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Tom Waits

Thomas Alan Waits, (born December 7, 1949) is an American composer, singer, musician and actor.

Early Career

Born in Pomona, California, Waits' recording career began in 1971, after he relocated to Los Angeles and signed with Herb Cohen, manager of Frank Zappa, among others. After numerous abortive recording sessions, his first record, the melancholic, country-tinged Closing Time (1973) received warm reviews, but he first gained national attention when his "Ol' 55" was recorded by The Eagles in 1974. The Heart of Saturday Night showed his roots as a nightclub singer, half speaking and half crooning ballads, often with a soft jazz background. The 1975 album Nighthawks at the Diner, recorded in a studio but with a small audience to capture the ambience of a live show, captures this phase of his career, including the lengthy spoken interludes between songs that punctuated his live act.

Small Change (1976) featuring famed drummer Shelly Manne, was jazzier still, and songs such as "The Piano Has Been Drinking" and "Bad Liver and a Broken Heart" cemented his hard living reputation, with a lyrical style pitched somewhere between Raymond Chandler and Charles Bukowski. Foreign Affairs (1977) and Blue Valentine (1978) were in a similar vein, but showed further refinement of his artistic voice. 1980 saw the commencement of a long working relationship with Francis Ford Coppola, who asked him to provide music for his film One From The Heart. Waits would also act in Coppola's Rumblefish, The Outsiders, The Cotton Club and Dracula (as the insane Renfield), and work with such directors as Jim Jarmusch and Robert Altman. In August 1980, he married Kathleen Brennan, whom he had met on the set of One From The Heart. With his wife, he wrote and performed in Big Time, a slightly surreal concert movie. His wife is regularly credited as co-author of many songs on his later released albums, and is often cited by Waits as a major influence on his work.

1980s and later

After he left Asylum Records for Island Records in 1983, his music became less mainstream. His trio of albums from the mid-1980s, Swordfishtrombones, Rain Dogs and Frank's Wild Years, all featured some degree of eclectic instrumentation -- Waits' self described "Junkyard Orchestra"--often marrying soul music horn sections to avant-garde percussion reminiscent of Harry Partch's, or the distorted guitar of Marc Ribot. He also gradually altered his singing style, sounding less like the late-night crooner of the 70s, instead adopting a gravelly voice reminiscent of Howling Wolf and Captain Beefheart. The last of these albums -- an off-Broadway musical co-written with his wife -- and the later collaboration with William S. Burroughs on The Black Rider both demonstrated the increasing interest in theatre, which has resulted in a somewhat successful acting career as well as soundtrack work.

In the popular perception, however, he and his work remain mostly characterised by his rocky voice, his strong personality and theatrical presence on stage and the "late night smoky bars" humour of his texts ("I'd rather have a free bottle in front of me than a pre-frontal lobotomy."). Waits has been reported as having bipolar disorder. In essence, however, and despite his songs having been covered by famous stars such as Bruce Springsteen and Rod Stewart, Waits remains a cult performer, steadfastly outside the mainstream.

Lawsuits

Waits has steadfastly refused to allow the use of his songs in commercials and has filed several lawsuits against advertisers who used his material without permission. The first lawsuit was filed in 1988 against Frito Lay, and resulted in a US$2.6 million judgement in Waits' favor. Frito Lay had approached Waits to use one of his songs in an advertisement. Waits declined the offer, and Frito Lay hired a Waits soundalike to sing a jingle similar to "Step Right Up," which is, ironically, a song Waits has called "an indictment of advertising." [1] (http://www.joe.trussell.com/waits/frito_lay.html) ("Step Right Up" concludes with the lyric "What the large print giveth, the small print taketh away").

In 1993, Levi's used Screamin' Jay Hawkins' version of Waits' "Heartattack and Vine" in a commercial. Waits sued, and Levis agreed to cease all use of the song, and offered a full page apology in Billboard Magazine. [2] (http://www.keeslau.com/TomWaitsSupplement/Copyright/copyrightwaitslevis.htm)

In 2000, an Audi commercial broadcast in Spain featured music very similar to Waits' "Innocent When You Dream", after Waits first had declined when they approached him about using the original. A Spanish court recognized there had been a violation of Waits’s moral rights, in addition to the infringement of copyright [3] (http://www.anti.com/news.php?newsid=86715). The production company, Tandem Campany Guasch, was ordered to pay compensation to Waits through his Spanish publisher.

