Tom Waits' Asylum Years On Vinyl


After signing with Asylum in the early 1970s, Tom Waits recorded a series of acclaimed albums whose noir tales about the after-midnight underworld transformed the seedy into the sublime in songs laced with both dark humor and profound longing. Nearly 40 years and several musical evolutions later, Waits’ Asylum years still hold a special place in the hearts of many fans.

Rhino will celebrate Waits this December by reissuing the singer-songwriter’s first four Asylum albums on vinyl. CLOSING TIME, THE HEART OF SATURDAY NIGHT, NIGHTHAWKS AT THE DINER and SMALL CHANGE will be presented on 180-gram heavy vinyl and packaged with their original artwork. The LPs are being pressed at RTI with mastering supervised by Gavin Lurssen. All four will be released December 21 at retail outlets, including Limited edition 180-gram red vinyl versions of each release will be sold exclusively at and are available for pre-order now. Each of these red vinyl pressings will be limited to 1000 copies. NIGHTHAWKS AT THE DINER, a double-LP, will be available for a suggested list price of $34.98 ($37.99 for limited edition) while the other three will be available for $24.98 each ($26.99 for limited editions).

Waits’ debut CLOSING TIME arrived in 1973 when the singer-songwriter was 23 years old. A number of artists covered songs from the album, starting a trend that would continue throughout Waits’ career. “Martha” was recorded by Tim Buckley and frequently performed by Bette Midler, while the Eagles recorded a version of “Ol’ ‘55” for the band’s 1974 album On The Border.

After touring with several artists including Frank Zappa, Waits returned the following year with THE HEART OF SATURDAY NIGHT. Bones Howe produced the album and would go on to produce Waits’ next five albums with Asylum. The album was included in Rolling Stone‘s list of the “500 Greatest Albums of All Time.”

For his third release, NIGHTHAWKS AT THE DINER (1975), Waits recorded a double album of new music live in front of an audience at the Record Plant Studios in Los Angeles. The album features Waits setting up many songs by telling the stories behind them, a practice that remains an integral part of his live show to this day. Waits recorded this record with a jazz combo consisting of Mike Melvoin (piano), Pete Christlieb (tenor sax), Jim Hughart (bass) and Bill Goodwin (drums).

Released in 1976, Waits recorded SMALL CHANGE at Wally Heider’s studio in Hollywood. The album opens with “Tom Traubert’s Blues,” one of the singer’s most enduring songs, and features memorable cuts such as “I Wish I Was In New Orleans,” “Bad Liver And A Broken Heart” and “The Piano Has Been Drinking (Not Me).”


Side One
1. “Ol’ ’55”
2. “I Hope That I Don’t Fall In Love With You”
3. “Virginia Avenue”
4. “Old Shoes (& Picture Postcards)”
5. “Midnight Lullaby”
6. “Martha”

Side Two
1. “Rosie”
2. “Lonely”
3. “Ice Cream Man”
4. “Little Trip To Heaven (On The Wings Of Your Love)”
5. “Grapefruit Moon”
6. “Closing Time”


Side One
1. “A New Coat Of Paint”
2. “San Diego Serenade”
3. “Semi Suite”
4. “Shiver Me Timbers”
5. “Diamonds On My Windshield”
6. “(Looking for) The Heart of Saturday Night”

Side Two
1. “Fumblin’ With The Blues”
2. “Please Call Me, Baby”
3. “Depot, Depot”
4. “Drunk On The Moon”
5. “The Ghosts Of Saturday Night (After Hours At Napoleone’s Pizza House)”


Side One
1. (Opening Intro)
2. “Emotional Weather Report”
3. (Intro)
4. “On A Foggy Night”
5. (Intro)
6. “Eggs And Sausage (In A Cadillac With Susan Michelson)”

Side Two
1. (Intro)
2. “Better Off Without A Wife”
3. “Nighthawk Postcards (From Easy Street)”

Side Three
1. (Intro)
2. “Warm Beer And Cold Women”
3. (Intro)
4. “Putnam County”
5. “Spare Parts I (A Nocturnal Emission)”

Side Four
1. “Nobody”
2. (Intro)
3. “Big Joe And Phantom 309”
4. “Spare Parts II And Closing”


Side One
1. “Tom Traubert’s Blues (Four Sheets To The Wind In Copenhagen)”
2. “Step Right Up”
3. “Jitterbug Boy (Sharing a Curbstone with Chuck E. Weiss, Robert Marchese, Paul Body and the Mug and Artie)”
4. “I Wish I Was In New Orleans (In The Ninth Ward)”
5. “The Piano Has Been Drinking (Not Me) (An Evening With Pete King)”

Side Two
1. “Invitation To The Blues”
2. “Pasties And A G-String (At The Two O’Clock Club)”
3. “Bad Liver And A Broken Heart (In Lowell)”
4. “The One That Got Away”
5. “Small Change (Got Rained On With His Own .38)”
6. “I Can’t Wait To Get Off Work (And See My Baby On Montgomery Avenue)”

For additional information regarding CLOSING TIME, THE HEART OF SATURDAY NIGHT, NIGHTHAWKS AT THE DINER and SMALL CHANGE please contact Jason Elzy in Rhino Entertainment’s Media Relations Department at (818) 238-6220 or