“Terrible Tom” Bowden comes from a very popular musical family. Tom started his music career in Oakland, CA in 1948 at the Lincoln Theatre on 7th Street as a singer in a talent show. He performed Mule Train by Frankie Lane. By the early 50’s, Tom was harmonizing with vocal groups singing doo wop. By the 60’s he was singing in some of the top clubs in California. He broke in at the difficult North Beach music circuit with The Queen of Broadway, Carol Doda He also worked at Big Al’s, and The Condor Club working with Mr.Swim, Bobby Freeman and Wally Cox. Tom soon moved to the Los Angeles music scene and was an instant hit. Tom was the first black to perform on La Cienega Blvd. at the Apartment Club with his band, LTD with
Jeffrey Osborne on drums. The Whiskey A Go Go loved Otis Redding and after his death, asked Terrible Tom to perform. Tom has shared the stage with Ray Charles, Count Bassie, the Four Tops, Etta James, Aretha Franklin, B.B. King, Bobby Blue Bland, Richard Pryor, Redd Fox, the Whispers, The Temptations, Marvin Gaye, Wilson Pickett, Jackie Wilson and Sam & Dave. Terrible Tom sat in for Dave so it was Sam & Tom at the Sportsman Club where they sang When Something Is Wrong With My Baby. At one point Tom’s back up band was a group of singers who became known as Bloodstone. Tom was Stevie Wonder’s driver and body guard and worked with Shorty Long who made the hit Function at the Junction.