Discography

Major releases


+ Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Folk Album


^ Grammy Award for Best Alternative Music Album

Collections

  • 1983 Anthology of Tom Waits (Elektra)
  • 1991 The Early Years, Volume One
  • 1993 The Early Years, Volume Two
  • 1998 Beautiful Maladies: The Island Years

Contributions

  • 1991 Sailing the Seas of Cheese, by Primus: Waits does character vocals on Tommy The Cat
  • 1992 Beautiful Mess, by Thelonious Monster: Waits appears as a guest singer on Adios Lounge
  • 1993 Jesus Blood Never Failed Me Yet, by Gavin Bryars: Waits appears as guest singer
  • 1999 Antipop, by Primus: Waits does vocals on Coattails of a Deadman
  • 2000 Helium, by Tin Hat Trio: Waits appears as guest singer on Helium Reprise
  • 2001 It's A Wonderful Life, by Sparklehorse: Waits does vocals on "Dog Door"
  • 2002 For the Kids by various artists: Waits performs the lullaby "Bring Down the Branches"
  • 2004 The Ride by Los Lobos: Waits does vocals on the track "Kitate"
  • 2004 The Late Great Daniel Johnston by various artists: Waits covers Johnston's "King Kong"

Tribute albums

  • 1995 Temptation, Holly Cole
  • 1995 Step Right Up, various artists
  • 2000 New Coat of Paint, various artists
  • 2001 Wicked Grin, John Hammond
  • 2004 Step Right Up: The Songs of Tom Waits, various artists

Filmography

  • 1978 Movie debut as 'Mumbles' in Paradise Alley.
  • 1980 Worked with Francis Ford Coppola on the soundtrack to One From The Heart.
  • 1982 Soundtrack of One From The Heart. Nominated for an Academy Award for best original score.
    • Played petrified man in carnival in The Stone Boy.
  • 1983 Played Buck Merrill in The Outsiders.
    • Played Bennie the pool hall owner in Rumble Fish.
  • 1984 Played Irving Stark in The Cotton Club.
  • 1986 Starred as Zack in Down by Law.
  • 1987 Played Rudy The Kraut in Ironweed.
    • Played Al Silk in Candy Mountain.
  • 1989 Played the 'Punch & Judy Man' in Bearskin: An Urban Fairytale.
    • Starred as Kenny the Hitman in Cold Feet.
    • Voice of the radio DJ in Mystery Train. Composer on Sea of Love
  • 1990 Played a plainclothes policeman in The Two Jakes.
  • 1991 Played Wolf in At Play in the Fields of the Lord.
    • Played a disabled Veteran beggar in The Fisher King.
    • Wrote the score of Night on Earth (With Kathleen Brennan).
    • Played Monte in Queens Logic.
  • 1992 Composer (With Kathleen Brennan) on American Heart.
    • Played R.M. Renfield in Bram Stoker's Dracula.
    • Played Earl Piggott in Short Cuts.
  • 1996 Composer on soundtrack of Dead Man Walking.
    • Composer on soundtrack of The End of Violence.
  • 1999 Mystery Men -- played an inventor who specialized in non-lethal weapons.
  • 2003 Appeared in conversation with Iggy Pop in Coffee and Cigarettes: Somewhere In America.
  • 2004 Composer (with Kathleen Brennan) on soundtrack of "Shrek 2"

Tours

  • 1973 Closing Time touring
  • 1974-1975 The Heart Of Saturday Night touring
  • 1975-1976 Small Change touring
  • 1977 Foreign Affairs touring
  • 1978-1979 Blue Valentine touring
  • 1980-1982 Heartattack and Vine touring
  • 1985 Rain Dogs touring
  • 1987 Big Time touring
  • 1999 Get Behind The Mule Tour
  • 2004 Real Gone Tour

See also:

  • Kazik Staszewski, Polish artist extensively covering Waits
  • Holly Cole, Canadian artist covering Waits' songs in jazz style

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^ Grammy Award for Best Alternative Music Album. The letter X is spoken as X-ray in the NATO phonetic alphabet.
+ Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Folk Album. No words in the Basic English vocabulary begin with X, but it occurs in words beginning with other letters. A Spanish court recognized there had been a violation of Waits’s moral rights, in addition to the infringement of copyright [3] (http://www.anti.com/news.php?newsid=86715). The production company, Tandem Campany Guasch, was ordered to pay compensation to Waits through his Spanish publisher. The letter X is not used in the Italian language, except for words borrowed from other languages, or names of foreigners. In 2000, an Audi commercial broadcast in Spain featured music very similar to Waits' "Innocent When You Dream", after Waits first had declined when they approached him about using the original. It is also controversial whether Psi, Chi (Khi) and Xi are Greek inventions or whether they are ultimately of Semitic origin.

