The Eagles might have covered his song "Ol' 55," but Tom Waits was cut from a different cloth than California's other singer-songwriters--he suggested a scruffy beat poet who'd walked out of a forgotten scene of Jack Kerouac's On the Road
. Waits's beatnik schtick could get old, and he developed into a much more musically adventurous songwriter in later years, but his second album contains some of his best early work, including the sweet romantic blues of "New Coat of Paint" ("You wear a dress baby, I'll wear a tie"), and his best hipster recitation, "Diamonds on My Windshield." Two songs are enduring classics: the doleful, dirge-like "San Diego Serenade" ("Never saw the morning till I stayed up all night") and the touchingly sweet "(Looking for) The Heart of Saturday Night" ("Stoppin' on the red, goin' on the green, `cause tonight'll be like nothin' that you've ever seen"). --John Milward
Rolling Stone included this 1974 LP in their "500 Greatest Albums of All Time" in admiration of its bewitching blend of after-hours hipster jazz, ageless acoustic- piano songs and intimate introductions to the lonely "ghosts of Saturday night." The song of that title joins New Coat of Paint; Shiver Me Timbers; Diamonds on My Windshield; (Looking for) The Heart of Saturday Night; Semi Suite , and more of his early best!