Famous Bipolar People


An American singer, Thomas Alan Waits was born in Pomono, California on December 7, 1949. Tom is known for his distinct voice that has been described as sounding as if it was soaked in bourbon, left to dry and then run over by a car. Aside from his singing career, Tom was also a composer, songwriter and actor. His style of music was also distinct, he played blues, jazz, rock music and vaudeville, in his own way. Tom was once nominated for the Academy Awards. His popularity was accelerated by other artists who perform his tracks.

Tom learned to play the piano by himself, and often practiced with a neighbor’s piano. His love for music developed when he was taken on trips to music with his father. On such trips, he listened to Mexican ballads on the radio in the car. Tom played for a band while in High School at Hilltop High School. Five years later whiles working at a nightclub as a doorman, he witnessed various artists perform. There, he developed his own style of music that combines monologue with songs.


Tom worked with the Coast Guard for a while and then started his performances, performing in The Troubadour in Los Angeles on Monday nights. At the age of 21, Tom signed up with Herb Cohen, where he recorded a series of demos. These demo tracks were however released only after 20 years. He then signed up with Asylum Records, where he had lots of recordings, which were stopped before completion. In 1973 however, Tom released his first album, Closing Time, which received good reviews but did not make him popular yet. He left for Island Records from Asylum records where he released Swordfishthombones, which made a positive impact on his musical career. He played less common instruments like bassoon, marimba, percussion and pump organs in this album.

He began a theatrical career by being featured in “The Black Rider: The Casting of the Magic Bullets”. From then on, he produced soundtracks of many movies. He solely composed the instrumental music tracks for the film Night on Earth. Tom subsequently released other albums.


Tom Waits is known to have suffered bipolar disorder. At a point, he took to heavy drinking as he was trying to cure his depressive moods. He confessed being sick the whole period during his road shows. In reaction to his mood swings, he recorded the song “Small Change”. This song portrays a pessimistic and cynical mood. He also composed other songs like “The Piano Has Been Drinking” and “Bad Liver and a Broken Heart” to portray his moods. Heavy drinking has been adopted by many manic depressives trying to deal with their depression, but it mostly only leads to addiction. Many also argue that his strong personality and aggressiveness is as a result of the bipolar disorder he suffered.


Tom married Kathleen Brennan, who is a screenwriter. Tom generated a lot of controversies for his many lawsuits brought up against advertisers. Tom refused to grant permission to advertising firms to use his tracks in their advertisement claiming it is the lowest reward one can ever receive for his work. He sued Frito Lay and Adam Opel AG for using his sound-a-likes in their advertisement.