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Tom Waits

In the 1970s, Tom Waits combined a lyrical focus on desperate, low-life characters with a persona that seemed to embody the same lifestyle, which he sang about in a raspy, gravelly voice. From the '80s on, his work became increasingly theatrical as he moved into acting and composing. Growing up in Southern California, Waits attracted the attention of manager Herb Cohen, who also handled Frank Zappa, and was signed by him at the beginning of the 1970s, resulting in the material later released as The Early Years and The Early Years, Vol. 2. His formal recording debut came with Closing Time (1973) on Asylum Records, an album that contained "Ol' 55," which was covered by labelmates the Eagles for their On the Border album. Waits attracted critical acclaim and a cult audience for his subsequent albums, The Heart of Saturday Night (1974), the two-LP live set Nighthawks at the Diner (1975), Small Change (1976), Foreign Affairs (1977), Blue Valentine (1978), and Heart Attack and Vine (1980). His music and persona proved highly cinematic, and, starting in 1978, he launched parallel careers as an actor and as a composer of movie music. He wrote songs for and appeared in Paradise Alley (1978), wrote the title song for On the Nickel (1980), and was hired by director Francis Coppola to write the music for One from the Heart (1982), which earned him an Academy Award nomination. While working on that project, Waits met and married playwright Kathleen Brennan, with whom he later collaborated.

Moving to Island Records, Waits made Swordfishtrombones (1983), which found him experimenting with horns and percussion and using unusual recording techniques. The same year, he appeared in Coppola's Rumble Fish and The Outsiders, and, in 1984, he appeared in the director's The Cotton Club. In 1985, he released Rain Dogs. In 1986, he appeared in Down by Law and made his theatrical debut with Chicago's Steppenwolf Theatre in Frank's Wild Years, a musical play he had written with Brennan. An album based on the play was released in 1987, the same year Waits appeared in the films Candy Mountain and Ironweed. In 1988, he released a film and soundtrack album depicting one of his concerts, Big Time. In 1989, he appeared in the films Bearskin: An Urban Fairytale, Cold Feet, and Wait Until Spring. His work for the theater continued in 1990 when Waits partnered with opera director Robert Wilson and beat novelist William Burroughs and staged The Black Rider in Hamburg, Germany. In 1991, he appeared in the films Queens' Logic, The Fisher King, and At Play in the Fields of the Lord. In 1992, he scored the film Night on Earth; released the album Bone Machine, which won a Grammy Award for Best Alternative Music Album; appeared in the film Bram Stoker's Dracula; and returned to Hamburg for the staging of his second collaboration with Robert Wilson, Alice. The Black Rider was documented on CD in 1993, the same year Waits appeared in the film Short Cuts.

A long absence from recording resulted in the 1998 release of Beautiful Maladies, a retrospective of his work for Island. In 1999, Waits finally returned with a new album, Mule Variations. The record was a critical success, winning a Grammy for Best Contemporary Folk album, and was also his first for the independent Epitaph Records' Anti subsidiary. A small tour followed, but Waits jumped right back into the studio and began working on not one but two new albums. By the time he emerged in the spring of 2002, both Alice and Blood Money were released on Anti Records. Blood Money consisted of the songs from the third Wilson/Waits collaboration that was staged in Denmark in 2000 and won Best Drama of the Year. After limited touring in support of these two endeavors, Waits returned to the recording studio and issued Real Gone in 2004. The album marked a large departure for him in that it contained no keyboards at all, focusing only on stringed and rhythm instruments. Glitter and Doom Live appeared in 2009. Waits didn't release another studio album of new material until 2011, when he issued Bad as Me on Anti in the Fall. He uncharacteristically issued a track listing two months in advance of the release, and the pre-release title track as a digital single. He also took the unusual step of releasing a video in which he allowed bits of all the album's songs to play while he scolded bloggers and peer-to-peer sites for invading his privacy. ~ William Ruhlmann, Rovi
full bio

Selected Discography

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Track List: Back In The Crowd (Single)

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Track List: Bad As Me (Single)

