I like Tom Waits and I was thrilled when he was finally honored by the top echelons of rock and roll to the Hall of Fame in 2011. Yes, the songwriter for the “brawlers, bawlers and bastards” richly deserves it.
Tom Waits is kind of unique in the music world or rather, I should say, an original among songwriters and singers. He is a street poet who sings about the lost, the losers, the heartbroken and the downtrodden who linger in the dark alleyways and seedy places. He also sings in this growl voice which makes first-time listeners cringed, an end-result perhaps of too much drinking and smoking in his early years. Yet, that distinctive voice gives life to his poetic lyrics and melodies that are both sad and sweet. His musical tastes are eclectic. He tackles pop, jazz, blues, waltz, polkas, cabaret songs,vaudeville and beat poetry. He is amazingly talented.
Not too many people knows Tom Waits, but, his songs are quite well-known in the form of cover versions by other artists, like the Eagles (Ol’ 55), Rod Stewart (Downtown Train), Bruce Springsteen (Jersey Girl), Hootie and the Blowfish (Hope That I Don’t Fall In Love With You), Tori Amos (Time), Bette Midler (Shiver Me Timbers), Norah Jones (Long Way Home) and the Ramones (I Don’t Wanna Grow Up) to name a few, thus, making him as one of the most influential artists of all time.
This song, Martha, is from his first album Closing Time. I always get emotional every time I hear it. I don't know why. Maybe because of the music, maybe it's the lyrics, or... maybe because it's Tom Waits.
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