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The Tom Waits Map You Never Asked For But Desperately Need
January 27, 2014
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(Photo: PIERRE VERDY/AFP/Getty Images)

With a recording career that's spanned 40 years and appearances in everything from Francis Ford Coppola's The Outsiders to The Simpsons, Tom Waits has inspired has more than his share of completists and obsessive fans. This week, one of his fans took that to a whole new level. 

Jonas Nordstrom, a Swedish Waits superfan, has taken the time to catalogue every place name and geographical reference in every Waits song ever recorded. His findings are collected in the Tom Waits map of the World, with pins marking each place, along with the associated songs, albums and lyrics.

Judging by the map, Waits clearly spent most of his career cataloguing the United States, but there are a few remote references from Europe and Asia.  The closest he ever comes to Canada is the Niagara River (in "Home I'll Never Be" on 2006's Orphans, Waits sings: "cross the Mississippi / cross the Tennessee / cross the Niagara / home I'll never be").

And that's one of the more obvious references. Nordstrom, with some help from his Twitter followers and other online tipsters, also tracked down and marked some of Waits's more obscure allusions. There's a pin in midtown Manhattan for Waits's song "Union Square," for example, where he sings "Well they spill out of the Cinema 14/To that drag bar down the block." And there's a nod to Red's Recovery Room, a roadside tavern in Santa Rosa mentioned in the song "Filipino Box Spring Hog" from 1999's Mule Variations.

Every Sunday you can hear a Tom Waits track on The Strombo Show's Ten with Tom, but this map is a great excuse to dust off some old Tom Waits songs on a Monday afternoon. 

Via Atlantic Cities


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