[2] (http://www.keeslau.com/TomWaitsSupplement/Copyright/copyrightwaitslevis.htm). Some scholars claim that Latin X is not identical with Greek Χ. Waits sued, and Levis agreed to cease all use of the song, and offered a full page apology in Billboard Magazine. Only in Kurdish, Azeri, Uzbek, Tatar and Lojban as well as the IPA and SAMPA (the latter is used here) is X pronounced [x] (as in German Bach). In 1993, Levi's used Screamin' Jay Hawkins' version of Waits' "Heartattack and Vine" in a commercial. But the Etruscans took over X from older Western Greek, therefore, it stood for /ks/ in Etruscan and /ks/ and /gs/ [gz] in Latin. Waits declined the offer, and Frito Lay hired a Waits soundalike to sing a jingle similar to "Step Right Up," which is, ironically, a song Waits has called "an indictment of advertising." [1] (http://www.joe.trussell.com/waits/frito_lay.html) ("Step Right Up" concludes with the lyric "What the large print giveth, the small print taketh away"). In the end, Chi was standardized as /k_h/ (/x/ in Modern Greek) as well as Xi for /ks/.

Frito Lay had approached Waits to use one of his songs in an advertisement. /ks/ was in Ancient Greece written as Chi 'Χ' (Western Greek) or Xi 'Ξ' (Eastern Greek). The first lawsuit was filed in 1988 against Frito Lay, and resulted in a US$2.6 million judgement in Waits' favor. It is also the form of St Andrew's Cross. Waits has steadfastly refused to allow the use of his songs in commercials and has filed several lawsuits against advertisers who used his material without permission. X is the twenty-fourth letter of the Latin alphabet. In essence, however, and despite his songs having been covered by famous stars such as Bruce Springsteen and Rod Stewart, Waits remains a cult performer, steadfastly outside the mainstream.
.

Waits has been reported as having bipolar disorder. It is also known by the title X/1999. In the popular perception, however, he and his work remain mostly characterised by his rocky voice, his strong personality and theatrical presence on stage and the "late night smoky bars" humour of his texts ("I'd rather have a free bottle in front of me than a pre-frontal lobotomy."). X is a Japanese manga title produced by CLAMP which has also been adapted into a 1996 feature film and a 2001 television series. The last of these albums -- an off-Broadway musical co-written with his wife -- and the later collaboration with William S. Burroughs on The Black Rider both demonstrated the increasing interest in theatre, which has resulted in a somewhat successful acting career as well as soundtrack work. X is a rollercoaster at Six Flags Magic Mountain. He also gradually altered his singing style, sounding less like the late-night crooner of the 70s, instead adopting a gravelly voice reminiscent of Howling Wolf and Captain Beefheart. In video games, X is the name of the main character in the Mega Man spinoff, Mega Man X.

His trio of albums from the mid-1980s, Swordfishtrombones, Rain Dogs and Frank's Wild Years, all featured some degree of eclectic instrumentation -- Waits' self described "Junkyard Orchestra"--often marrying soul music horn sections to avant-garde percussion reminiscent of Harry Partch's, or the distorted guitar of Marc Ribot. X marks the spot. After he left Asylum Records for Island Records in 1983, his music became less mainstream. In treasure-hunting X is used to designate the location of treasure, i.e. His wife is regularly credited as co-author of many songs on his later released albums, and is often cited by Waits as a major influence on his work. In superhero comic books, an X usually denotes a connection to the popular X-Men franchise, especially when used as a prefix. With his wife, he wrote and performed in Big Time, a slightly surreal concert movie. with an X in the middle).

In August 1980, he married Kathleen Brennan, whom he had met on the set of One From The Heart. Straight edge itself is comonly abbreviated to 'sxe' (S.E. Waits would also act in Coppola's Rumblefish, The Outsiders, The Cotton Club and Dracula (as the insane Renfield), and work with such directors as Jim Jarmusch and Robert Altman. write their names with Xs, such that 'Jack' would be written XjackX. 1980 saw the commencement of a long working relationship with Francis Ford Coppola, who asked him to provide music for his film One From The Heart. Straight-edgers frequently also append Xs to their names, i.e. Foreign Affairs (1977) and Blue Valentine (1978) were in a similar vein, but showed further refinement of his artistic voice. It is also frequently tattooed on other parts of the body, or worn on clothing, sometimes in triplicate (XXX).

