Hell Broke Luce (2011) – Tom Waits

This is one of my favourite songs from Tom. He went into beast-mode on this track depicting the horrors of war. Someone wrote: ‘I listen to this every night before I go to sleep… Tom Waits voice scares all the nightmares away‘. The piece is a hauntingly surrealist illustration of its subject; a PTSD-ravaged war veteran Jeff Lucey, who committed suicide in 2004 at age 23. It was relayed by Tom almost word for word by the suicide note/poem found clutched in his hand.
Hell Broke Luce is the second song to feature here from Tom Wait’s Grammy nominated album – Bad as Me.

I had a good home but I left
I had a good home but I left, right, left
That big fucking bomb made me deaf, deaf
A Humvee mechanic put his Kevlar on wrong
I guarantee you’ll meet up with a suicide bomb
And Hell broke luce
Hell broke luce

The video of Hell Broke Luce below described by Waits as “an apocalyptic war dream,” is by Illustrator, photographer and director Matt Mahurin who is said to have created some of the most iconic images of contemporary American popular culture. “My work has always had an organic look,” Mahurin states.

1. Tom Waits update: Oh, so it was a video for ‘Hell Broke Luce’ – Los Angeles Times
2. ‘Hell Broke Luce:’ Bringing Tom Waits’ Apocalyptic War Dream to Life – Jennifer Wolfe

“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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Posted in Music
2 comments on “Hell Broke Luce (2011) – Tom Waits
  1. The song is as brutal and discordant as war itself.

    • Great description! I think it’s one of the most powerful protest war songs I’ve ever heard. The fact the words came from someone who lived, breathed and suffered from it, makes it all the more poignant. Waits is mesmerising here. Thanks for messaging as always Jeff. Always so appreciative.

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