Never mind that you can’t stand the alcohol-soaked voice of Tom Waits. The song is pure gold, no matter who sings it. Bruce Springsteen borrowed it, made millions, and if you’ve heard him first maybe you like Springsteen better; but he ain’t got a clue. The song belongs to Waits.
Here is a live-in-concert version, somewhere in Italy in 1986; and a second song, The Heart of Saturday Night, tags along. YouTube deleted a better recording of this performance of Jersey Girl, to my frustration.
Update: They deleted that one too (so what if it’s copyright infringement? This is art!). So here is a collage, with film clips from that concert, and with better audio because it’s a recording studio performance. A little smoother (if that’s possible for Waits) than his gutsy on-stage gig, but I’ll take the guts any day. Sorry.
Below is a second, more electric version by Waits. He does a little stand-up routine about the origin of the song before he gets into it. Tune in around the 3:50 mark for the music alone. Sorry, no Springsteen. The videos were that bad.
Next in the series: Monday.
First in the series: Suzanne by Leonard Cohen, with Judy Collins.