Blue Valentine (album)

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Blue Valentine
Studio album by
ReleasedSeptember 5, 1978 (1978-09-05)
RecordedJuly 24–August 26, 1978
StudioFilmways/Heider Recording, Hollywood, California
ProducerBones Howe
Tom Waits chronology
Foreign Affairs
Blue Valentine
Heartattack and Vine
Singles from Blue Valentine
  1. "Somewhere"
    Released: August 1978

Blue Valentine is the sixth studio album by singer and songwriter Tom Waits, released on September 5, 1978 on Asylum Records.[1] It was recorded over the course of six sessions from July to August 1978 with producer Bones Howe. Rickie Lee Jones is pictured with Waits on the back cover.


Blue Valentine was recorded in six sessions from July 24 to August 26, 1978 at Filmways/Heider Recording, Hollywood, California. Production was by Bones Howe, with second engineers Geoff Howe and Ralph Osborne. Disc mastering was by Terry Dunavan.

All the songs were written by Tom Waits apart from the opening track, "Somewhere", from the Leonard Bernstein and Stephen Sondheim musical West Side Story.

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Christgau's Record GuideB[3]
Classic Rock7/10[4]
Record Mirror[8]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide[9]

Don Shewey of Rolling Stone found that Blue Valentine "is as solid a record as Waits has made", and that its best songs "rank high among the sentimental sagas that contain Tom Waits' strongest writing."[11] Reviewing in Christgau's Record Guide: Rock Albums of the Seventies (1981), Robert Christgau wrote that "Waits keeps getting weirder and good for him. As sheer sendup, his 'Somewhere' beats Sid Vicious's 'My Way' his way. But I'm not always sure he understands his gift—these lyrics should be funnier. And 'Romeo Is Bleeding,' easily my favorite among his Chandleroid sagas of tragedy outside the law, is more effective on the jacket than when he underlines its emotional resonance in song. That's not weird at all."[3]

Track listing[edit]

All tracks written by Tom Waits, except where noted.

Side one

1."Somewhere" (From West Side Story)music: Leonard Bernstein; lyrics: Stephen Sondheim3:53
2."Red Shoes by the Drugstore" 3:14
3."Christmas Card from a Hooker in Minneapolis" 4:33
4."Romeo Is Bleeding" 4:52
5."$29.00" 8:15

Side two

1."Wrong Side of the Road"5:14
2."Whistlin' Past the Graveyard"3:17
3."Kentucky Avenue"4:49
4."A Sweet Little Bullet from a Pretty Blue Gun"5:36
5."Blue Valentines"5:49



Chart (1978) Peak
Australia (Kent Music Report)[13] 42


  1. ^ "Releases". Anti-. p. 1. Archived from the original on March 8, 2018. Retrieved March 6, 2018.
  2. ^ Ruhlmann, William. "Blue Valentine – Tom Waits". AllMusic. Retrieved October 24, 2020.
  3. ^ a b Christgau, Robert (1981). "W". Christgau's Record Guide: Rock Albums of the Seventies. Ticknor and Fields. ISBN 0-89919-026-X. Retrieved March 21, 2019 – via
  4. ^ Johnston, Emma (May 2018). "Tom Waits: Reissues". Classic Rock. No. 248. p. 98.
  5. ^ "Tom Waits: Blue Valentine". Mojo. No. 200. July 2010. p. 76.
  6. ^ Deusner, Stephen M. (March 24, 2018). "Tom Waits: The Asylum Era". Pitchfork. Retrieved March 24, 2018.
  7. ^ "Tom Waits: Blue Valentine". Q. No. 73. October 1992. p. 101.
  8. ^ Hall, Philip (December 15, 1978). "Tom Waits: Blue Valentine". Record Mirror. p. 15.
  9. ^ Coleman, Mark; Scoppa, Bud (2004). "Tom Waits". In Brackett, Nathan; Hoard, Christian (eds.). The New Rolling Stone Album Guide (4th ed.). Simon & Schuster. pp. 854–55. ISBN 0-7432-0169-8.
  10. ^ Gill, Andy (December 2011). "What Is He Building in There..?". Uncut. No. 175. pp. 52–53.
  11. ^ Shewey, Don (March 22, 1979). "Blue Valentine". Rolling Stone. Retrieved October 24, 2020.
  12. ^ Hoskyns, Barney (2010). Lowside of the Road: A Life of Tom Waits. Random House. p. 208. ISBN 978-0-7679-2709-3.
  13. ^ Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992 (illustrated ed.). St Ives, N.S.W.: Australian Chart Book. p. 331. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.