Happy birthday Tom Waits

Wally

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Happy Birthday, Mr. Waits!
Have any of you seen the Cinemax special from 1988……’Roy Orbison…Black and White Nights’? Waits played piano. There is one song where they passed “leads” around. When it came time for Waits to take his turn in the spotlight, he had a brain fog moment. He was totally lost. The camera shows James Burton in the background. He was watching Waits struggle to find some way back to the musical reality of the moment….Burton could not help himself..he had to laugh! Waits did finally find the key and the chords, but it was a struggle even for a world class musical and producer. He was temporarily so lost it was like he was on another planet. I am sure he had a good laugh later on, too.
Great musical assembly for that special. Springsteen even sang some high harmony to Orbison.
 

Peegoo

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Tom has more fun with his audience than the audience does with him; he's a social commentator and engineer. He was doing social engineering before it even had a name.

Much of his shtick is the vagrant/hobo act, and he'd like you to believe he was raised in train yards as a child. But he came from a quite normal middle-class upbringing. Both his parents were school teachers, which explains his wide-ranging tastes and styles in everything musical, as well as his deep knowledge of history and classical and contemporary writing and poetry. He's a very smart guy.



Before he met his wife Kathleen, who was a Hollywood screenwriter, he was involved with Rickie Lee Jones for a stretch.

Which I'd like to think is part of the reason why we get to enjoy some really twisted tales of failed relationships in his songs.

If you have not seen the film Down By Law, it's a good one. Tom is superb as a failed radio jock and a dupe that fell into some bad stuff because he was so down on his luck.

"It tastes like a tire, Bob."
 

nojazzhere

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Someone post the Fernwood Tonight episode where Tom is a guest (I’m on my phone). That always makes me laugh.

What a songwriter!
It is a classic bit of TV. Martin Mull is superb.


I saw this when first broadcast......I wonder how many viewers had no idea who Tom was, and thought maybe he was just some comedy actor hired for this? ;)
And, you confirmed for me that this was where I first heard him and the "Frontal lobotomy" line.
 




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