I want to discover the music of Tom Waits. Where to start?

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by UCrazyKid, Oct 10, 2019.

  1. perplexed

    perplexed Forum Resident

    Northeast NJ, USA
    1+ Used Songs is an excellent introduction
    john lennonist likes this.
  2. rick harper

    rick harper Forum Resident

    live album
  3. Eric_Generic

    Eric_Generic Enigma

    Frank... has Hang On St Christopher which is still one of my favourite Waits tracks.

    Getting into Tom Waits' catalogue is such a wild and crazy journey. But so rewarding. And expensive! :)

    Can't add much to all the excellent suggestions so far. I like stuff from all the eras and albums. There's nothing I have especially disliked, as someone said, whatever Tom Waits does it somehow seems to just make mad sense.

    My personal favourites change all the time, but they'd include

    Mule Variations
    Small Change
    Heart Of Saturday Night
    Bone Machine

    I had some fun a few years back making a Tom Waits "Greatest Hits" set, focusing on the tracks which the Asylum, Island and Anti labels have foisted upon the general public as A and B sides since the mid-70s.

    "Strangers To The Hit Parade"


    1. Hope I Don't Fall In Love With You
    2. Ol' 55
    3. Blue Skies
    4. New Coat Of Paint
    5. San Diego Serenade
    6. (Looking For) The Heart Of Saturday Night
    7. Step Right Up
    8. The Piano Has Been Drinking (Not Me)
    9. Somewhere (from "West Side Story")
    10. Jersey Girl
    11. Downtown
    12. In Shades
    13. Heartattack And Vine
    14. In The Neighbourhood
    15. Downtown Train
    16. Hang Down Your Head
    17. Tango 'Til They're Sore
    18. Jockey Full Of Bourbon
    19. What Keeps Mankind Alive?

    1. Hang On St. Christopher
    2. 16 Shells From A Thirty-ought Six
    3. Silent Night
    4. Back In The Good Old World (Gypsy Vocal)
    5. Goin' Out West
    6. I Don't Wanna Grow Up
    7. Who Are You
    8. Jesus' Blood Never Failed Me Yet
    9. I'll Shoot The Moon
    10. Hold On
    11. Picture In A Frame
    12. God's Away On Business
    13. Alice
    14. How's It Gonna End
    15. Dead And Lovely
    16. Lie To Me
    17. Long Way Home
    18. Diamond In Your Mind
    19. Lucinda / Ain't Goin' Down To The Well
    20. Back In The Crowd

  4. sekaer

    sekaer Forum Resident

    New York City
    Rain Dogs. His most accessible.
    Nice Marmot likes this.
  5. Hey Vinyl Man

    Hey Vinyl Man Forum Resident

    I got my start with Blue Valentine and it's still my favorite of his. Don't miss it!
    Fullbug likes this.
  6. StarThrower62

    StarThrower62 Forum Resident

    Central NY
    I dig these, plus Rain Dogs, Heart Attack & Vine, Alice, Frank's Wild Years. Saturday Night is his classic crooner album.
  7. Fullbug

    Fullbug Forum Resident

    I'm not the most musically adventurous guy ..... I really like his more mainstream stuff like Small Change and Heart of Saturday Night.
    Eric_Generic likes this.
  8. SlimLee

    SlimLee Forum Resident

    I spent a few years dabbling in and out of Tom Waits, with nothing ever really sticking. Then, when I made a conceited effort to give his output a go - I dove into Swordfish Trombones. Since then I haven't looked back. To my ears, it's a little easier to digest than the masterpiece that is Rain Dogs, but it does a good job of tuning your mind to getting into that album later. Swordfish is still one of my favourite TW albums.
    Fullbug and Eric_Generic like this.
  9. hbbfam

    hbbfam Forum Resident

    Starting with the brawlers cd of orphans. It is just brilliant
    Phil Tate likes this.
  10. posnera

    posnera Forum Resident

    I'm listening to Frank's Wild Years now for the first time in a long time. I was completely hooked on Waits by the first song.
    The actual first song I heard was Back In The Good Old World which was in a movie, Night On Earth. I picked Frank's pretty much at random from a small selection at the record store.
  11. Koabac

