🎵 How Good Are They Really 🎵 Tom Waits

…for no man, let’s get on with it!

The Verve go low

Artist Rating
Aretha Franklin 4.64
Nina Simone 4.57
Neil Young 4.48
Miles Davis 4.42
Talking Heads 4.39
R.E.M. 4.38
Beastie Boys 4.36
Otis Redding 4.34
The Velvet Underground 4.33
David Bowie 4.31
The Beatles 4.31
Pixies 4.30
Leonard Cohen 4.30
The Cure 4.28
Björk 4.27
Mogwai 4.24
Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds 4.22
Marvin Gaye 4.21
Aphex Twin 4.18
PJ Harvey 4.17
Stevie Wonder 4.17
Nirvana 4.15
Joy Division 4.15
Radiohead 4.13
The Supremes 4.13
Pavement 4.12
Prince 4.11
Wu-Tang Clan 4.11
Nick Drake 4.10
Elliott Smith 4.09
Pulp 4.08
Public Enemy 4.08
Sonic Youth 4.08
Sleater-Kinney 4.08
Kate Bush 4.07
OutKast 4.07
Portishead 4.03
Super Furry Animals 4.03
Black Sabbath 4.03
Simon & Garfunkel 4.02
MF DOOM 4.01
Bob Dylan 3.97
Kendrick Lamar 3.97
Low 3.96
Robyn 3.96
The Beach Boys 3.93
Jimi Hendrix 3.93
LCD Soundsystem 3.92
Joni Mitchell 3.89
Massive Attack 3.89
Bruce Springsteen 3.84
The Clash 3.77
Dolly Parton 3.77
Pet Shop Boys 3.76
Modest Mouse 3.76
Blondie 3.73
Bright Eyes 3.71
Rage Against The Machine 3.71
The National 3.68
Paul Simon 3.68
The Ramones 3.67
ABBA 3.66
Kanye West 3.65
Arcade Fire 3.64
Blur 3.61
Beck 3.59
The Smiths 3.57
Beyoncé 3.54
Yeah Yeah Yeahs 3.54
Eels 3.52
Carly Rae Jepsen 3.51
The Chemical Brothers 3.49
Bob Marley & The Wailers 3.48
Jeff Buckley 3.47
Idlewild 3.42
Madonna 3.40
Manic Street Preachers 3.39
Fleetwood Mac 3.39
The Notorious B.I.G. 3.37
Toots & The Maytals 3.35
The White Stripes 3.34
Supergrass 3.32
Hole 3.31
The Smashing Pumpkins 3.30
Suede 3.30
Steely Dan 3.29
Elton John 3.28
The Pogues 3.28
Kylie Minogue 3.27
The Specials 3.26
Sugababes 3.22
Thin Lizzy 3.22
Rihanna 3.19
The Prodigy 3.18
Led Zeppelin 3.16
Ash 3.16
Pink Floyd 3.15
Taylor Swift 3.14
Jay-Z 3.14
Arctic Monkeys 3.14
Interpol 3.12
TLC 3.12
Los Campesinos! 3.10
The Rolling Stones 3.09
Iron Maiden 3.06
Destiny’s Child 3.05
Primal Scream 3.04
Shower Cans 3.04
The Strokes 3.03
Elvis Presley 3.02
The Bee Gees 2.99
Weezer 2.97
Amy Winehouse 2.95
Girls Aloud 2.93
Frank Sinatra 2.92
2Pac 2.91
The Doors 2.89
Lizzo 2.86
Belle And Sebastian 2.85
Britney Spears 2.85
Metallica 2.81
Green Day 2.81
Madness 2.80
The Jam 2.75
Basement Jaxx 2.75
Oasis 2.71
Whitney Houston 2.69
The Verve 2.67
Slayer 2.65
The Sex Pistols 2.63
Lady Gaga 2.61
Queen 2.60
Billy Joel 2.57
Foo Fighters 2.57
U2 2.55
Justin Timberlake 2.52
Biffy Clyro 2.48
Dire Straits 2.43
Bloc Party 2.41
Cher 2.40
Eminem 2.38
Mariah Carey 2.32
Rancid 2.26
The Killers 2.22
The Who 2.22
Blink-182 2.21
Muse 2.20
Adele 2.05
Kings Of Leon 2.01
Red Hot Chili Peppers 1.90
The Spice Girls 1.81
Stereophonics 1.74

