The inimitable singer-songwriter-musician-showman Tom Waits was born on this day in 1949. Waits’ trademark gravelly voice—once described by critic Daniel Durchholz as sounding “like it was soaked in a vat of bourbon, left hanging in the smokehouse for a few months, and then taken outside and run over with a car”—and solid thumb technique are worthy of celebration in this acoustic performance of “Downtown Train” filmed in 1986 at the Sanremo Music Festival in Italy.

Happy birthday, Tom!


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