    Koabac Self-Titled

    Los Angeles
    Oh, yeah, Waits' soundtrack songs are great on "Night On Earth." If you can find "The Other Side of The World," I think it's one of his most beautiful, perfect songs.
    Eric_Generic likes this.
  12. mwheelerk

    mwheelerk "You say you'll change the constitution"

    Gilbert Arizona
    Tom is one of those artists in my opinion, Bowie being another, whose music catalog could be divided into several segments because of the diversity of style. Some may like one segment or another, some a couple of different segments and maybe others all the various stylings. Bone Machine, Bad As Me, Closing Time, The Heart Of Saturday Night and so many others can lead you down certain pathways of Waits.
  13. Michel_LeGrisbi

    Michel_LeGrisbi Far-Gone Accumulator ™

    you can start @ Bone Machine, If that's a bit too dark check out Closing Time
  14. Hammerpeg

    Hammerpeg Forum Resident

    Manitoba, Canada
    ‘Rain Dogs’ is the most representative album of his that I’ve heard; it’s the most Tom Waits-ish Tom Waits album, the one that captures his unique sound better than any other. His more recent albums can be difficult. His first few are extremely likeable. I can’t even tell you how much I love ‘Closing Time.’
  15. zeppo1

    zeppo1 Forum Resident

    Rain Dogs is the key to everything Tom
    Fullbug likes this.
  16. SJR

    SJR Senior Member

    Half a dozen albums I'd recommend that show off his range:

    Small Change
    Heart Attack And Vine
    Rain Dogs
    Bone Machine
    Mule Variations
    Eric_Generic likes this.
  17. StarThrower62

    StarThrower62 Forum Resident

    Central NY
    Bought a copy of Bad As Me today at B&N. It includes all 16 songs even though the liners list only 13.

  18. ruben lopez

    ruben lopez Forum Resident

    Barcelona Spain
    I started with Mule Variations.
    It worked.
    Beatnik_Daddyo'73 likes this.
  19. ceddy10165

    ceddy10165 My life was saved by rock n roll

    Avon, CT
    As some one who likes jazz and the Beats, I started with Nighthawks at the Dinner. I’ve heard them all since and it’s still my favorite.
    Hammerpeg likes this.
  20. Tribute

    Tribute Forum Resident

    What I want to know is...

    Why doesn't Tom Waits start recording and performing again? Is he just goofing off?
  21. sekaer

    sekaer Forum Resident

    New York City
    And rent Down By Law!
    jawaka1000, Hammerpeg and Tristero like this.
  22. oskaraleman

    oskaraleman Forum Resident

    ouisconsing, USA
    Many good suggestions in previous posts...I'll recommend as a side track for ya on yer Waits journey, the record John Hammond released in 2001 on Point Blank, Wicked Grin.
    Produced by Tom Waits, (also on guitar) with Larry Taylor on bass, Augie Meyers on keys, Stephen Hodges on percussion and Charlie Musselwhite on harp.
    Nice sounding recording as well.
  23. thepigdog

    thepigdog Music and beer

    I started with Closing Time when it first came out and kept up with everything until Bone Machine. Nothing since, not that I didn't like them just didn't like them enough to play them more than a couple times. They still have not grown on me.
    drad dog likes this.
  24. jawaka1000

    jawaka1000 Forum Resident

    Why not?
    It's a great album, filled with lots of great songs.
    And it includes my favorite Tom Waits song.
    Yesterday is here:
  25. jawaka1000

    jawaka1000 Forum Resident

    I listened to this clip 4 times already this morning.
    Such a great and short masterpiece of a song. :)

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