Personalities | Tom Waits | Eighties | Rock

(Singer-songwriter, b. 1949)

Born in Pomona, California, Waits has built an extremely well-regarded career as a gravel-voiced documentarian of American low-life. The Eagles covered ‘Ol ’55’ from his jazzy debut Closing Time (1973). On Blue Valentine (1979) and the US Top 100 Heartattack And Vine (1980) he introduced a rockier sound. Then came his move into the trailblazing, percussive sounds of Swordfishtrombones (1983) and the UK Top 30 Rain Dogs (1985), with superb cult musicians such as Victor Feldman (marimba), Marc Ribot (guitar) and Ralph Carney (saxophone). Waits developed a career in soundtracks, including Francis Ford Coppola’s One From The Heart (1981) with Crystal Gayle, and Jim Jarmusch’s Night On Earth (1992), and also acted in the likes of Rumblefish, Short Cuts and The Fisher King. His 1999 album Mule Variations was a US Top 30 and Rod Stewart made big hits of ‘Downtown Train’ and ‘Tom Traubert’s Blues’. His legacy continues to grow.

Styles & Forms | Eighties | Rock
Personalities | The Waterboys | Eighties | Rock

Source: The Definitive Illustrated Encyclopedia of Rock, general editor Michael Heatley


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