Tom Waits' twentieth album, Bad As Me, was released today on Anti- records to almost epidemically feverish anticipation from fans. (Gimme Noise's collective thermometer reads 106!) So what better way to pay tribute to everyone's favorite growling crooner than with some choice YouTube clips to visually span his career? Nothing, that's what.
Back in August, Waits and friends released this "Tom Waits Private Listening Party," video. It's a clever little vignette that teases the album drop and ends with Waits ushering people into an old jalopy one-by-one so they can get a real private listen to the record.
The music video for Waits' 1992 song "I Don't Wanna Grow Up," off of his grammy award winning album Bone Machine was directed by filmmaker Jim Jarmusch. The Ramones would later go on to cover the track on their last album,1995's Adios Amigos. Half of the time, Waits plays a tiny toy guitar, blown up like Gulliver on a miniature lilliputian stage, the other half of the video he's out in the desert in a devil costume, riding in circles on a bicycle. It might be perfect.
Back up six years to 1986 and we have the Jim Jarmusch film Down By Law, co-starring Tom Waits and John Lurie as cell mates who hate each other but devise a plan to escape the prison through the Louisiana bayou with their third italian cell mate, played by Roberto Benigni. It's Benigni's first role in the U.S. and the film's scored by Tom Waits. It also has one of the best american film trailers of all time, which uses the Waits song, "Jockey Full Of Bourbon," the same track that opens the film.
Climb back another decade and we see a much younger Waits singing what is perhaps the most iconic Tom Waits ballad, "The Piano Has Been Drinking" off of 1976's Closing Time. In this recording, a live appearance from the very short-lived Fernwood 2 night (co-hosted by Fred Willard) Tom Waits supposedly performs on the show simply because his van has broken down on the way to a concert in Toledo. The premise is a shtick, but Waits' performance rings true, and he's in tip-top form during the post-song interview.