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John Hammond

David Burke, R2/Rock'n'Reel, November 2007

TOM WAITS owes it all to his wife, Kathleen Brennan. The one-time raggedy man and barfly, a sartorial amalgam of Frank Sinatra's Capitol covers, Be-Bop and Beat, whose booze-soaked ballads and epileptic jazz marked him out as a curio in the big-haired, spandex-trousered, innovatively barren '70s and '80s, was tumbling into parody and alcoholism until redeemed by the love of a good woman. What followed when he met Brennan, a scriptwriter at Francis Ford Coppola's Zoetrope Studios, was marriage, parenthood, sobriety and just about the most audacious body of work this side of Charlie Parker, John Coltrane, Miles Davis and Captain Beefheart.

Total word count of piece: 2223

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