Tom Waits

Songwriter / Actor / Singer

Born: 7 December 1949
Birthplace: Pomona, California
Best known as: Raspy-voiced singer of "The Piano Has Been Drinking"
Tom Waits released his first album, Closing Time, in 1973. It was a set of bluesy ballads about love gone sour, and established his musical persona as a raspy-voiced, whiskey-soaked denizen of smoky places in the wee hours. His 1976 album Small Change included the signature tunes "Invitation to the Blues" and the "The Piano Has Been Drinking," and subsequent albums earned him a cult following, if not a commercial hit. He turned to acting in the 1980s, working with Francis Ford Coppola in The Outsiders, Rumblefish (both 1983) and Bram Stoker's Dracula (1992). Waits was nominated for a 1983 Oscar for his soundtrack to One From the Heart, and critical praise for his three albums Swordfishtrombones (1983), Rain Dogs (1985) and Frank's Wild Years (1987) kept his musical momentum going. During the 1990s he acted in films, released albums and performed on stage, carving out his own little niche of avant garde music and urban drama of the beatnik-noir variety. He co-starred with Hank Azaria and Janeane Garofalo in Mystery Men (1999) and appeared in the independent flicks Coffee and Cigarettes (2003) and Wristcutters: A Love Story (2006).
Extra credit: Actress Scarlett Johansson released a CD in 2008 of Waits songs called Anywhere I Lay My Head.

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