Small Change (1976) featuring famed drummer Shelly Manne, was jazzier still, and songs such as "The Piano Has Been Drinking" and "Bad Liver and a Broken Heart" cemented his hard living reputation, with a lyrical style pitched somewhere between Raymond Chandler and Charles Bukowski. X is a symbol worn on the hand to denote that someone is straight edge. The 1975 album Nighthawks at the Diner, recorded in a studio but with a small audience to capture the ambience of a live show, captures this phase of his career, including the lengthy spoken interludes between songs that punctuated his live act. In sociology X denotes Generation X. The Heart of Saturday Night showed his roots as a nightclub singer, half speaking and half crooning ballads, often with a soft jazz background. In semiotics, an X over something denotes elimination, prohibition or erasure. After numerous abortive recording sessions, his first record, the melancholic, country-tinged Closing Time (1973) received warm reviews, but he first gained national attention when his "Ol' 55" was recorded by The Eagles in 1974. In Roman numerals, X denotes ten.

Born in Pomona, California, Waits' recording career began in 1971, after he relocated to Los Angeles and signed with Herb Cohen, manager of Frank Zappa, among others. Kennan) of the X article published in Foreign Affairs. Thomas Alan Waits, (born December 7, 1949) is an American composer, singer, musician and actor. public policy, X is the author (George F. Holly Cole, Canadian artist covering Waits' songs in jazz style. In U.S. Kazik Staszewski, Polish artist extensively covering Waits. politics, X is the pseudonym of the person who blew the whistle on the Watergate crisis.

2004 Real Gone Tour. In U.S. 1999 Get Behind The Mule Tour. In Canada, X stands for Nunavut and the Northwest Territories. 1987 Big Time touring. As the first letter of a postal code,

    . 1985 Rain Dogs touring. In pornography XXX relates, unsurprisingly, to sex.

    1980-1982 Heartattack and Vine touring. X was the initial name of the Japanese visual kei rock band X Japan. 1978-1979 Blue Valentine touring. X is the name of an Australian punk rock band (see X (Australian band)). 1977 Foreign Affairs touring. X is the name of a Los Angeles punk rock band (see X (US band)). 1975-1976 Small Change touring. In popular music,

      .

      1974-1975 The Heart Of Saturday Night touring. In physics, the X-ray is a form of electromagnetic radiation. 1973 Closing Time touring. In photography X denotes exact time in flash synchronization. 2004 Composer (with Kathleen Brennan) on soundtrack of "Shrek 2". In military science, X is the US Navy hull classification symbol for Submersible Craft. 2003 Appeared in conversation with Iggy Pop in Coffee and Cigarettes: Somewhere In America. x means 10 in Roman numbers.

      1999 Mystery Men -- played an inventor who specialized in non-lethal weapons. x is the usual symbol for the variable represented on the horizontal axis (ordinate) in analytic geometry. Composer on soundtrack of The End of Violence. This usage can be traced back to the Arabic word ?ay 'thing' which was spelled with an initial x in Old Spanish or (according to other sources) an abbreviation of Latin causa which was the translation of Arabic š. 1996 Composer on soundtrack of Dead Man Walking.

        . Even though any letter can be used, x is the most common by far. Played Earl Piggott in Short Cuts. x commonly represents an unknown variable.

        Renfield in Bram Stoker's Dracula. In mathematics,

          . Played R.M. In gender XX denotes female in the XY sex-determination system. 1992 Composer (With Kathleen Brennan) on American Heart.
            . In genetics X denotes the X chromosome.
              . Played Monte in Queens Logic. In games, X is representation for a cross in games like tic tac toe (naughts and crosses).

              Wrote the score of Night on Earth (With Kathleen Brennan). In financial securities, X is the stock symbol for United States Steel Corporation. Played a disabled Veteran beggar in The Fisher King. The X-Files was a popular 1990s American science fiction television series. 1991 Played Wolf in At Play in the Fields of the Lord.

                . X is the name of a 1928 German film; see X (film). 1990 Played a plainclothes policeman in The Two Jakes. Australia retains the X rating.

