Tag Archives: tom waits

Ol’ 55: Tom Waits vs The Eagles

What Tom Waits said about The Eagles’ cover of Ol’ 55, the first single off his debut album, Closing Time.

In an interview on WAMU Radio in Washington DC (1975):

I frankly was not that particularly crazy about their rendition of it. The song is about 5 years old, it’s one of the first songs I wrote so I felt like it was kind of flattering that somebody wanted to do your song but at the same time I thought their version was a little antiseptic.”

To the NME, as quoted in an article called ‘Tom Waits: Would You Say This Man Was Attempting To Convey An Impression Of Sordid Bohemianism’ (1976):

“Naw – I don’t like the Eagles. They’re about as exciting as watching paint dry. Their albums are good for keeping the dust off your turntable and that’s about all.”


Tom Waits live in 1979

This man plays the piano like he doesn’t care who’s heart he’s breaking.

So what becomes of all the little boys
Who run away from home?
The world keeps gettin’ bigger
once you’re on your own
It’s heads you win, tails they lose
You’re on the nickel and you’re over there

#TheTallestManOnEarth and Idiot Wind. Famous couples. Folk singers.

Honestly, the way these two look at each other – it almost makes up for the whole Susan Sarandon/Tim Robbins travesty.

When he performed it in Johannesburg a few weeks ago, they couldn’t get through a line of the song without giggling at each other.

As long as they, and the Lamontagnes, and Tom Waits/Kathleen Brennan are fine, I think we’ll be alright.

Are folk singers just really clever about love?

She’s got the whole dark forest living inside of her | Tom Waits & Kathleen Brennan

“We met on New Year’s Eve at a party in Hollywood. I was leaving the next day. I was moving to New York City and I was never coming back here to the Los Angeles area ever again. That was what I said. But I’d said that before.

So we met on New Year’s and then I left. I was gone for about four months and then I got a call to do One from the Heart. I came back and I got a little office with a piano in it and I was writing songs and Kathleen was working at Zoetrope. She was a story analyst.

Somebody told her to go down and knock on my door and she did and I opened the door and there she was and that was it. That was it for me. Love at first sight. Love at second sight.”

“Brennan is “a remarkable collaborator,” Waits says. “And she’s a shiksa goddess and a trapeze artist, all of that. She can fix the truck. Expert on the African violet and all that.

She’s outta this world. I don’t know what to say. I’m a lucky man.

She has a remarkable imagination. And that’s the nation where I live.

She’s bold, inventive and fearless. That’s who you wanna go in the woods with, right? Somebody who finishes your sentences for you.”

Sources and more.

How Tom Waits works


By the super cool Jim Lockey. Buy his things.


Tom Waits on Keith Richards


“I found some things they say about music that seemed to apply to Keith. You know, in the old days they said that the sound of the guitar could cure gout and epilepsy, sciatica and migraines. I think that nowadays there seems to be a deficit of wonder. And Keith seems to still wonder about this stuff. He will stop and hold his guitar up and just stare at it for a while. Just be rather mystified by it. Like all the great things in the world, women and religion and the sky… you wonder about it, and you don’t stop wondering about it.”

– Tom Waits, in Life by Keith Richards

Tom Waits cleverness

“My kids are starting to notice I’m a little different from the other dads. “Why don’t you have a straight job like everyone else?” they asked me the other day. I told them this story:

In the forest, there was a crooked tree and a straight tree. Every day, the straight tree would say to the crooked tree, “Look at me…I’m tall, and I’m straight, and I’m handsome. Look at you…you’re all crooked and bent over. No one wants to look at you.” And they grew up in that forest together.

And then one day the loggers came, and they saw the crooked tree and the straight tree, and they said, “Just cut the straight trees and leave the rest.” So the loggers turned all the straight trees into lumber and toothpicks and paper.

And the crooked tree is still there, growing stronger and stranger every day.”

– Tom Waits


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