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Remembered for his lone Top Ten single, "Key Largo," a soft rock fantasy about living in a Humphrey Bogart film, Bertie Higgins was a professional musician who made the leap to solo performing in the early '80s. His 1982 debut, Just Another Day in Paradise, was actually a comeback of sorts -- it was the first musical venture he had undertaken since 1968, when he retired to his hometown of Tarpon Springs, FL, after the breakup of his group, the Roemans. Between 1964 and 1968, Higgins drummed with the Roemans, who recorded a series of singles for ABC-Paramount, which were all ignored. More importantly, the Roemans supported vocalist Tommy Roe on tour, which was how they sustained an income. Following the breakup of the group, he returned to Tarpon Springs and over the course of the '70s slowly built up a collection of songs that formed the basis of Just Another Day in Paradise. Released on the independent label Kat Family in 1982, the record became a hit as the single "Key Largo" climbed its way into the Top Ten. "Key Largo" was the only hit from the record, although the title track did reach the Top 50. For the next 12 years, Higgins was quiet, releasing Then and Now on Epic in 1994 to little attention. Collectables released a set of mostly re-recorded songs from Higgins' songbook in 2003 as Key Largo. That same year, Brazilia appeared from Key Largo Records. Six years later in 2009, Captiva, on Toucan Cove/Universal, was released.
Elbert Joseph "Bertie" Higgins (born December 8, 1944, Tarpon Springs, Florida) is an American singer-songwriter. In 1982, he had his only Top 40 album with Just Another Day in Paradise. It spawned the Top 10 romantic ballad "Key Largo", which referenced the Humphrey Bogart movie of the same name and reached #8 in the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 record chart, number one in the adult contemporary charts, and a country hit as well. In 2009, his song was #75 on VH1's Greatest One Hit Wonders of the 80's. He also became a multi-platinum recording artist in the Pacific Rim countries including Japan and China due to the mega-hit, "Casablanca".
Higgins is of Irish, German, and Portuguese descent; he is a direct descendant of the German author Johann Wolfgang Goethe.
Higgins' musical career began with a teenage band, "The Romans" (later changed to "The Roemans"), which signed to ABC-Paramount Records in the early 1960s, and was temporarily backing singer Tommy Roe, hence the change of spelling from Romans. The band released three singles between 1964 and 1966. These achieved some radio airplay but did not reach any national charts.
After Higgins failed to follow up the success of "Key Largo," he was plagued with personal and legal problems that included a divorce, heavy drinking, a night in jail for making threatening phone calls to the mother of his ex-wife's boyfriend, and four months in prison for a 1995 DUI crash.
His eldest son, Damian Higgins, who goes by the moniker Dieselboy, is a drum and bass DJ, producer and label head (Human Imprint).
In recent years, Higgins has moved into film production with another son, Julian Higgins, producing The Wrath (distributed by Lions Gate) and a biker film, Poker Run, which was released in 2009. Higgins also co-wrote the screenplays, supervised the music and acted in major roles in both films.