The inimitable ragamuffin Tom Waits has bagged another Grammy Award nomination for his latest, Bad As Me . In 1978 my pick for album of the year was Bruce Springsteen’s Darkness on the Edge of Town, which no doubt topped many such lists that year. Second by a gnat’s eyelash on my list, however, wasBlue Valentine by Tom Waits, an album which I can cherish easily for another thirty years. While no one was surprised when Springsteen was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility, that same recognition for Tom Waits was a pleasant surprise to many of us who have descended into his musical world of dim-lit back alley places populated by a large cast of vivid characters straight out of Central Casting. Since this November 1978 classic rock interview in Memphis, Waits has accumulated a separate body of work as a film actor, most recently in The Book of Eli with Denzel Washington, as well as Down By Law. In 1982 Waits combined his musical and film ambitions to receive an Academy Award nomination for the soundtrack to One From the Heart. Since his critically-acclaimed 1973 debut albumClosing Time, Tom Waits has released another twenty-one albums while copping two Grammy Awards.
During his acceptance speech at the RHOF induction, Waits remarked,” They say that I have no hits and I’m difficult to work with. And they say that as if it’s a bad thing.” ( Rimshot ba-da-boom !) -Redbeard