Innocent When You Dream (1987) – Tom Waits

Innocent When You Dream is the second song here from Tom Wait’s 10th studio album Franks Wild Years. If anyone wanted to find out what an imaginative composer Tom Waits is, in style presentation and substance, then look no further than this song. I like what someone said about this song at songmeanings: ‘this song will be playing while my friends & family inebriate themselves around my casket.’

Running through the graveyard
We laughed my friends and I
We swore we’d be together
Until the day we died
Until the day we died

It’s such a sad old feeling
The fields are soft and green
It’s memories that I’m stealing
But you’re innocent when you dream
When you dream
You’re innocent when you dream

Apart from the polyphony minstrel performance, the lyrics really struck me. It seems to be about dying alone with regret. The song was used as the soundtrack to the closing sequence, Auggie Wren’s Christmas Story, in the 1995 film, Smoke.

Barry Pomeroy at his web site wrote about Waits 80’s transition in music:

The piano-playing hard-drinking and smoking Waits of The Heart of Saturday Night and Nighthawks at the Diner settled down into the much stranger magician and carnival roustabout of the eighties. Drawing upon three-penny opera, vaudeville, classic blues and industrial music, Waits began to experiment with non-traditional instruments, bagpipes, marimba, pump organs, and odd percussive “instruments” such as brake drums, a damaged Chamberlin, and a Stroh violin.

1. Innocent When You Dream (song) – Wikipedia
2. Innocent When You Dream: Narrative in Tom Waits’ Songs – Barry Pomeroy

“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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2 comments on “Innocent When You Dream (1987) – Tom Waits
  1. this song will be playing while my friends & family inebriate themselves around my casket! I didn’t know this at all!!

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