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Blue Valentine

Tom WaitsAudio CD
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (50 customer reviews)

Price: $11.85 & FREE Shipping on orders over $35. Details
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Amazon Price New from Used from
Audio CD, 1990 $11.85  
Vinyl, Import, 1996 $43.53  
Audio Cassette, 1987 --  

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Image of album by Tom Waits


Image of Tom Waits


Tom Waits and Keith Richards from SON OF ROGUES GALLERY


Tom Waits, according to the esteemed American critic Robert Hilburn, is “clearly one of the most important figures of the modern pop era.” Such sentiments are not mere hyperbole; in a career that now spans four decades and over 20 albums, Tom Waits has emerged as an extraordinary innovative force, a singular voice whose music remains determinedly—and even ... Read more in Amazon's Tom Waits Store

Visit Amazon's Tom Waits Store
for 108 albums, 7 photos, videos, and 1 full streaming song.

Frequently Bought Together

Blue Valentine + Closing Time + Small Change
Price for all three: $29.81

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  • Closing Time $7.98
  • Small Change $9.98

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Product Details

  • Audio CD (May 11, 1990)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Elektra / Wea
  • ASIN: B000002GWJ
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (50 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #16,953 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Somewhere
2. Red Shoes By The Drugstore
3. Christmas Card From A Hooker In Minneapolis
4. Romeo Is Bleeding
5. $29.00
6. Wrong Side Of The Road
7. Whistlin' Past The Graveyard
8. Kentucky Avenue
9. A Sweet Little Bullet From A Pretty Blue Gun
10. Blue Valentines

Editorial Reviews

More hard-boiled tales from Tom Waits, who manages to sing lines like "Everyone I know is either dead or in prison" in a raw, whiskey-soaked rasp that sounds both comical and deadly serious. Waits doesn't break any new creative ground here, but continues to refine his down-and-out ham-and-egger persona. It's booze and broads, sex and violence, laughs and heartbreak. This 1978 album opens with an astonishingly desperate version of "Somewhere" (from "West Side Story"), performed like Louie Armstrong with a migraine. From there it's the usual Waits mix of crackpot wordplay and the cocktail lounge jazz likes of "Romeo Is Bleeding." --Steve Appleford

Product Description

Tom expanded the imagery in his songs and the instrumental palette for his tracks on this 1978 LP, giving his fans a new favorite album. He growls Christmas Card from a Hooker in Minneapolis; Whistlin' Past the Graveyard , and more!

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
55 of 55 people found the following review helpful
Format:Audio CD
Tom Waits has had a career in music that is mercurial at best. His 1973 debut CLOSING TIME was probably the closest he got to recording a tried-and-true singer-songwriter album, but the follow-up, 1974's HEART OF SATURDAY NIGHT, proved that, lyrically at least, Tom was beginning to make changes that would drastically alter his sound & image. It was a slow process, but by 1978's BLUE VALENTINE, the fruits of that change were starting to show. Tom's voice was just beginning to get more edgy & his lyrics were starting to go off into other dimensions altogether. Yet there was still melody high up in the mix, making BLUE VALENTINE a good way to ease into the more experimental stuff.

I was shocked as well as anyone when I heard the album open with "Somewhere" from WEST SIDE STORY. But it's the voice that sings it, an early example of gravel-voiced Waits that at first jars the listener, then suddenly sounds natural. Definitely the most original interpretation of this song!

Furthermore, the imagery in Tom's lyrics was getting more & more unique. Titles like "Red Shoes By The Drugstore", "Christmas Card From A Hooker In Minneapolis", "Whistlin' Past The Graveyard" & "A Little Bullet From A Pretty Blue Gun" with words to match are proof that Tom was on the road to a different musical journey that would both leave longtime listeners behind & welcome even more newer ones. In fact, this is the album that turned me into a Tom Waits fan.

For those still floored by Tom's sudden musical change of heart, there were songs like "Romeo Is Bleeding", "Kentucky Avenue" & "Blue Valentines", which were still musically close to Waits' earlier work, but the lyrics were showing signs of evolution. They should probably listen with caution to "$29.
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34 of 36 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Work that Requires No Introduction January 8, 2002
Format:Audio CD
When my father, a longtime Tom Waits fan, first gave me the album "Small Change" about five years ago, I don't think I listened to it for any more than two minutes before turning it off. I didn't get what I wanted from the music, and I didn't have time to sit around waiting. I returned to Tom Waits a few years later, and have since found myself with a new addiction that only grows stronger the more I listen.
"Blue Valentine" is an album that evokes more emotion from me than I can easily state. From the tender opening strings of 'Somewhere' to the solo guitar notes and final almost whimper from Waits himself on 'Blue Valentines,' there is never a dull moment. The combination of Waits' voice (and some playing, primarily on guitar and piano) and the other music on the album creates an atmosphere that is simultaneously brash, angry, agressive, and still innocent, timid, and loving.
The imagery interwoven throughout the lyrics on the album are undoubtedly a huge portion of the reason that I love this music as much as I do. On top of that, however, is the manner in which the songs and their messages connect on some strange level. The colour blue is present everywhere, and serves to unify all these feelings on the album.
No matter what time of day, no matter what my mood, no matter what the weather, I can always find something in this recording that I can relate to. Since my second exposure to Tom Waits (which is the one that got me hooked) I've had trouble choosing one album as my absolute favourite. While others may have highlights that I can particularly appreciate, more often than not I find myself settling down with "Blue Valentine" spinning away in the stereo. A classic, timeless, near perfect recording.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Possibly Wait's 70's peak August 30, 2005
Format:Audio CD
I'm not the type who gives 5 stars to any above-average album that tickles my fancy. It's just I usually only review albums that are special to me. Hence, I am reviewing this. It's great. He hit something here, it was a sort of pro album if you get me. As great as they were, the albums before this sounded a bit like a new guy trying very hard to get that sound he had in his head on to tape, whereas on Blue Valentine he sounds like a natural. Sounds just like he's been doing this for decades and he just got a few musicians and popped into a studio and nailed a classic Waits album. The same goes for Heartattack And Vine. He was really getting into this style.

