Thomas Alan Waits (born December 7, 1949) is an American singer, songwriter, musician, composer, and actor. His lyrics often focus on the underbelly of society and are delivered in his trademark deep, gravelly voice. He worked primarily in jazz during the 1970s, but his music since the 1980s has reflected greater influence from blues, rock, vaudeville, and experimental genres.Waits was born and raised in a middle-class family in Pomona, California. Inspired by the work of Bob Dylan and the Beat Generation, he began singing on the San Diego folk music circuit as a teenager. He relocated to Los Angeles in 1972, where he worked as a songwriter before signing a recording contract with Asylum Records. His first albums were the jazz-oriented Closing Time (1973) and The Heart of Saturday Night (1974), which reflected his lyrical interest in nightlife, poverty, and criminality. He repeatedly toured the United States, Europe, and Japan, and attracted greater critical recognition and commercial success with Small Change (1976), Blue Valentine (1978), and Heartattack and Vine (1980). He produced the soundtrack for Francis Ford Coppola's film One from the Heart (1981), and subsequently made cameo appearances in several Coppola films.In 1980, Waits married Kathleen Brennan, split from his manager and record label, and moved to New York City. With Brennan's encouragement and frequent collaboration, he pursued a more experimental and eclectic musical aesthetic influenced by the work of Harry Partch and Captain Beefheart. This was reflected in a series of albums released by Island Records, including Swordfishtrombones (1983), Rain Dogs (1985), and Franks Wild Years (1987). He continued appearing in films, notably starring in Jim Jarmusch's Down by Law (1986), and also made theatrical appearances. With theatre director Robert Wilson, he produced the musicals The Black Rider and Alice, first performed in Hamburg. Having returned to California in the 1990s, his albums Bone Machine (1992), The Black Rider (1993), and Mule Variations (1999) earned him increasing critical acclaim and multiple Grammy Awards. In the late 1990s, he switched to the record label ANTI-, which released Blood Money (2002), Alice (2002), Real Gone (2004), and Bad as Me (2011).Despite a lack of mainstream commercial success, Waits has influenced many musicians and gained an international cult following, and several biographies have been written about him. In 2015, he was ranked at No. 55 on Rolling Stone's "100 Greatest Songwriters of All Time". He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2011.
During the 1970s, he had a brief relationship with the comedian Elayne Boosler, an intermittent relationship with Bette Midler, as well as a relationship with Rickie Lee Jones.In 1980, Waits married his wife and frequent collaborator, Kathleen Brennan. They live in Sonoma County, California, and have three children: Kellesimone (born 1983), Casey (born 1985) and Sullivan (born 1993). After he married and had children, Waits became increasingly reclusive. Safeguarding the privacy of his family life became very important to him.During interviews, he deflected questions about his personal life, and refused to sanction any biography. When Barney Hoskyns was researching his unauthorized 2009 biography "Lowside of the Road: A Life of Tom Waits", Waits and his wife asked people not to talk to him. Hoskyns believed that it was Brennan who was responsible for the "wall of inaccessibility" surrounding Waits.
Movies & TV shows
1 Movie · 1 TV show
The film is set in 1970s San Fernando Valley and follows a high school student who is also a successful child actor but when something happens, he has to make something happen.
Ultra City Smiths
Two detectives have to contend with dangerous corruption as they investigate the disappearance of the last honest politician in their dark city. A group of unlikely suspects have the same last name.
The Dead Don't Die
In a small town, zombies suddenly show up. Three bespectacled police officers and a strange Scottish morgue expert are going to have to band together to defeat the zombies.
New York City in 1957. Lionel Essrog tries to solve the murder of his mentor and best friend with only vague clues and the strength of his obsessive mind.
The Ballad of Buster Scruggs
The stories of six people were told at the end of the Civil War. Following the tales of a sharp-shooting songster, a wannabe bank robber, two weary traveling performers, a lone gold prospector, a woma...
The Old Man & the Gun
The true story of Forrest Tucker, from his audacious escape from San Quentin at the age of 70 to an unprecedented string of heists that confounded authorities and enchanted the public. A woman who lov...
The Moon’s Milk
At a time when the moon could be reached by ladder, Captain Millipede, his daughter, a deaf milk miner, a beautiful accordionist, and a wannabe pole dancer make their final expedition unaware of what ...
Roy Orbison: Black and White Night 30
Black and White Night 30 is a re-imagined, re-edited, remastered and expanded version of the original television special, available both as a CD/DVD set and as a CD/Blu-ray set on February 24. Re-edit...
