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Closing Time [CD]

Tom WaitsAudio CD
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (170 customer reviews)

Price: $9.21 & FREE Shipping on orders over $35. Details
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MP3 Music, 12 Songs, 1990 $9.49  
Audio CD, CD, 1990 $9.21  
Vinyl, 2010 $21.68  

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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
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Closing Time + Heart of Saturday Night + Small Change
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (October 12, 1990)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: CD
  • Label: Elektra / Wea
  • ASIN: B000002GYR
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (170 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #8,441 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Ol' '55
2. I Hope That I Don't Fall In Love With You
3. Virginia Avenue
4. Old Shoes (& Picture Postcards)
5. Midnight Lullaby
6. Martha
7. Rosie
8. Lonely
9. Ice Cream Man
10. Little Trip To Heaven (On The Wings Of Your Love)
11. Grapefruit Moon
12. Closing Time

Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Millions of spellbound witnesses to Tom's nocturnal visions were born with the 1973 release of Closing Time. Ol' 55 (covered by the Eagles) joins the heartbroken Martha ; the muted trumpets of Virginia Avenue; Midnight Lullaby , and the album-closing title track; the vintage bounce of Ice Cream Man ; the gentle acoustic folk of I Hope That I Don't Fall in Love with You , and more from the top of an utterly unparalleled singer-songwriter career!

It starts with a sunrise, it ends with "one star shining," and in between Closing Time contains an honest year's worth (1973, to be exact) of sweet, melodic, vintage Tom Waits--minus some of the vocal growl and thematic grit of his later stuff (but you can see it coming). Waltzes, lullabies, blues, jazz, you name it. Driving songs and drinking songs, even an honest to gosh country tune: "Rosie." There are torchers ("Lonely"), scorchers ("Ice Cream Man"), and back-porch senior citizen love songs ("Martha"): "Those were the days of roses/Poetry and prose, and/Martha, all I had was you and all you had was me." Other standouts are "I Hope That I Don't Fall in Love with You" (guess what--he does!) and "Grapefruit Moon," in which Waits croons: "Every time I hear that melody, something breaks inside." Hang on to your hearts and hats, folks. --Dan Leone

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
49 of 50 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A booze-soaked love letter February 12, 2000
Format:Audio CD
It's 2:00am and that bottle of Jack is paying you back, whispering loneliness. You think back to the girl you once loved - the girl you lost. You know you shouldn't think of her, but it's as if the memory itself is what drives you.
Tom Waits gave us a nice collection of tunes with this album. "Martha" is beautiful. "Lonely" is what it is. It's funny... Mention Tom Waits to most people, and - if they even know who he is - they'll just see him as this Charles Bukowski guy with a hoarse voice. The early Tom Waits gave us some of the most beautiful ballads. He paints a picture that few (Springsteen, Nick Cave are the only ones that come to mind) could ever rival. His work is infused with poetic grace; his is a drunken ode to melancholy.
This album, like "Frank's Wild Years", is a perfect introduction to his music. Check it out...
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68 of 73 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Tom's Early Masterpiece October 18, 2004
Format:Audio CD
This is the album for all those who think they hate Tom Waits. Perhaps his most easily accessible album, Closing Time is a tour-de-force for anyone who's had their heart broken and lived the ensuing days (months, years . . . ) in a bar. The lyrics display Waits' way with words (too many "w's" there, I know) and wedding them (whoops!) together with music that is as perfect a fit as Goethe is to Schubert. Anyone who doesn't get a bit teary at "I hope that I don't fall in love with you" - or "Rosie" must have ice coursing through their veins.
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75 of 84 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Timeless April 23, 2001
Format:Audio CD
This great, great album, arguably the best of Waits career, has been in my Top 10 since the day I first heard it. If anything, it has edged higher up my personal chart as the years have gone by.
Once upon a time it was a great late night drinking album, one my friends and I would listen to on cassette while driving from DC to Baltimore and back on a Saturday night. Later, during a phase I'll only mysteriously hint at, because that will give me a cool, artistic aura that drives chicks crazy, it was a late night drinking LP for me and me alone. Still later, it was a great CD to sing along to as I tried to get my newborn son to sleep. He still likes these songs.
There is so much great music here that I won't even waste your time with a track-by-track review. My personal favorites are "Old Shoes(& Picture Postcards" and "Grapefruit Moon," but this is a near-perfect record, from open to close. Anyone who saw Bette Midler's teary version of "Martha" on Saturday Night Live a few generations ago could see the effect Waits songwriting had on his L.A. contemporaries.
By the way, Waits version of "Ol' 55" proves that the Eagles, who covered it on their first LP, could kill even the greatest of tunes.
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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Piano didn't start drinking yet. December 16, 2004
Format:Audio CD
I am one of those listeners who don't believe drug abuse and alcoholic behaviors an artist make. Just as I think Billy Holiday and Janis Joplins early recordings when their voice weren't ravaged with drinking are sublime, I think Tom Waits first album is up there as one of his best (if NOT the best).

Closing Time is an amazing album when you consider the time period that it was recorded. It has a different sound to everything else that was going on and a very intimate, un-slick production feel.

His voice, while gravely, is incredibly strong and also sweet-not the raspy "cool" Tom Waits we know today. While not a hugely experimental (by today's standards CDs) album, it has a dark beauty that reminds me of Leonard Cohen and Nick Drake. This is a man who FEELS, people, and yes, is actually terrified to show it!

I first started listening to this CD after a late night shift while it was dark and raining. When the first piano chords came in over the speakers, I knew I was in for something incredibly different. A genuine story teller with a gift for portraying intimate stories in way that becomes humanely universal, the soft horns and fade outs add to this atmospheric album. I honestly felt like I had stumbled onto a chain-smoking failing musician who was playing his demons out onto the piano in a church basement. At times overwhelming and romantically depressing, sometimes I am shocked that Tom Waits is around today.

His other albums are powerful as well, but there is something special about the intimacy and fully-fleshed feel of his first album. I personally suggest you listen to it late at night while looking out of a window into a rainy city block.
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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wow, how didn't I get into this before? May 30, 2006
Format:Audio CD
Having gotten into Waits through his experimental avant-garde albums (Bone Machine was my first taste of him), I was a little disappointed when I heard his 70s era music. It wasn't what I was expecting, nor was it the sort of music I tended to listen to anyway. The combination of blues, jazz with his own unique twist simply didn't quite click for me. However, having not listened to any Waits in quite a long time, I threw on this album on a whim and couldn't believe what I was hearing. How had I dismissed such great music before? Was I mad or deaf or both?

Yes, Closing Time is a truly remarkable album. Soulful, tuneful and driving, it's simply chock full of great, memorable songs. His voice is the most accessible I've heard it. No growling or deep falsetto (if you've heard some of his stranger stuff you know what I mean by that) here, just his unique sounding crooning. While it may not be as off the wall as later material, it's every bit as expressive. The album is largely vocal and piano driven, with drums, guitars, strings and saxophone joining in when appropriate. The overall mood is somewhat somber though some tracks are a little more upbeat (such as Ice Cream Man).

Listening to this album late at night has almost drawn me to tears. It's incredible. If you're looking to get into early era Waits, you have to have it.
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