Buy Used
£6.29
+ £2.80 UK delivery
Used: Good | Details
Condition: Used: Good
Comment: A slight tan to the page edges. Over 6 Million items sold. Fast dispatch and delivery. Excellent Customer Feedback. Over 6 Million items sold. Fast dispatch and delivery. Excellent Customer Feedback.
Have one to sell?
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See this image

Lowside of the Road: A Life of Tom Waits Hardcover – 5 Mar 2009

4.2 out of 5 stars 29 customer reviews

See all 13 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price
New from Used from
Kindle Edition
"Please retry"
Hardcover
"Please retry"
£20.00 £6.00

Man Booker International Prize 2017
A Horse Walks Into a Bar has won the Man Booker International Prize 2017. Learn more
click to open popover

Special offers and product promotions


What other items do customers buy after viewing this item?

Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.

  • Apple
  • Android
  • Windows Phone

To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.



Product details

  • Hardcover: 640 pages
  • Publisher: Faber and Faber (5 Mar. 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0571235522
  • ISBN-13: 978-0571235520
  • Product Dimensions: 16 x 5 x 24 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 275,526 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • If you are a seller for this product, would you like to suggest updates through seller support?

Product description

Review

Comprehensive and judicious... [Waits] could not have found a more respectful, sympathetic and knowledgeable biographer if he'd chosen him himself. -- Mick Brown, Word Magazine

Hoskyns admirably sifts through the yarns and misinformation to deliver an engrossing portrait. ... -- Terry Staunton, Classic Rock

Just about the most absorbing satisfying and (whisper it) important biography of a modern artist that I can recall reading. Absolutely outstanding. -- Danny Baker

Meticulous... wonderfully insightful about songs and their origin... [Hoskyns'] piecing together of Waits' formative years... is a serious piece of investigative work. -- Tim Adams, The Observer

[An] engrossing, compendiously detailed biography... much enlivened by colorful anecdote and fastidious scrutiny of the formidable body of work Waits has accumulated. -- Allan Jones, Uncut

Review

Comprehensive and judicious... [Waits] could not have found a more respectful, sympathetic and knowledgeable biographer if he'd chosen him himself.

See all Product description

Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
Share your thoughts with other customers

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
As a long-time admirer of Tom Waits' work, without being an obsessive fan, I enjoyed this book because of its subject matter. Waits is one of the very few genuine originals in modern music, and on reading the book I was inspired to fill up the few gaps in my CD collection (One from the Heart which I had not known existed, and The Black Rider which I had, wrongly, assumed would just be too scary).

The problem with the book lies with Barney Hoskyns' response to his lack of personal access to Waits. Hoskyns is a competent music journalist and, having done some solid background research, makes a good job of setting Wait's music in the context of his unsettled upbringing and early adult experiences in 60s and 70s southern California. In particular the influence on his song writing of Waits' relationship to his semi-absent alcoholic father (Frank!) is very plausibly traced.

The difficulties start when the book gets to the period round about 1980 when Waits marries, changes record label and embarks on one of the most extraordinary reinventions in music. Because Hoskyns has no access to Waits the man, and much less than previously to his friends and collaborators, the book morphs into an extended record review, where we learn much more about the author's tastes and opinions than about the subject of the book. We discover that Hoskyns is basically a "Blue Valentine" rather than a "Frank's Wild Years" Tom Waits fan, and we are now down to questions of opinion. So while I, for example, would agree about the brilliance of Bone Machine, I feel that he has overrated Mule Variations and sadly misjudged the exquisite Alice and the radical Real Gone. This is all fun in a way, but I felt I learned little from the second half of the book.

Until we get an authorised biography, or even better a personal memoire (it won't ever happen), this will have to do, but it can't be more than 3 stars.
Comment 2 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
bargain,fast delivery
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Barney Hoskyns begins his 500 page biography of Tom Waits with a prologue. In it he explains how much Waits, and his wife Kathleen Brennan, loathe people enquiring about their lives - and how they had tried to prevent Hoskyns writing this book. He also describes Waits' deep conviction that truth is very overrated - and how Waits deliberately created confusion and mystique about his past.

It's a fascinating set-up, and one might expect it would be followed by a revealing account of Hoskyn's much impeded search for the elusively real Tom Waits. Disappointingly this is far from the case. Instead what we get is a meticulous, chronological account of every documented Waits move and comment, every song and every performance.

For Waits fans this thoroughness makes Hoskyn's book a must-buy. It is like a text book for those who want to enrol in the University of Waits. And once completed it acts as an excellent reference book: the tiresome precision with which Hoskyns describes every single track on every single album comes into its own if one wants to look up a particular song.

But it also gives the book a pedantry and small-mindedness that Waits himself would despise; and one can almost feel Hoskyn's self-consciousness that he himself knows this would be the case, but he just cant stop himself from sharing every last fragment of Waitsabilia.

For that we should in some ways be grateful. For instance, I had no idea before reading this book how unsuccessful Waits perceived himself to be until very late into his career - and inded how little esteem he was held in by his original record label, Asylum. Nor did I know just how much Waits seemed to regard his life as a piece of performance in its own right.
Read more ›
1 Comment 37 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Hardcover
Barney Hoskyns must of had his work cut out for him. As any Tom Waits fan would know, the great man is a fiercely private individual, ever since his union with wife and collaborator Kathleen he has staunchly defended the anonymity of his private and family lives. Hoskyns' introduction to this very unauthorised biography primarily deals with the problem of trying to tap into the life and times of Waits, and the hostile reception he received from the various characters who were asked to contribute. The Waits/Brennan circle of trust are rightfully loyal to the wishes of their friends, in which they do not approve of any work prying into their lives, which is frustrating for fans of Tom who want to know more about their hero. Waits has always defended himself against this reluctance of public info with the old showbiz notion of leave 'em wanting more.
Despite this tricky task in front of him, Hoskyns' manages to acquire two significant sources of information (amongst others) that were supposedly banished from Waits' circle of trust, his producer of all his Asylum era albums Bones Howe, and saxophonist Ralph Carney who worked on every album from Rain Dogs to Mule Variations, as well as touring with Waits. They are the two biggest names to assist Hoskyns' in his quest, with great insights and stories, and are accompanied by a cluster of other names who come forward with their memories of the man. All in all, Hoskyns' biography is fantastic, truly fascinating and builds a great story of Tom's background and road to success, taking in his early boho days to his infamous time living in the Tropicana motel, all through his 80s musical left-turn with Brennan by his side and various film and theatrical works, mainly with Jim Jarmusch and Robert Wilson.
Read more ›
Comment 6 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse

Most Recent Customer Reviews