Tom Waits

With his signature fedora and all the barfly eloquence of a modern highwayman, one might almost convincingly argue that Tom Waits is indeed plucked from Edward Hopper's seminal 'Nighthawks' (1942) even if the acclaimed singer-songwriter was not born until December 7, 1949.

Inspired by the Beat Generation that had come and gone before his time, the artist's seven decades on earth have been largely spent chronicling the oft-unsavory underbelly of American culture through serpentine prose and gravelly vocals which hum like late-night neon. From songs personally penned to transformative covers, the inquiline poet has developed an oeuvre and genre-transcendent style entirely his own over the course of a career spanning a near half-century. Though he has not found the Top 40 acclaim of certain compatriots, the greater profoundness of Tom Waits is not lost upon a certain audience as an "iconic alternative figure, not just to the fans who'd grown up with him but to subsequent generations of music geeks..., universally acknowledged as an elder statesman of 'alternative' rock" who is, along with Hopper, adds biographer Patrick Humphries, "one of the two great depicters of American isolation."

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