Tom Waits
Tom Waits | Photo by Rob Verhorst/Redferns

Tom Waits Announces 50th Anniversary Vinyl Reissue of Debut Album ‘Closing Time’

Tom Waits has announced a 50th-anniversary vinyl reissue in honour of his debut album Closing Time. The album celebrated its 50th birthday on Monday, 6th March 2023.

The double vinyl LP (cut at 45 RPM) will hit shelves on Friday, 2nd June, and is available to pre-order through Waits’ record label ANTI-. It’s the latest in a number of vinyl reissues for Waits, who celebrated the 20th anniversary of his albums Alice and Blood Money in 2022 in the same fashion.

Tom Waits: “Ol’ ’55”

Closing Time remains a highlight of Waits’ extensive back catalogue. Recorded at Sunset Sound studios in LA and released on Asylum Records in 1973, it contained two of his most recognisable songs in “Martha” and “Ol’ ’55”.

“Ol’ ’55” was covered by The Eagles a few years after it was released – a cover that Waits openly disliked. “I frankly was not that particularly crazy about their rendition of it,” Waits told radio station WAMU in 1975. “The song is about five years old, it’s one of the first songs I wrote, so I felt like it was kind of flattering that somebody wanted to do your song, but at the same time I thought their version was a little antiseptic.” 

In an interview with NME, Waits talked about his general dislike of The Eagles. “I don’t like The Eagles,” he said. “They’re about as exciting as watching paint dry… Their albums are good for keeping the dust off your turntable and that’s about all.”

There have been many more covers of Closing Time tracks over the past five decades. In 2021, Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy and violinist Andrew Bird helmed a Tom Waits tribute album that raised funds for the Chicago Independent Venue League. Howe Gelb of Giant Sand covered “Martha” for the release, while alt-country artist Rosie Flores took on “Ol’ ’55”.

Further Reading

Listen To Phoebe Bridgers’ Cover Tom Waits’ ‘Day After Tomorrow’

Phoebe Bridgers Covers Tom Waits With Blake Mills, Marcus Mumford

Tom Waits Praises Indigenous Choir’s Performance Of ‘Make It Rain’

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