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Tom Waits's Biography

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Tom Waits was born in 1949 in Pomona, California.

One of rock's most enduring and individual performers, Tom Waits's uncompromising style has garnered a loyal and diverse fan base during his career which now spans over three decades.

The instantly recognisable 'gravel tones' of his voice and the melancholic soaked lyrics of his lowlife lifestyle compositions have curiously given him an enduring appeal.

Inspired by beatnik poetry and the writings of Charles Bukowski, the early years saw Waits produce a number of jazzy/bluesy orchestrated albums which quickly attracted critical acclaim. Closing Time (1973) and The Heart of Saturday Night (1974) are fine examples of this. As the Seventies drew to a close, Waits's career took on another dimension as he moved into the world of cinema, both as a composer and actor.

Hired by Francis Ford Coppola to produce music for the film One From the Heart (1982), this was to earn him an Academy Award nomination. While working on the film he met and later married Kathleen Brennan. It was around this time that he first appeared on screen in Jim Jarmusch's Down By Law (1986), in which he played an out-of-work DJ accused of murder, when a body is found in the trunk of his car. Later performances, including opposite Lily Tomlin in Robert Altman's Short Cuts (1993) earned him further praise.

Waits's musical output surged on through the Eighties with Rain Dogs (1985), a mixture of unusual instrumentation and bizarre lyrics, and Franks Wild Years (1987), an album drawn from a musical of the same name written with his wife.

After a long absence from the studio Waits returned in the late Nineties with Mule Variations (1998) and 2002's Blood Money once again saw Waits writing for the stage, this time in collaboration with dramatist Robert Wilson. 2004 saw the release of Real Gone, Waits's twenty-first album release.

In 2009, a review of Lowside of the Road, a biography of Tom Waits, pointed out:

"Waits successfully sued Frito-Lay for using a Waits imitator in one of their commercials. When asked what he did with the $2.5 million judgement, he said, 'I spent it all on candy.'"

In November 2009, he released Glitter & Doom Live.

On October 24, 2011, Tom Waits released Bad As Me, his first collection of new songs in seven years.

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