess recorded "Life Is Sweet" with the Chemical Brothers, reflecting his love for techno, a genre that his own group eventually incorporated. By the late ‘90s, Burgess displayed an obvious affection for Bob Dylan and Curtis Mayfield in his evolving singing style. Wanting to break away from the Charlatans' formula, Burgess began crafting a solo album in Los Angeles. That album, I Believe, appeared in September of 2003. Over the next decade, the Charlatans toured and recorded regularly, and Burgess increasingly took on extracurricular activities, including appearing on the 2010 album by Peter Hook's Freebass. Around that time, Burgess established his Tim's Peak Diner DJ sets, which played at various music festivals. He also moved to Nashville, Tennessee, which is where he recorded his second solo album, 2012's Oh No I Love You. The Charlatans released their twelfth album, Modern Nature, in 2015 and Burgess returned to his solo career, releasing a mix album called Tim Burgess Presents: Vinyl Adventures from Istanbul to San Francisco in the summer of 2016 and then issuing Same Language, Different Worlds, a collaboration with modern classical composer Peter Laurence Gordon, that fall. Also in 2016, Burgess published a memoir of his love affair with records called Tim Book Two Vinyl Adventures.
The Charlatans released their 13th album, Different Days, in 2017. The following year, Burgess excavated As I Was Now, an album he recorded in December 2008, for an exclusive Record Store Day release. A collection of lyrics called One, Two, Another was published in 2019.
During the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic quarantine, Burgess held a series of social media events called "Tim's Twitter Listening Party," where he played ringleader for sharing memories and opinions on classic albums. Artists also participated in the parties, ranging from Oasis' Bonehead to Throwing Muses. The listening parties would set the stage for the May 2020 release of I Love the New Sky, the first proper Tim Burgess solo album since 2012's Oh No I Love You. ~ Michael Sutton & Stephen Thomas Erlewine