Rhino Factoids: Tom Waits

Thursday, April 10, 2014
Rhino Factoids: Tom Waits

Hey, kids, remember Salsa Rio Doritos? They had a decent run back in the ‘90s, went away for several years, and then staged a brief comeback in 2012. Why did they leave in the first place? Well, we don’t know this for a fact, but we’ve always suspected that it because they went into hiding to wait for the heat to die down from that whole Tom Waits soundalike thing.

What’s that? You don’t know about the Tom Waits soundalike thing? Oh, boy, have we got a story for you…

If you don’t have time to watch the video, here’s the nutshell summary: Frito-Lay asked Tom Waits to do a commercial for Salsa Rio Doritos, and when he declined, they decided to hire someone who sounded just like Tom Waits, which – as you might imagine – the actual Tom Waits got kind of pissed off about it, resulting in him filing a lawsuit against Frito-Lay for “voice misappropriation and false endorsement.” Oh, and if you were wondering what led us to suddenly talk about this today, it’s because the trial kicked off 22 years ago today.

You can gorge on all the gory legal details of the case by clicking here, but all you really need to know in the long run is that, after much discussion about the differences between “voice” and “style” and the definition of “distinctive” and “widely known,” Waits walked away victorious. Just to be on the safe side, though, we wanted to make absolutely, positively certain that you know Tom Waits’ voice when you hear it, so we put together this playlist of the best of his Elektra-era work.