Tom Waits

1949 (Pomona, Calif.) –

Gravelly, uncompromising, oddball: Waits is a one-off. He said he knelt at the altar of Ray Charles for years, and once shook his hand at an airport. Richards, proposed as a dream collaborator, became a friend and played on several tracks. Bryars said an afternoon spent recording with him was as beautiful a musical experience as he could remember. Jarmusch, Coppola (a long-time friend) and Altman all cast him in films. He called Gilliam a man you’d want in the boat at the end of the world. Waits worked on three pieces with Wilson (one with Burroughs), and said nobody had affected him as much as an artist.