Tom Waits: Tales from a Cracked Jukebox
One of the most original musicians of the last five decades is Tom Waits. Renowned for his gravelly voice and dazzling mix of musical styles, he's also one of modern music's most enigmatic and influen...
Tom Waits: Under the Influence
This documentary film examines, dissects and all but lobotomizes the wealth of music, literature, theatre and film that have assisted in creating Waits legendary genius and, results in hand, reviews t...
Dedicated to all who have risked their lives climbing, and to those who have fallen by mistake. There are original, found, and appropriated footage.
The Book of Eli
A post apocalyptic tale in which a lone man fights his way across America in order to protect a sacred book that holds the secrets to saving humankind.
The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus
The audience of a traveling theater company is larger than expected.
Tom Waits: Romeo Bleeding - Live from Austin
Taped in 1978, Waits and his band of Herbert Hardesty, Arthur Richardson, John Thomassie and Greg Cohen were in Austin to support the release of Blue Valentine. We get a first-hand look as Waits trans...
Tom Waits: Under Review
.It's almost 40 years since Tom Waits' debut record, and during a career that, for most fans, has quite simply gotten better, more exciting and more challenging with each new release, he is surely the...
Wristcutters: A Love Story
He decided to end it all after breaking up with his girlfriend. There is only a run-down afterlife that is just a bit worse than his old one. He went on a road trip with a friend to find his ex-girlfr...
Tom Waits - Burma Shave [Live Concert]
Singer/songwriter extraordinaire Tom Waits has become an American musical institution over the last few decades. His audience continues to grow, more artists cover his songs and he has risen from the ...
Domino Harvey abandoned her career as a Ford model to become a bounty hunter.
The Tiger and the Snow
During the time of war, there was love and injury. Attilio de Giovanni teaches poetry in Italy. He has a romantic soul and is loved by women. The love he has for a woman is not reciprocated. He dreams...
Coffee and Cigarettes
Coffee And Cigarettes has eleven films. A star studded cast of people drink coffee and smoke cigarettes in each film.
Bukowski: Born Into This
Bukowski: Born Into This is a touching portrait of the author as well as an expose of his sordid lifestyle. Interviews with the poet's fans, such as Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Joyce Fante, and Bono, are i...
Tom Waits: VH1 Storytellers
VH1 Storytellers: Season 4 Episode 2 - Tom Waits (1999)
When a trio of average, everyday superheroes are kidnapped by a recently paroled supervillain, it's called Mr. The Blue Raja and the Shoveler formed a new super team to save him.
Bunny, an elderly rabbit who uses a walker, bakes a cake one night. There is a photograph on her wall. There are pests in the kitchen. She turns off the porch light and returns to baking. She bats it ...
Guy Maddin: Waiting for Twilight
Interviews with Guy Maddin and his pals are included in this documentary about the Canadian film-maker's life and movies. Features clips from most of Maddin's films up to Twilight of the Ice Nymphs, i...
1 TV show
The Daily Show with Trevor Noah
The biggest stories in news, politics and pop culture are tackled by The World's Fakest News Team.
3 Movies · 1 TV show
Coffee and Cigarettes III
Coffee and Cigarettes have the same structure. They met in a bar. We don't know why they agreed to do that in the first place, because they don't seem to know each other very well and they don't have ...
Late Night with Conan O'Brien
Late Night with Conan O'Brien is an American late-night talk show hosted by Conan O'Brien that aired 2,725 episodes on NBC between 1993 and 2009. The show featured varied comedic material, celebrity i...
The film is based on the stories of Raymond Carver. Piggot ran into the boy. A child is in a coma. Howard was told about his grandfather's past affairs. The baker harassed the family after they failed...
Luck, Trust & Ketchup: Robert Altman in Carver Country
A documentary insight behind the scenes of Roberts Altman's Short Cuts.
Bram Stoker's Dracula
When Mina Harker is found in London, the obsessed vampire hunter Dr. will be there. Jonathan Harker and Transylvania will be leaving for London to look for her. Van Helsing is going to end the madness...
5 Movies · 1 TV show
Night on Earth
An anthology of 5 different cab drivers in 5 American and European cities and their remarkable fares on the same night.
Until the End of the World
After surviving a car crash with some bank Robbers, who enlisted her help to take the money to a drop in Paris, her life is forever changed. She runs into a fugitive from the law. An American is being...
At Play in the Fields of the Lord
Martin and Hazel Quarrier were sent to the jungles of South America to convert the Indians. Before the natives murdered them all, their remote mission was run by the Catholics. The missionary effort i...
Fishing with John
John Lurie doesn't know much about fishing, but that doesn't stop him from going fishing with his friends.
