Recent Dorkiness

Countdown to Halloween, Day 30: An Evening with Mister Tom Waits

Earlier this month, I called Tom Waits the poet laureate of Halloween. That’s not a title I bestow lightly…

click to embiggen, and see how serious HE takes it.

…so tonight, I thought I’d get on the stick…

…and give you a whole raft of spooky-ass Tom Waits songs, just to demonstrate how Halloweenie he really is.

I mean, with the things that come out of this man’s head…

…you’d think he was the Devil himself.


Our first song comes from the album Rain Dogs, and warms things up with an appropriate Halloween dance, the “Cemetery Polka.”


Next up, a cheerful little spoken word piece entitled “The Ocean Doesn’t Want Me.”


That last song came from the album Bone Machine, which Waits has described specifically as being his “Halloween album.” So it’s only right that we take another track from that same album: “The Earth Died Screaming,” accompanied by scenes from the movie of the same name.


Next up, a disquieting instrumental from The Black Rider album, “Oily Night.”


And now another spoken word piece (What? I DID say he was the poet laureate of Halloween, after all). This one’s a portrait of paranoia… or maybe something far more sinister… From the Mule Variations album, it’s “What’s He Building?”


Just lighten the mood a little after that, here’s “God’s Away on Business” from Blood Money… As performed (visually, anyway) by the Cookie Monster…


And just to help you take Mister Waits seriously again after that… It’s “Watch Her Disappear” from the album Alice. Many of the songs from this album were inspired by Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland, and the author’s relationship with the real-life Alice. Which makes this already-creepy-ass piece that much creepier…


Picking the tempo back up, we move on to “Little Drop of Poison,” released by Waits on his three-disc Orphans compilation, but originally featured on the soundtrack to Shrek 2 (thus, I’m sure, becoming many impressionable children’s first exposure to Our Halloween Hero).


Also from Orphans (on the “Bastards” disc) comes “First Kiss.” Another spoken word piece, this one’s simultaneously creepy and playful, always a good combo in my book…


Switching gears yet again, we move on to a noisy bellower from Real Gone, “Don’t Go Into That Barn.” Good advice this time of year.


There’s lots more spooky Tom Waits music out there, of course, but we’ve got to stop somewhere. And so finally… The Dork Forty and Mister Tom Waits would like to remind you that creepy-time doesn’t end with Halloween. Because “November” has plenty of gloom waiting for us, too…

About Mark Brett (522 Articles)
Shaved Yeti. Alien. Writer of stuff. Read my fiction at Read my thoughts on comic books and other dork culture ephemera at

5 Comments on Countdown to Halloween, Day 30: An Evening with Mister Tom Waits

  1. This post totally made my night.


  2. Awesome!! Thank you!


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