Tom Waits’ Letterman Tribute

David Letterman retired from his 33-year-plus career hosting late night television last night. One of his best guests through the years was Tom Waits, who usually showed a flair for comedy that he did not often display anywhere else. (The sad fact is that not many television shows have requested Tom Waits to appear at all, much less bring whatever object or idea that had sparked some comic possibilities in his brain.)

Out of Letterman’s 6000-plus shows, Waits appeared on only 10, whether or not he had a new album or tour or play or film to advertise. Last week, he appeared for the last time and debuted a song that keeps lingering with me, “Take One Last Look.” He directed it as a tribute to Mr. Letterman and was accompanied by Larry Taylor (once of Canned Heat) on upright bass and Gabriel Donohue on piano accordion, with the horn section of the CBS Orchestra helping on the choruses.

On his website, Waits joked, “I don’t know when I will see Dave again. I guess from now on we’ll have to settle for bumping into each other at Pilates.”
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