And without further ado…

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  • 5

0 voters

Only going to do an album poll cause there aren’t many singles or a Best Of and I’ll take nominations for the playlist. Please feel free to add polls…

  • Closing Time
  • The Heart Of Saturday Night
  • Nighthawks At The Diner
  • Small Change
  • Foreign Affairs
  • Blue Valentine
  • Heartattack And Vine
  • Swordfishtrombones
  • Rain Dogs
  • Franks Wild Years
  • Bone Machine
  • The Black Rider
  • Mule Variations
  • Alice
  • Blood Money
  • Real Gone
  • Bad As Me

0 voters

Don’t get his music or the adoration he gets. 1


The fivest five that ever fived.

I’ll probably be back with a tl;dr essay but I just wanna get a five in early. He’s got no chance of topping Aretha but if he doesn’t at least crack the top ten I’m never gonna trust any of you heathens on anything ever again.


it’s an absolutely miserable day. perfect for some Waits.

Best Christmas song.


Big 5! I get that he’s a bit marmite and he’s had a couple of duffers, but at his best he’s absolutely bloody brilliant. Took a long time for him to click with me, but it was Bone Machine that did it on the way home from a funeral (bit morbid I know). That run in the 80s of Swordfishtrombones, Rain Dogs and Franks Wild Years is pretty much untouchable. But my favourite is Blue Valentine, mainly for Kentucky Avenue - what an incredible song that is. If you’re looking for suggestions for the playlist, I’d love to put that one forward!


he’s great
voted for rain dogs cos it’s perfect but really consistent discography

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Some of the later stuff feels a bit less forced but not for me at all

Hope I come to him a bit later on and it falls into place.

Have never listened to a Tom Waits song before (except that cover he did of The Wire intro music). Will try to remedy that over the next 48 hours but not expecting to have a firm enough opinion for a HGATR score by tomorrow afternoon

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me neither, relying on this thread for a good spread of songs for a beginner

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Huh, fancy that. Had always assumed that his version was a cover of whatever group that did the series 1 version

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I remember getting a Tom Waits Island years compilation, as I’d head of him lots and never actually heard him. It took weeks before it clicked (the inclusion of The Black Rider early in the tracklist is a huge curve ball to be fair), but there was something that kept pulling me back to give it another go. Shore Leave and Clap Hands were the route in for me.

I actually care a lot less for his barfly crooner years, in that it just isn’t the type of music that ever does much for me, but once he veered weird there is nothing better or even similar.

Holding out hope for one more album - his last was excellent. Rain Dogs is an all-time top 10 record too.

Easy easy 5


One of the best love songs ever written


Gone with a 4 because I haven’t heard a huge amount of his work, but what I have heard verges from amazing (Swordfish… Rain Dogs, Closing Time) to almost unlistenable (Black Rider). The good definitely outweighs the bad though. Much prefer his more “song-based” work than the “hitting pipes with sticks” stuff.

One of my absolute all time rain dogs! Be a shame not to give one of the greats a song poll, so put one together from his retail singles, promo singles and a couple of notable omissions. Hope that’s ok with you @anon19035908

  • (Looking for) The Heart of Saturday Night
  • 16 Shells From a Thirty-Ought-Six (live)
  • Alice
  • All The World Is Green
  • Back in the Crowd
  • Bad as Me
  • Blue Skies
  • Chocolate Jesus
  • Christmas Card From A Hooker In Minneapolis
  • Come On Up To The House
  • Downtown Train
  • God’s Away on Business
  • Goin’ Out West
  • Grapefruit Moon
  • Hang on St. Christopher
  • Heartattack and Vine
  • Hold On
  • How It’s Gonna End
  • I’ll Shoot the Moon
  • In the Neighborhood
  • Jersey Girl
  • Jockey Full of Bourbon
  • Lie to Me
  • Make It Rain
  • Martha
  • Ol’ '55
  • San Diego Serenade
  • Somewhere
  • Step Right Up
  • Tango Till They’re Sore
  • Time
  • Way Down In The Hole
  • What’s He Building?

0 voters


Have more to add but will be back in a bit.


Astonishing (and quite different) performance of Rain Dogs


I think he’s really only revered for being unique rather than actually being good.