Tom Waits

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Decades: 1970s 1980s 1990s 2000s
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Thomas Alan Waits, 7 December 1949, Pomona, California, USA. A gifted lyricist, composer, raconteur and actor, Waits has enjoyed a long and fruitful career. The son of teachers, his parents separated when he was 11, leaving Tom and his sisters to be raised by his mother in the San Diego suburb of National City. He left school to work at a local pizza house, a period later celebrated in the track ‘The Ghosts Of Saturday Night (After Hours At Napoleone’s Pizza House)’. Waits began performing in the late 60s, inspired by writers including Jack Kerouac and Charles Bukowski and a spell working as a doorman in a San Diego nightclub. Here he saw a miscellany of acts - string bands, comedians, country and western singers - and by absorbing portions of an attendant down-market patois, developed his nascent songwriting talent. Having appeared at the Los Angeles’ Troubador ‘Amateur Hoot Nights’, Waits was signed by manager Herb Cohen who in turn...

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