His growl is unmistakable, his gutter-dwelling characters unforgettable. To love Tom Waits is to commit to a cult. He's made nearly two dozen records, no two of which are remotely alike--and every time you think you know where they're headed, they take a sharp turn. He's a composer, actor, and monologuist, but first and foremost, he's the rare singer-songwriter who's been at once a visionary and a nostalgist. Whether the story is set against primal blues or modern industrial, you can count on feeling both romance and loathing, freneticism and melancholy. And nearly every one of the fifty-six songs on last year's Orphans collection proves that his songwriting is as enigmatic, and inspired, as ever.
Other inductees are Hubert Sumlin and The Stooges.