10 Best Heartbreaking Songs by Tom Waits

Today is Tom Waits’ birthday, he’s 63.
I love Tom Waits in all shapes, from his classic piano ballads in Closing Time to the psychotic Black Rider, the raven and the poet, the lover and bum.

Tom Waits has the ability to break my heart in one perfect song, so I gathered ten of them, with no particular order ;

1. Ruby’s Arms (Heartattack and Vine)
The morning light has washed your face, and everything is turning blue now,
hold on to your pillow case there’s nothing i can do now, as i say goodbye to
ruby’s arms, you’ll find another soldier, and i swear to god by Christmas,
there‘ll be someone else to hold you

2. On The Nickel (Heartattack and Vine)
Sticks and stones will break my bones, but i always will be true, and when
your mama is dead and gone, I’ll sing this lullabye just for you, and what
becomes of all the little boys, who never comb their hair, well they’re lined
up all around the block, on the nickel over there

3. Blue Valentines (Blue Valentines)
she sends me blue valentines though I try to remain at large, they’re insisting that our love
must have a culogy, why do I save all of this madness in the nightstand drawer
there to haunt upon my shoulders, baby I know I’d be luckier to walk around everywhere I go
with a blind and broken heart that sleeps beneath my lapel

4. Martha (Closing Time)
Those were days of roses, of poetry and prose and Martha all I had was you and all you had was me

5. Dirt In The Ground (Glitter and Doom)
Now the killer was smiling with nerves made of stone
He climbed the stairs And the gallows groaned And the people’s hearts were pounding
They were throbbing, they were red As he swung out over the crowd
I heard the hangman said We’re all gonna be Just dirt in the ground

6. Hang Down Your Head (Rain Dogs)
Hush my love the rain now, hush my love was so true
Hush my love a train now well it takes me away from you

7. Alice (Alice)
I disappear in your name, but you must wait for me
Somewhere across the sea There’s a wreck of a ship

8. Day After Tomorrow (Real Gone)
It is so hard And it’s cold here
And I’m tired of taking orders And I miss old Rockford town
Up by the Wisconsin border But I miss you won’t believe
Shoveling snow and raking leaves And my plane will touch tomorrow
On the day after tomorrow

9. Christmas Card from a Hooker in Minneapolis (Blue Valentines)

hey Charley I’m pregnant and living on 9-th street
right above a dirty bookstore off cuclid avenue
and I stopped taking dope and I quit drinking whiskey
and my old man plays the trombone and works out at the track

10. Soldier’s Things (Swordfishtrombones)
Davenports and kettle drums And swallow tail coats
Table cloths and patent leather shoes Bathing suits and bowling balls
And clarinets and rings And all this radio really
Needs is a fuse A tinker, a tailor
A soldier’s things His rifle, his boots full of rocks
And this one is for bravery And this one is for me
And everything’s a dollar In this box

What songs would you include here?


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