Tom Waits
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Digging Deep

The great Californian singer-songwriter, musician, actor and composer Tom Waits has been thrilling us since he first burst onto the scene with 1973’s Closing Time, a delightful folk- and jazz-tinged debut that contained songs soon to be covered by Tim Buckley and Eagles. A seven-strong string of albums for Asylum consolidated Waits’ status as a master of late-night, smoky barroom observation who has always been blessed with an eye for simpatico backing players and producers, including Bones Howe, Jimmy Bowen and, once he moved to Island Records, himself, often abetted by wife Kathleen Brennan.

Having recorded with great distinction across five decades, Waits has always had a strong cult following, but he has also enjoyed considerable mainstream success. The UK took him to its heart from the off, while, in recent years, he has enjoyed both acclaim – a given – and fine sales for albums like such as the Grammy-winning Mule Variations, Real Gone and his most recent, Bad As Me, these coming out via Anti-, a sister label to Epitaph.

In later years, as Tom’s music evolved into a thrilling area where songwriting meets the avant-garde, he has constructed aural landscapes way beyond the ken of lesser mortals. But while he he’s collaborated with everyone from William S Burroughs and Keith Richards to David Hidalgo and Charlie Musselwhite, Waits has maintained a ferocious bluesy strand. Far from inaccessible (Bruce Springsteen and Rod Stewart have tackled his songs), Tom Waits is an addiction for many.

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Essential Albums

Closing Time

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The Heart of Saturday Night

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Small Change

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Blue Valentine

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Heartattack and Vine

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Swordfishtrombones

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Rain Dogs

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Franks Wild Years

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Bone Machine

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The Black Rider

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