When childhood friends Al, Dennis and Eliot get together for Ray's wedding, which may or may not happen, they end up on a roller-coaster ride through reality. During one tumultuous, crazy weekend, the...
The Fisher King
Two troubled men face their terrible past as they join together on a mission to find the Holy Grail in order to save themselves.
The Black Rider
Inspired by the German folktale, Wilhelm, a file clerk, falls in love with a huntsman's daughter. In order to marry, Wilhelm must prove his worth as a hunter and gain her father's approval. Naive and ...
The Two Jakes
Jake Gittes is still haunted by the events of the first Chinatown sequel. Jake was hired by a man to investigate his wife's infidelities and found himself involved in a complicated plot involving murd...
Red Hot + Blue: A Tribute to Cole Porter
Raising money for AIDS research and relief is one of the goals of this music special. Some of today's most celebrated recording artists are performing their interpretations of Cole Porter's classics.
3 Movies · 1 TV show
The leader of a group of misfits, his girlfriend and an assassin have a plan to smuggle stolen jewelry over the US/Mexican border. They put jewelry in a horse.
Bearskin: An Urban Fairytale
Johnny Fortune (Damon Lowry) is no good to anyone, not mean, but just no good. Surrounded by violence and dishonesty, Johnny lives with Kate. Johnny messes up, he loses a lot of money, his girlfriend ...
Set in Springfield, the average American town, the show focuses on the antics and everyday adventures of the Simpson family, as well as a virtual cast of thousands. Hundreds of celebrities have guest ...
In Memphis, Tennessee, over the course of a single night, the Arcade Hotel, run by an eccentric night clerk and a clueless bellboy, is visited by a young Japanese couple traveling in search of the roo...
A mediocre musician is looking for the world's greatest guitar maker.
Bringing his unique sense of humor to this bizarre and original piece of moviemaking, Tom Waits takes the audience through a musical journey with his jazzy, quirky, bluesy tunes presented as you would...
Roy Orbison and Friends: A Black and White Night
Roy is joined by an eclectic group of rock and roll superstars including Jackson Browne, Elvis Costello, T-Bone Burnett, and J.D. Souther and Warnes, k.d. Bonnie Raitt, Bruce Springsteen, and Tom Wait...
Halloween in Albany, New York. Their birth city is where Francis and Helen were born. She was a singer on the radio. She's sick, a pal has cancer, he digs graves at the cemetery, and he sees ghosts of...
The Cotton Club
The lives and loves of entertainers and mobsters collide in Harlem's Cotton Club as it becomes a hub of passion and violence.
The Stone Boy
Arnold and Eugene woke up on their family's farm. Arnold accidentally shot his gun. His brother died. Arnold has to come to terms with his grieving family, including his angry father, his frightened m...
The lives of nine desperate teenagers were in Portrays. Thrown too young into a seedy grown up world, these runaways and castaways survive, but barely. The dumpster diver is called Rat. The teen prost...
When two poor greasers, Johnny and Ponyboy, are attacked by a vicious gang, the socs, and Johnny kills one of the attackers, tension begins to mount between the two rival gangs, setting off a turbulen...
For the days when gang warfare was going on, Rusty James was an absent-minded street thug who struggles to live up to his legendary older brother's reputation.
The Making of 'One from the Heart'
A short documentary on the Francis Ford Coppola musical One From the Heart.
One from the Heart
Hank and Frannie are no longer able to live together. Frannie leaves Hank on the anniversary of their relationship after five years. As bright as they may seem, they are not a stage of lights and colo...
Poetry in Motion
More than 20 contemporary North American poets recite, sing, and perform their work. Several also comment. Early in the film, Charles Bukowski talks about the energy of poets and of a poem. These poet...
Tom Waits: A Day in Vienna
Short documentary film on the great and powerful Tom Waits, including clips from live performances and interviews.
The actor is fighting the odds again, this time in a wrestling ring. He and his two brothers would like to get out of Hell's Kitchen and into the big time. Paradise Alley is a sleazy private club wher...
Tom Waits: Rockpalast '77
Tom Waits was live at WDR Studios in Germany on April 18th, 1977. This is early jazz-quartet style Tom Waits as opposed to the more ragged and loose Waits he turned into after Swordfish Trombones and ...
2 TV shows
Saturday Night Live
A late-night live television sketch comedy and variety show created by Lorne Michaels. The show's comedy sketches, which parody contemporary culture and politics, are performed by a large and varying ...
Austin City Limits
The longest-running music series in American television history,ACL showcases popular music legends and innovators from every genre.