Waits? Waits? Don’t Tell Me!
My kids are starting to notice I’m a little different from the other dads. — Tom Waits
I don’t keep up with such things, so if you’d told me Tom Waits wasn’t already in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, I wouldn’t have believed you. Waits has never enjoyed anything close to superstar status, but he’s right up there with Townes Van Zandt, John Prine and maybe three or four other singer / songwriters of my generation with what I’d call “near Dylan” talent. And as with Dylan, many listeners are put off by Waits’ grating voice. A pity, since the best of his lyrics more than make up for any of his (many) eccentricities.
Well now, turns out Waits (along with Alice Cooper, Leon Russell, Dr. John, Darlene Love and, um, Neil Diamond) made the 2011 inductee list. It’s a bit late, but here’s a seasonally appropriate Waits song to mark the occasion: