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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

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*on
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I wanted to meet Lou Reed really bad and when he died I was so upset... So I settled and the next best thing is Tom Waits and I shall get his autograph in my body and tattoo it over.
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Ok
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Thank you, Enzothebaker , for understandin g Waits and his lyrics.
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How can people even like this boring person?
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So freaking boring
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xhidden99
my dog was on stilts singin with the devil by a burnin engine block
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I think bob loves it when we trash him.
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wow.. just read all your comments... not ONE slam from our favorite DOUC#EBAAAAA G bobonit... pretty much like ALL Toms' muzak but absolutely LOVE 'The Piano Has Been Drinking' ...
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Hey little bird, fly away home....oops , gotta go!
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"Hold On," is brutally poignant. Shirking sentimentali t y for soul-baring vulnerabilit y . His gravely voice is a testament to a man who has survived life, in all it's brutishness, and beauty. You cannot get through life and come out on the other side unscathed. If a voice can bear scars then surely Waites' has been beaten, dragged through the muck, cut, punched, kicked, broken, and torn....but emerges resilient, defiant, victorious, if victory in this world is in anyway possible.
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I bet if this guy cleared his throat he would sound amazing!
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perfect
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I imagine that's how you make good jerky, but you gotta put it in something before you run it over with the car.
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Waits’ voice was described by music critic Daniel Durchholz as “sounding like it was soaked in a vat of bourbon, left hanging in the smokehouse for a few months, and then taken outside and run over with a car.” But it is full of what I needed to hear. He sings from the heart, like he has lived it all.
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I was trying to explain to my aunt one day who Tom Waits was (I was surprised she didn't know), and when she described songs she thought were by him, I realized she was confusing him with John Waite. That was a sad day indeed. Tom Waits, don't stop being awesome.
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Awesome!!
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rihil
One must check out the female fronted (Audra H. is gorgeous & devastatingl y poetic) 3-piece Oakland band 'Faust Arp' ... They rotate instruments & I don't think they are on here but their full EP is on soundcloud at /faustarp - it's just glorious sounding.
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Don't dream-drink whiskey in a seedy dive------or dream, & drink whiskey!!!
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glueckfamily 1
Not what I was expecting on this particular station. Pleasantly surprised, though. Holy s**t
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I was recently called "the female Tom Waits" by two ppl after I performed a poetry gig , in Columbus Ohio. What an outta sight comment!!! Oh man! Tom is ,by far , the most talented,ani m a t e d and brilliant performer ever ! I truly love him and dream of drinking whiskey in a seedy dive.
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Lyrics? Or can you hire me to research and enter lyrics?
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Sultry Sexy voice, amazing accoustics, love the primal rhythm just makes you close your eyes and sway
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that ain't your average bimbo in back... that's casandra peterson aka. ELVIRA., serious class for tom.
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My Hero... anybody got a clue as to how one gets to see a live performance of Tom Waits? I had an oppotunity to go to the rock'n'roll hal of fame inductio ceremony, but tickets were WAAY too pricey
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AWKAK,. awake ..."daD"
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I adore him. Hes possibly my number one favorite. Love him maybe. Hes my musical man crush. I hope to see him live one day
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Waits is amazing!
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Thanks to Mom for birthing me and introducing me to Tom Waits' movies and music....tha n k you Mama.
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I listened to Tom for the first time at penny lane music shop in Venice beach CA, 1989. He changed my life. Ty Tom, I love you man
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ONE OF US!!!
ONE OF. US!!!
GOOBLE~GOBBL E ,
ONE OF US!!!
:-D
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The end of Toms bio is pretty funny! He made a video to scold bloggers and the like while his music plays. :)
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atx1984atx
To waits is God! Wait... The Devil! Amazing man for sure
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If Tom Waits & Dr. John could have a child together, would the Apocalypse finally happen???
Just wondering... . . . . . . . .
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Luuuuuuuuuuu u u u u u u u v n THIS!!! :-)
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Rain Dog and Big Time are two of my favorites , it was at a time I needed it
Thanks Tom!
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@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. :)>
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We really should include the soundtrack to One from the Heart. It's a good album, and the music stands on its own.
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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
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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.
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Cote
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very well then.Now we hear.Merci.
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magdalena219 6
Beautiful <3
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poetry
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rereading on the road. Uncanny how strong Kerouac influenced him. In the dark narcotic American night:
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Przybysz9. U abs hit the trifecta here !!
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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
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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.
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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?
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