Happy Birthday, Tom Waits

Today is Tom Waits‘ 58th birthday. Which is weird, since his music – at least the kind he’s made since he bolted Asylum Records for Island and released Swordfishtrombones in 1983 – sounds far more cutting-edge than that. Somehow, listening to Captain Beefheart transformed him from a decent jazzy lounge singer into a demented, atonal cabaret star. It also made him awesome. Swordfishtrombones and Rain Dogs are two of my absolute favorite albums by anyone, and Mule Variations and Bone Machine aren’t far behind. Here are a couple of examples why:

“Goin’ Out West”, Bone Machine.

“Singapore”, Rain Dogs.

“16 Shells from a Thirty-Ought Six”, Swordfishtrombones. Thanks, Tom.

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