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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. But along with his bluegrass and honky-tonk roots, Yoakam has written or covered many Elvis Presley-style rockabilly songs, including his popular covers of Queen's "Crazy Little Thing Called Love" in 1999 and Presley's "Suspicious Minds." He even recorded a cover of the Clash's "Train In Vain" in 1997.
+ Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Folk Album. Having diverged from pop-icon status in country-western faire, Yoakam is today more likely to be identified as having an older, or more traditional style, and mentioned with his contemporaries such as George Strait. 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. He has also appeared in Southern California live theater, combining his acting talents with the talents of director Peter Fonda. 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. Yoakam has also taken some acting roles, most notably as the abusive alcoholic Doyle in Billy Bob Thornton's Sling Blade (1996) and as a psychotic killer in 2002's Panic Room.

[2] (http://www.keeslau.com/TomWaitsSupplement/Copyright/copyrightwaitslevis.htm). Highway 23 runs north from Kentucky through Columbus and Toledo, and through the automotive centers of Michigan.). Waits sued, and Levis agreed to cease all use of the song, and offered a full page apology in Billboard Magazine. (U.S. In 1993, Levi's used Screamin' Jay Hawkins' version of Waits' "Heartattack and Vine" in a commercial. Yoakam's song Readin', Writin', and Route 23 pays tribute to his childhood move from Kentucky, and is titled after a local expression describing the route that rural Kentuckians need to take to find a job. 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"). 1990's (1990 in music) If There Was a Way was another best-seller.

Frito Lay had approached Waits to use one of his songs in an advertisement. His third LP, Buenas Noches from a Lonely Room, included his first #1, a duet with Buck Owens, "Streets of Bakersfield". The first lawsuit was filed in 1988 against Frito Lay, and resulted in a US$2.6 million judgement in Waits' favor. The follow-up LP, Hillbilly Deluxe, was just as successful. 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. "Honky Tonk Man" (Johnny Horton) and "Guitars, Cadillacs" were hit singles. 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. His debut LP was 1986's Guitars, Cadillacs, Etc., Etc. and it instantly launched his career (1986 in music).

Waits has been reported as having bipolar disorder. Yoakam debuted with the college radio staple A Town South of Bakersfield in 1984 (1984 in music). 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."). When he began his career, Nashville was oriented towards pop Urban Cowboy music, and Yoakam's brand of Bakersfield honky tonk was not considered marketable. He began playing live in the Los Angeles area, performing with punk bands like Dead Kennedys, Butthole Surfers and X; and roots-rock bands The Blasters and Los Lobos. 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. Yoakam briefly attended The Ohio State University, but dropped out and moved to Nashville in the late '70s with the intent of becoming a recording artist. 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. Outside of school, Yoakam sang and played guitar with local garage bands, and frequently entertained his friends and classmates as an amateur comedian, impersonating politicians and other celebrities, such as Richard Nixon, who, at that time, was heavily embroiled in the Watergate controversy.

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. During his high school years, he excelled in both music and drama, regularly securing the lead role in school plays, such as Charlie in the stage version of Flowers for Algernon. After he left Asylum Records for Island Records in 1983, his music became less mainstream. He graduated from Columbus's Northland High School on June 9, 1974. 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. Yoakam was born in Pikeville, Kentucky, and raised in Columbus, Ohio, growing up with his mother and step-father, who had a white collar job in the automotive industry. With his wife, he wrote and performed in Big Time, a slightly surreal concert movie. Dwight David Yoakam (born October 23, 1956) is an American musician, songwriter, and actor.

In August 1980, he married Kathleen Brennan, whom he had met on the set of One From The Heart. Hollywood Homicide (2003). 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. Panic Room (2002). 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. The Newton Boys (1998). Foreign Affairs (1977) and Blue Valentine (1978) were in a similar vein, but showed further refinement of his artistic voice. Sling Blade (1996).

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. Roswell (1994). 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. Last Chance For A Thousand Years (Reprise, 1999). The Heart of Saturday Night showed his roots as a nightclub singer, half speaking and half crooning ballads, often with a soft jazz background. L'Croix D'Amour (Warner-France, 1992). 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. This Is... (Warner-Japan, 1990).