Comments

ONE OF US!!!
ONE OF. US!!!
GOOBLE~GOBBL E ,
ONE OF US!!!
:-D
The end of Toms bio is pretty funny! He made a video to scold bloggers and the like while his music plays. :)
atx1984atx
To waits is God! Wait... The Devil! Amazing man for sure
If Tom Waits & Dr. John could have a child together, would the Apocalypse finally happen???
Just wondering... . . . . . . . .
Luuuuuuuuuuu u u u u u u u v n THIS!!! :-)
Rain Dog and Big Time are two of my favorites , it was at a time I needed it
Thanks Tom!
@xhidden99, ROFLMFAO. Yes, I suppose your opinion is supported by the number of other artists who cover his work not to mention the number of film sound tracks it appears on. Oh wait...that doesn't support your opinion at all. :)>
We really should include the soundtrack to One from the Heart. It's a good album, and the music stands on its own.
I am proof his fan base is still growing. I will always fight for real musicians no matter what genre. He is brilliant at what he does
check out Captain Beefheart, especially Trout mask replica, if you like Waits, you will probably dig it, and see another musician I am sure he got inspiration from.
Cote
very well then.Now we hear.Merci.
magdalena219 6
Beautiful <3
poetry
rereading on the road. Uncanny how strong Kerouac influenced him. In the dark narcotic American night:
Przybysz9. U abs hit the trifecta here !!
faganwright
love Tom Waits; love this duet - and want to acknowledge the amazing Bette Midler who sang this with Tom…wouldn't have worked as well without her
jeffreymqs64 1
If you need some extra income you can use BLUDOS.COM this is a way to make cash with surveys for free. It's very simple.
gafltc
Why's there always some person ready to say it's sh*t about some form of Art where the artist has made a rewarding, fulfilling career, complete with fans from many generations, and which has made the artist millions of dollars? Why? If you don't like it, please leave. That's all, isn't it?
claricentp91 7
People interested in making a few extra bucks per day you can check out BLUDOS.COM This site makes me around 70 usd per day. It's free to sign up.
shawnnavuz71 1
If you wish to add some extra money to you wallet go to BLUDOS.COM They offer really easy free online jobs where you can make a few extra hundred dollas a week !
catsden81
What yr you talk.in
catsden81
Bullshit
Tom Waits has had an awesome, prolific career. The bio covers just some of what he's done, and fails to mention quite a lot; he's appeared in more films than mentioned, and not small roles either, and the excellent Orphans three cd release also gets left out. As does his collaboratio n album with John Hammond, and many other collaboratio n s .

It's a hard thing to do to write any bio of Waits that doesn't omit stuff though, if you only have limited space to do it in.
I stumbled upon Waits in 1974. Since then I have come to the conclusion that he the greatest artist this country and perhaps the world has ever produced. If you don't agree, I don't care, so don't bother.
This man rekindled my love for alot of amazing music an idk where I'ld b in my life without him.I thank my stars for all of his work.you are without a doubt one of a kind,one of the most original musicians of the last 40 years an a legend.there will probably never be another as amazing as him ever again an that's a bitter sweat.
my goodness, im a waits addict for sure
Speak for yoursElf, amoc. ♫♥♫
For the record, Tom Waits should not serve as a replacement for proper mental health treatment.
trvl4bizness
The comfort and companionshi p of his lyrics keep me from jumping over the edge during times when suicidal thoughts linger.
@xhidden99: Wow. I think you are trolling us.

All I can say is if you can't find at least one Tom Waits song you like, you simply don't like music.

Blues, jazz, country, hip-hop, lounge, rockabilly, noise, spoken word, experimental oddities, hard rock, punk, piano ballads, polka--I mean, there really isn't a genre Waits hasn't covered at one point or another.

Personally, I love the man, but to each his own, I suppose.
slotstikhawa i i
@xhidden99: What a strange thing to assert. You may not like his work, but I can recall MANY haunting moments in my life where his music just called to me...like no one else did/could.
davidkushner 3 1
toothmouth79 2 1 : Waits has indicated Cpt Beefheart as a significant influence many times over the years.
xhidden99, SOUNDS LIKE YOU ARE THE ONE TROLLING THE AUDIENCE HERE.
xhidden99
I'm sorry but it's just not music. It's an entire career, like that of Andy Kaufman, based on trolling the audience into suffering through it because they're afraid they'll be called uncultured. It's just s**t.
truthsrealit y
I've always wanted hair that would spill out of barrettes like rootbeer...
Magic.
After just listening to Capt. Beefheart, I can't believe he's not listed as one of his influences. It;s uncanny...
I'll I can say is Nighthawks at the Diner....... W h a t I wouldn't give to be one of the rendezvous of strangers around the coffee urn tonight.
If you can't remember Tom with Martin Mull on Fernwood Tonight or America Tonight (mid '70's), you can't appreciate the way it all started.
@godonford.. . a g r e e d ! ! SO cool :-):-)
Blooming fantastic!! Mr. Waites, you are brilliant! I have loved your voice, your sound, your music, for many years. I have MANY favourite poets, and you are among the top. Thank You!!
...save the cupons
kymess
I first saw Waits live, when I worked as an usherette around 1975-76. He played the Vancouver Playhouse, very small venue, I think the house held about 650 .. never heard anyone like him....have loved his sound (and film roles) ever since ... guess that makes me an 'old lady'! (also loved Rickie Lee Jones around the same era; later found out they were an item!)
przybysz9
Genius. A pure genius. There are not many. Leonard Cohen, Bob Dylan, and Tom Waits. Check out Swordfishtro m b o n e s , Rain Dogs, and Franks Wild Years. End of argument.
naystatt
If like Tom check out Dutch Pink. Great music - heavy Tom influence but not a ripoff.
heard his music on the Walking Dead........ O u t s t a n d i n g
There aren't enough artists like Tom. That is, there aren't enough artists who are ACTUALLY artists.
There aren't enough artists like Tom. That is, there aren't enough artists who are ACTUALLY artists.
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