Facts about Tom Waits

Tom Waits is 74 years old
Best known as: Raspy-voiced singer of "The Piano Has Been Drinking"



Tom Waits Biography

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 commercial superstardom.

Waits 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.

As a character actor, he’s appeared in several films, including Down By Law (1986); Mystery Train (1989); Mystery Men (1999); Coffee and Cigarettes (2003); Wristcutters: A Love Story (2006); The Book of Eli (2010); The Ballad of Buster Scruggs (2018); The Dead Don’t Die (2019, one of many Jim Jarmusch films for Waits); and Licorice Pizza (2021).

Waits’s albums include Night on Earth Original Soundtrack (1992); Bone Machine (1992); Mule Variations (1999); Blood Money (2002); and Bad as Me (2011).

Extra credit

Actress Scarlett Johansson released a CD in 2008 of Waits songs called Anywhere I Lay My Head.


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