The vibe is top-class. Late-night metropolitan sleazebags, junkies, hookers, winos. It's all there. You can hear the neon-lit signs in that vibraphone-type of instrument in Red Shoes By The Drugstore. There is great maudlin romance and sentimentality in cuts like Kentucky Avenue and the title track, and, in my opinion, Christmas Card From Minneapolis is quite possibly a contender for the greatest song ever written. So much colour, power, passion, character. Great stuff. And of course, to give it that natural feel there are some great blues numbers that just flow and, although they don't strike you as being amazing, they are just as important as the other tunes. Listen to '28$' or 'Whistlin' Past The Graveyard' a few times, soon you won't be able to imagine the record without them. Oh, I almost forgot, his cover of 'Somewhere' is quite excellent, too.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars so worth looking back January 22, 2006
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
First off, I'm a Tom Waits junkie. So if I appear slightly biased, it's because I am.

I have been acquiring all the Tom Waits music I can and have everything that's available. Since I had most of the songs on this cd on other cds, I had passed this one by. What a mistake! If the only song on the cd was "Kentucky Avenue" it would be well worth the cost and the effort. This song sung by someone else, without the voice and the sincerity of Mr. Waits might have sounded like a cheap effort to bring on the tears, but his delivery is so touching I feel like I'm eavesdroping on a special and private conversation. It's a story really of what would seem to be a 9 year old or so talking to a friend, sharing gossip and making big plans. The love and tenderness being shown by one friend to another is devestating. It goes beyond touching the listener's heart, and goes straight to the listener's soul.

The same goes for "$29 and an Alligator Purse", "Blue Valentine" -- there's not a bad song in the bunch. The background music is some of the best blues ever played.

I can't imagine anyone buying this cd and being dissappointed with it.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Get ready
I love it because I love Tom Waits. Especially good on this is "Somewhere". If you don't like Tom Waits you haven't listened to him. Read more
Published 3 months ago by C. A. Bergman
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb early album
Probably the pinnacle of the early Tom Waits albums. His gritty voice and lyrics with beautiful tunes and piano. All sad to the core. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Kim R. Shearer
5.0 out of 5 stars tom waits the one and only
I had never heard this album before. It is very funky ---there are not many melodies but with Tom Waits what else is new?
Published 5 months ago by Susan G.
5.0 out of 5 stars My Favorite Tom Waits album
I got into Tom Waits with his album "Big Time" many many years ago. Its only recently that I have gone back to his old stuff. This has to be my favorite album. Read more
Published 8 months ago by Afridi
5.0 out of 5 stars Tom Waits at His Best
No one makes the seedy underworld come alive like Tom Waits. He paints the tragic side of life with a loving and knowing hand.
Published 18 months ago by John Flanagan
5.0 out of 5 stars really?
sorry, im not a music critic, cant talk about the instrumentals or composition. its just tom waits. never disappoints me
Published 19 months ago by lynda smith
5.0 out of 5 stars Tom Waits--Blue Valentine
Wonderful music from a master composer and vocalist. One of the greatest singer-song writers of all time. Ranks close to Dylan.
Published 21 months ago by J. Humphrey
5.0 out of 5 stars The man who swallowed a frog, croaks up a decent album of torch songs
In 1980 someone whose pants I desperately wanted visitation rights to instead gave me this. They were married. It would never have worked. Read more
Published 23 months ago by "Belgo Geordie"
5.0 out of 5 stars In awe
Mr black magic's tongue hisses the devils blues again.

Listen to "Wrong side of the road" and you can die knowing you have heard the best blues song possibly written
Published on July 12, 2012 by Mark Opala
5.0 out of 5 stars genuis at work
A very good album. It is well produced, the songs are well writtten and sung in a personal
unique style with an excellent musical accompanyment.
Published on April 8, 2012 by Nancy L. Bisconti
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