Thursday, December 07, 2006

Happy Birthday Tom Waits

57 years ago today, Thomas Alan Waits was born - according to a set of liner notes, in the back of a cab, but I can't confirm that. He went on to a very idiosyncratic career, and God love him for it.

What's unusual about his music is that he took such a hard left turn in midstream. He started out doing the hip nightclub jazzman thing - here's a good example of that from the parody talk show, Fernwood 2Nite, with Martin Mull and Fred Willard.

Then, in the early 80s, he got married, switched labels and turned out some abrasive, yet somehow soulful, music that was wholly different from what he'd done before, but still entirely Tom Waits. Here's his video for the atypically melodic "Downtown Train," made famous by Rod Stewart's inferior cover.

I prefer the earlier phase to the later one, but hey, de gustibus non est disputandum...

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