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. Just Looking' For A Hit (Reprise, 1989). Thomas Alan Waits, (born December 7, 1949) is an American composer, singer, musician and actor. Population Me (Warner, 2003). Holly Cole, Canadian artist covering Waits' songs in jazz style. South Of Heaven, West Of Hell (Soundtrack) (Warner, 2001). Kazik Staszewski, Polish artist extensively covering Waits. Tomorrow's Sounds Today (Reprise, 2000).

2004 Real Gone Tour. dwightyoakamacoustic.net (Reprise, 2000). 1999 Get Behind The Mule Tour. A Long Way Home (Reprise, 1998). 1987 Big Time touring. Under The Covers (Reprise, 1997). 1985 Rain Dogs touring. Come On Christmas (Reprise, 1997).

1980-1982 Heartattack and Vine touring. Gone (Reprise, 1995). 1978-1979 Blue Valentine touring. Dwight Live (Reprise, 1995). 1977 Foreign Affairs touring. This Time (Reprise, 1993). 1975-1976 Small Change touring. If There Was A Way (Reprise, 1990).

1974-1975 The Heart Of Saturday Night touring. Buenas Noches From A Lonely Room (Reprise, 1988). 1973 Closing Time touring. Hillbilly Deluxe (Reprise, 1987). 2004 Composer (with Kathleen Brennan) on soundtrack of "Shrek 2". Etc. (Warner/Reprise, 1986). 2003 Appeared in conversation with Iggy Pop in Coffee and Cigarettes: Somewhere In America. Guitars, Cadillacs, Etc.

1999 Mystery Men -- played an inventor who specialized in non-lethal weapons. Etc. (Oak, 1984) - independent release. Composer on soundtrack of The End of Violence. Guitars, Cadillacs, Etc. 1996 Composer on soundtrack of Dead Man Walking.

    . Played Earl Piggott in Short Cuts.

    Renfield in Bram Stoker's Dracula. Played R.M. 1992 Composer (With Kathleen Brennan) on American Heart.

      . Played Monte in Queens Logic.

      Wrote the score of Night on Earth (With Kathleen Brennan). Played a disabled Veteran beggar in The Fisher King. 1991 Played Wolf in At Play in the Fields of the Lord.

        . 1990 Played a plainclothes policeman in The Two Jakes.

        Composer on Sea of Love. Voice of the radio DJ in Mystery Train. Starred as Kenny the Hitman in Cold Feet. 1989 Played the 'Punch & Judy Man' in Bearskin: An Urban Fairytale.

          .

          Played Al Silk in Candy Mountain. 1987 Played Rudy The Kraut in Ironweed.

            . 1986 Starred as Zack in Down by Law. 1984 Played Irving Stark in The Cotton Club.

            Played Bennie the pool hall owner in Rumble Fish. 1983 Played Buck Merrill in The Outsiders.

              . Played petrified man in carnival in The Stone Boy. Nominated for an Academy Award for best original score.
                .

                1982 Soundtrack of One From The Heart. 1980 Worked with Francis Ford Coppola on the soundtrack to One From The Heart. 1978 Movie debut as 'Mumbles' in Paradise Alley. 2004 Step Right Up: The Songs of Tom Waits, various artists.

                2001 Wicked Grin, John Hammond. 2000 New Coat of Paint, various artists. 1995 Step Right Up, various artists. 1995 Temptation, Holly Cole.

                2004 The Late Great Daniel Johnston by various artists: Waits covers Johnston's "King Kong". 2004 The Ride by Los Lobos: Waits does vocals on the track "Kitate". 2002 For the Kids by various artists: Waits performs the lullaby "Bring Down the Branches". 2001 It's A Wonderful Life, by Sparklehorse: Waits does vocals on "Dog Door".

                2000 Helium, by Tin Hat Trio: Waits appears as guest singer on Helium Reprise. 1999 Antipop, by Primus: Waits does vocals on Coattails of a Deadman. 1993 Jesus Blood Never Failed Me Yet, by Gavin Bryars: Waits appears as guest singer. 1992 Beautiful Mess, by Thelonious Monster: Waits appears as a guest singer on Adios Lounge.

                1991 Sailing the Seas of Cheese, by Primus: Waits does character vocals on Tommy The Cat. 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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