Tom Waits: Lost Hero of American Music
Tom Waits is a U.S.-born singer/songwriter who's been producing a unique style of music since 1971. His distinctive hoarse rasp was once described by a music critic as sounding like 'it was soaked in a vat of bourbon, left hanging in a smokehouse for a few months, and then taken outside and run over by a car.' Indeed, many early interviews and videos of Tom feature a prominent ashtray near him.   Waits has influenced many other performers over his long career, although he has never gotten the recognition he deserves in his home country. Many of his songs reach higher on the charts in other countries. Despite his lack of hits on the American market, Waits was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of fame in 2011. Throughout his career, Waits has collaborated on movie and play soundtracks. He is known for his refusal to sell out, and has never allowed his songs to feature in any sort of advertisement. Several successful lawsuits against offending companies have discouraged others from disregarding the artist's wishes.   Tom Waits   Tom Waits has also moved into the acting business, in mostly supporting roles thus far. His filmography is as varied as his music, from Renfield in Bram Stoker's Dracula, to 'the Engineer' in the more recent film Book of Eli, and even as a ‘serial-killer killer’ in the 2012 film Seven Psychopaths.   Over the years, the music of Tom Waits has undergone a great many changes. His early albums, like The Heart of Saturday Night, tend more towards a jazz sound, while some of his later works are almost ballads. He has made some forays into industrial music, resulting in such songs as 'Underground', which was part of the soundtrack of the animated movie Robots.   A common theme to his 20+ albums is the gritty feel and portrayal of the seedy side of town. Waits's songs tend to tell a story, whatever style he chooses to go with. His music is easily identifiable, despite the variations, due to the one-of-a-kind imagery he creates, as well as his trademark rasp. He's been on 13 tours to promote his music, the last one wrapping up in 2008. His most recent album, Bad as Me, was released in October, 2011.   With his vast experience, commanding stage presence, and heartfelt lyrics, it’s no wonder Waits continues to capture generation after generation of fans. And there’s no doubt that he will keep on doing so for many years to come.   photo credit: Hryck. via photopin cc photo credit: Krysthopher Woods via photopin cc

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