"And tell me, how long have you been combin' your hair with a wrench?"
July 8, 2013 10:42 AM   Subscribe

Though it became an epic flop and forced Francis Ford Coppola to declare bankruptcy, the 1982 musical One From the Heart (previously) did produce one hell of a soundtrack featuring the unlikely collaboration between Tom Waits and Crystal Gayle. Here's the story of how it all came together.

The 2003 DVD release featured some behind-the-scenes footage of Waits, Coppola and Gayle working on the album (Part One, Part Two).

And for those who wish to have a listen, here's the full album.
posted by AlonzoMosleyFBI (15 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite

While it may have been a commercial flop, OFtH is well worth one's time in viewing, just to see what Coppola could do in the genre of a studio soundstage musical. The eye candy is fantastic.
posted by Thorzdad at 10:55 AM on July 8, 2013 [1 favorite]

It was probably worth the one view on Netflix but I don't really need to see it again. It's one of those interesting experiments that don't really work. It is a great soundtrack though.
posted by octothorpe at 11:25 AM on July 8, 2013 [1 favorite]

I enjoyed reading the oral history, despite how hard it was to actually read.

Looks like you spent the night in a trench, and tell me
How long you been combing your hair with a wrench?

Tom Waits is a national treasure.
posted by mudpuppie at 11:28 AM on July 8, 2013

Tom Waits and Crystal Gayle singing together is like the perfect cocktail made from completely unlikely ingredients, like a mix of moonshine and Harvey's Bristol Cream Sherry. I love how they blend. People underrate Gayle as a singer, too. Technically amazing, as well as having that luxurious sonority. MMMMM good music.
posted by spitbull at 11:29 AM on July 8, 2013 [3 favorites]

Robert Hilburn (1999): "Waits moved to New York around 1980, partly to shed some of the hard-drinking L.A. habits, even enrolling in a fitness class. Smiling as he recalls an image from that period, he says, "I was running down the street to the Y to work out and I had a glass of alcohol in one hand, with some aluminum foil over it so it wouldn't spill, and a cigarette in the other hand,... and I realized I was kind of coming apart."


Great article. I vaguely remember the movie and have never heard the soundtrack. I will now.

posted by KevinSkomsvold at 11:29 AM on July 8, 2013

I love this album, probably my fav or Tom's obscure recordings.
posted by Cosine at 11:56 AM on July 8, 2013

One of my first introductions to Waits at all was actually Holly Cole's cover version of "Take Me Home" (a song from this soundtrack) which is just exquisitely beautiful. (Better than the original, IMHO.)
posted by dnash at 12:02 PM on July 8, 2013 [1 favorite]

The eye candy is fantastic.

I loved this movie for that alone -- for the sets alone, not to mention a lot of Teri Garr.
posted by y2karl at 2:48 PM on July 8, 2013 [2 favorites]

Waits' and Gayle's voices together are like sandpaper and glass, grinding a lens, with which to view the sublime...

I saw this film in it's rather brief first run way back. It's not for everyone, but it's something else.
posted by ovvl at 3:41 PM on July 8, 2013


That's the first time I'd read about that discontinuity in Waits' career, and where his wife fit into it, for some reason, even though it's always something I've wondered about, so thanks!
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 9:22 PM on July 8, 2013

Broken Bicycles remains one of my favourite Waits songs, something I really should learn for the piano.
posted by myopicman at 12:07 AM on July 9, 2013

It's one of those interesting experiments that don't really work.

My sense as well. I know some people love it, but it must be mostly the music.
posted by dhartung at 5:06 AM on July 9, 2013

If anyone is interested in doing a "failed modern musical" double feature, you could pair OFtH with Pennies From Heaven. The two films came out a mere year apart, and are both pretty interesting experiments in the musical genre. Pennies did far better at the box office, though it still wasn't anything close to a hit.
posted by Thorzdad at 5:15 AM on July 9, 2013 [1 favorite]

I know some people love it, but it must be mostly the music.

I beg to differ.
posted by y2karl at 9:03 AM on July 12, 2013

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