As far as I can tell, no one I know in real life has even heard of Tom Waits, but chances are something they’ve seen or heard had him involved somehow.
If you’ve ever seen Mystery Men, you’ve seen him acting as a scientist that invents non-lethal weapons. If you’ve seen Fight Club you’ve heard a good song of his. The song in question is “Goin’ Out West” and happens to play when Edward Norton and Brad Pitt are entering the bar, and motioning for others to come to the basement with them.
He’s written musicals and been on countless talkshows. He used to be the doorman for the Heritage nightclub in San Diego, where many of his inspirations played. The place you most likely know him from are the many covers that have been done by more well known artists such as Tori Amos, the Eagles, Bob Seger, The Ramones, Elvis Costello, Johnny Cash, Bruce Springsteen, and Rod Stewart.
While he is an amazing artist, he’s also very quirky and his music is generally not what is “normal” to hear. His voice is what he’s most known for, as it vaguely resembles Louis Armstrong, but I’ve talked enough. Here’s a nice selection of videos with his songs I’ve found on youtube.
I don’t wanna grow up. He’s a kid at heart.
What’s He Building. A nice, creepy, spoken-word monologue.
God’s Away on Business. Another quirky video of his.
Tom Traubert’s Blues. My personal favorite, but he strains his voice a bit much to get low in this version…