Hang Down Your Head (1985) – Tom Waits

Tom Waits, 1985 New York Photosession

Hang Down Your Head is the second song to feature here from Tom Waits’ highly acclaimed Rain Dogs record. The song is in the same vein as Tom Waits’ earlier work, featuring a more gentle and conventional melodic structure about lost-love. Allmusic critic Stewart Mason called the song “among the most direct and effective things Waits has ever written‘. I love the warmth of the guitar and other instrumentals which juxtaposes the sense of pain one hears in Tom’s voice as he languishes over a woman called Marie who he cared deeply about.

Tear the promise from my heart
Tear my heart today
You have found another
Baby, I must go away

Hang down your head for sorrow
Hang down your head for me
Hang down your head tomorrow
Hang down your head, Marie

The usual Tom style lyrics of dark imagery and story don’t exist here in this song in their usual way. But that should not be confused with something not up to the mark. The richness of language is vividly visible in the lyrics. The guitar lick is very jazzy. Overall a very good song. Vocalist Lucinda Williams recorded a version of the song for the soundtrack of the crime/drama series Crossing Jordan, released in 2003. 

Rain Dogs peaked at number 29 on the UK charts and number 188 on the US Billboard Top 200. In 1989, it was ranked number 21 on the Rolling Stone list of the “100 greatest albums of the 1980s.”

1. Hang Down Your Head – wikipedia

“The more I live, the more I learn. The more I learn, the more I realize, the less I know.”- Michel Legrand

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