                Composer on Sea of Love. The UK replaced the X rating with the 18 certificate. Voice of the radio DJ in Mystery Train. X is a rating given to films suitable for an adult-only audience; see X-rated. NC-17 has replaced the X rating in the US. Starred as Kenny the Hitman in Cold Feet. In film

                  . 1989 Played the 'Punch & Judy Man' in Bearskin: An Urban Fairytale.
                    . In American slang, X is often used as an abbreviation of ecstasy (MDMA), a synthetic drug.

                    Played Al Silk in Candy Mountain. X also serves as other abbreviations, such as Xtal (Crystal), reXn (reaction), Xlation (translation), and SXSW (South by Southwest Festival). 1987 Played Rudy The Kraut in Ironweed.

                      . X is an abbreviation for cross in words like Xing (crossing), or to sign with a cross (often for illiteracy). 1986 Starred as Zack in Down by Law. (See Hugs and Kisses.). 1984 Played Irving Stark in The Cotton Club. X is a symbol for a kiss, as in love notes.

                      Played Bennie the pool hall owner in Rumble Fish. X is an abbreviation for Christ, as in Xmas (Christmas), X(t)ian (Christian), and Xianity (Christianity). 1983 Played Buck Merrill in The Outsiders.

                        . In English,
                          . Played petrified man in carnival in The Stone Boy. In electrical engineering, X is the symbol for reactance. Nominated for an Academy Award for best original score.
                            . In French education, X is a nickname for the École Polytechnique.

                            1982 Soundtrack of One From The Heart. x is the repetition operator in Perl programming language. 1980 Worked with Francis Ford Coppola on the soundtrack to One From The Heart. X is used as an abbreviation for the Apple operating system Mac OS X. 1978 Movie debut as 'Mumbles' in Paradise Alley. The data transfer speed for 1X CDs is 153,600 bytes/second and one for 1X DVDs is 1,385,000 bytes/second (approximately 9.02 times faster). 2004 Step Right Up: The Songs of Tom Waits, various artists. This usage is a corruption of the multiplication symbol ×.

                            2001 Wicked Grin, John Hammond. X is often used as a symbol of multiplication, as in denoting the spin (and, later, transfer) speed of CDs and DVDs compared to an original standard speed. 2000 New Coat of Paint, various artists. X is the name of a free graphical windowing system developed at MIT and standard on Unix and Linux; see X Window System. 1995 Step Right Up, various artists. In computing:

                              . 1995 Temptation, Holly Cole. In clothing X is used as an abbreviation for extra, such as XXL for extra-extra-large or XM for extra-medium.

                              2004 The Late Great Daniel Johnston by various artists: Waits covers Johnston's "King Kong". In cabalistic philosophy X references both birth and death. 2004 The Ride by Los Lobos: Waits does vocals on the track "Kitate". In beverages, X is a symbol for an alcoholic proof of 50; multiple Xes indicate multiples of 50. 2002 For the Kids by various artists: Waits performs the lullaby "Bring Down the Branches". In astronomy, Planet X is a hypothetical planet in the Solar System beyond the orbit of Pluto. 2001 It's A Wonderful Life, by Sparklehorse: Waits does vocals on "Dog Door". In art X alludes to the infinite joy of creation.

                              2000 Helium, by Tin Hat Trio: Waits appears as guest singer on Helium Reprise. In anime, X is the title of a series based on the manga X/1999 (see X (anime)). 1999 Antipop, by Primus: Waits does vocals on Coattails of a Deadman. It is also a prefix to experimental types of US military aircraft, for instance, the XB-70. 1993 Jesus Blood Never Failed Me Yet, by Gavin Bryars: Waits appears as guest singer. In aeronautics, X is the designation given to an experimental aircraft of the US government, for instance, the X-1 rocketplane that first broke the sound barrier. 1992 Beautiful Mess, by Thelonious Monster: Waits appears as a guest singer on Adios Lounge. Members of the Nation of Islam change their surnames to "X" to symbolize that their African names were lost in slavery, an example is Malcolm X.

                              1991 Sailing the Seas of Cheese, by Primus: Waits does character vocals on Tommy The Cat. In a general sense, X represents an unknown or secret, as in project X or mister X. 1998 Beautiful Maladies: The Island Years. 1993 The Early Years, Volume Two. 1991 The Early Years, Volume One.

                              1983 Anthology of Tom Waits (Elektra).

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