Tom Waits

Thomas Alan Waits (born December 7, 1949) is an American musician, composer, songwriter, and actor. His lyrics often focus on the underbelly of society and are delivered in his trademark deep, gravelly voice. He began in the folk scene during the 1970s, but his music since the 1980s has reflected the influence of such diverse genres as rock, country, Delta blues, opera, vaudeville, cabaret, funk, hip hop and experimental techniques verging on industrial music. Per The Wall Street Journal, Waits “has composed a body of work that’s at least comparable to any songwriter’s in pop today. A keen, sensitive and sympathetic chronicler of the adrift and downtrodden, Mr. Waits creates three-dimensional characters who, even in their confusion and despair, are capable of insight and startling points of view. Their stories are accompanied by music that’s unlike any other in pop history.”Waits was born and raised in a middle-class family in California. Inspired by the work of Bob Dylan and the Beat Generation, he began singing on the San Diego folk circuit. He relocated to Los Angeles in 1972, where he worked as a songwriter before signing a recording contract with Asylum Records. His first albums were the jazzy Closing Time (1973), The Heart of Saturday Night (1974) and Nighthawks at the Diner (1975), which reflected his lyrical interest in poverty, criminality and nightlife. He repeatedly toured the United States, Europe and Japan, and found greater critical and commercial success with Small Change (1976), Blue Valentine (1978) and Heartattack and Vine (1980). During this period, Waits entered the world of film, acting in Paradise Alley (1978), where he met a young story editor named Kathleen Brennan. He composed the soundtrack for Francis Ford Coppola's One from the Heart (1982) and made cameos in several subsequent Coppola films. In 1980, Waits married Brennan, split from his manager and record label, and moved to New York City. With Brennan's encouragement and frequent collaboration, he pursued a more eclectic and experimental sound influenced by Harry Partch and Captain Beefheart, as heard on the loose trilogy Swordfishtrombones (1983), Rain Dogs (1985) and Franks Wild Years (1987). Waits starred in Jim Jarmusch's Down by Law (1986), lent his voice to his Mystery Train (1989), composed the soundtrack for his Night on Earth (1991) and appeared in his Coffee and Cigarettes (2003). He collaborated with Robert Wilson and William S. Burroughs on the "cowboy opera" The Black Rider (1990), the songs for which were released on the album of the same name. Waits and Wilson collaborated again on Alice (1992) and Woyzeck (2000). Bone Machine (1992) and Mule Variations (1999) won Grammys for Best Alternative Music Album and Best Contemporary Folk Album, respectively. In 2002, the songs from Alice and Wozzeck were recorded and released on the albums Alice and Blood Money. Waits went on to release Real Gone (2004), the compilation Orphans: Brawlers, Bawlers & Bastards (2006), the live album Glitter and Doom Live (2009) and Bad as Me (2011). Waits has influenced many artists and gained an international cult following. His songs have been covered by Bruce Springsteen, Tori Amos and the Ramones and he has written songs for Johnny Cash and Norah Jones, among others. In 2006, Waits and Brennan were ranked fourth on Paste's list of the hundred greatest living songwriters. In 2011, he was inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall of Fame. Introducing him, Neil Young said "This next man is indescribable, and I'm here to describe him. He's sort of a performer, singer, actor, magician, spirit guide, changeling... I think it's great that the Rock And Roll Hall of Fame has recognized this immense talent. Could have been the Motion Picture Hall of Fame, could have been the Blues Hall of Fame, could have been the Performance Artist Hall of Fame, but it was the Rock And Roll Hall of Fame that recognized the great Tom Waits." In accepting the award, Waits said "They say that I have no hits and that I'm difficult to work with. And they say that like it's a bad thing!"


References

Title Summary
John DePalma ... Be In New York City " with Tom Waits's "Shiver Me ...
The Nilsson Show - A Tribute to the Songs of Harry Nilsson at the Colony in Woodstock, NY (September 22, 2022) ... influential writers such as Tom Waits and Dolly Parton ...
I Guess The Lord Must Be In New York City/Shiver Me Timbers (performed by John DePalma) ... Must Be In New York City with Tom Waits's "Shiver Me ...