Tom’s Diner, by Suzanne Vega

Doo Doo Dooo Dooo Dooo Do Do Do Do Do Do…

The best songs are often observational, and Suzanne’s observations that rainy morning at Tom’s Diner tell so much more than the words indicate at our first listen. She tells us subtle details about her own life, the diner, it’s employees, it’s patrons. She has a job, or least somewhere to go after her shot of caffeine. The man pouring the coffee plays favorites, she tells us. She is trying to mind her own business, but her eyes wander inside and outside the goings-on in Tom’s Diner.

The original song is much softer than the D.N.A. Remix (video above) that was a Top Ten hit in 1990. It is also the backbeat sound for Fall Out Boy’s 2014 Hit “Centuries,” heard on the Big Hero 6 soundtrack.

TomOddly, many of you have seen “Tom’s Diner”, or “Tom’s Restaurant” as Tom called it. It was the exterior shot of the diner that Jerry Seinfeld and friends ate at on the NBC TV show, although they called it Monk’s Café.

I open up the paper
there’s a story of an actor
who had died while he was drinking.
it was no one I had heard of

The actor who died was most likely William Holden. I can vouch for Suzanne here, very few people at age 22, in 1981, would have known who he was. The New York Post headlined the story of his death on November 18, 1981, although he died on the 16th.

As I’m listening to the bells
of the cathedral I am thinking
of your voice…

The church bells heard were from the Cathedral of Saint John the Divine, located just down the street.

Some sources say that Karlheinz Brandenburg, an mp3 pioneer, used the original a cappella track, with her pure voice, to fine tune the mp3 technology he was helping to create.

Back to the song – It is a world before Starbucks and designer coffees. Coffee was ‘black,’ or with cream; sugar or saccharin; large or small. On the train, we read the paper or took a nap. There were no Blackberries or iPods or cell phones designed to keep us in contact with our friends and associates – people were in their own little worlds..

Some aspects of her morning are timeless; an actor succumbs to his own self-destruction, the horoscope, the comics, the rain, the sounds in the city.

…and while she’s straightening her stockings
her hair as gotten wet.
Oh, this rain, it will continue
through the morning

The song was not written about a particular, actual day in her life –  it may or may not have been raining the day that the New York Post featured the headline about Mr. Holden’s passing. and the song was probably not written in a single day

Most of us are in our own little universe first thing in the morning. We never notice the guy or girl on the other side of the counter. We say hello, hand over some money, usually the exact change, as our daily routine requires, grunt goodbye and walk back out the door. Maybe if she got her full cup of coffee on a timely basis, we never would have known what happened, or didn’t happen, that morning. It is a song about nothing, and a little bit of everything.

The song is barely three decades old, but it captures a slice of life that may soon be forgotten, far better than a film or photograph ever could. Whether you are listening to the original, at just over two minutes, or the catchy remix at 3:47, or one of the many 12 inch variations, you can sense her detachment from the things she has observed in the diner. She is merely narrating what she saw in a melodic, almost sing-song way.

She doesn’t give us a clue about what was really on her mind until the last few lines of the song, but that’s another story.

tom1Tom’s Diner Lyrics
I am sitting in the morning
at the diner on the corner
I am waiting at the counter
for the man to pour the coffee And he fills it only halfway
And before I even argue,
he is looking out the window
at somebody coming in

“It is always nice to see you”
says the man behind the counter
to the woman who has come in
she is shaking her umbrella

and I look the other way
as they are kissing their hellos.
I’m pretending not to see them
instead I pour the milk.

I open up the paper
there’s a story of an actor
who had died while he was drinking.
it was no one I had heard of

And I’m turning to the horoscope
and looking for the funnies
when I’m feeling someone watching me
and so I raise my head

There’s a woman on the outside
looking inside.
Does she see me?

No she does not really see me
’cause she sees her own reflection
and I’m trying not to notice
that she’s hitching up her skirt

And while she’s straightening her stockings
her hair as gotten wet.
Oh, this rain, it will continue
through the morning

As I’m listening to the bells
of the cathedral I am thinking
of your voice…

and of the midnight picnic
once upon a time
Before the rain began…
I finish up my coffee
it’s time to catch the train…

Doo Doo Dooo Dooo Dooo Do Do Do Do Do Do

Share this with your friends!

Comments

comments


What Are You Looking For?

Follow Us on Facebook!

Recent Posts: Pop Culture Madness World News

1983 One Hit Wonders & Artists Known For One Song

1983 One Hit Wonders & Artists Known For One Song A Million Miles Away – The Plimsouls AEIOU Sometimes Y – EBN/OZN After I Cry Tonight – Lanier & Co All Touch – Rough Trade Bad, Bad Billy – Snuff Beg, Borrow or Steal – Hughes and Thrall Burning Heart – Vandenberg Canvas Of Life […]

1983 One Hit Wonders & Artists Known For One Song courtesy of Hot Pop Songs.

Continue reading

June 14 in Pop Culture History

14June 14

1158 – Munich (in what is now Germany) was founded by Henry the Lion on the banks of the river Isar.

1775 -The Continental Army was established by the Continental Congress, marking the birth of the United States …

June 14 in Pop Culture History was contributed by Pop Culture Fun Facts.

Continue reading

Born in 1983? Find Your Conception Song!

Born in 1983? Find Your Conception Song! Born in 1983? Check the date to find the # 1 song when you were conceived on that magical night, nine months ago! The average length of human gestation (Your ‘Conception Era’) is 280 days, or 40 weeks, from the first day of the woman’s last menstrual period. […]

Born in 1983? Find Your Conception Song! courtesy of Hot Pop Songs.

Continue reading

June 13 in Pop Culture History

13June 13
 

1373 – Anglo-Portuguese Alliance between England (succeeded by the United Kingdom) and Portugal is the oldest international agreement in the world which is still in force.

1525 – Ex-Catholic priest Martin Luther married Katharina von Bora, against …

June 13 in Pop Culture History was contributed by Pop Culture Fun Facts.

Continue reading

New York Bar Sets Up A Self-Service Beer ATM

(PCM) The Randolph Beer located in Brooklyn has come up with an ingenious way to save bartenders a lot to time and aggravation by installing a Beer ATM. The bar which is located in Williamburg, will now feature a wall showcasing a variety of craft beers that will be all self-service. Customers can pour their […]

The post New York Bar Sets Up A Self-Service Beer ATM appeared first on PCM Lifestyle.

Continue reading

Concert Review: Brian Setzer’s Rockabilly Riot! San Diego June 7, 2017

Words and photos by: Johnnie Crow (TRR) Brian Setzer’s Rockabilly Riot! kicked off on June 7, 2017 at the outdoor Humphrey’s By The Bay in San Diego, California. Set amongst the palm trees and sail boats of the San Diego Bay, Humphrey’s is the perfect intimate venue for experiencing high quality entertainment and this was no exception. Brian Setzer is celebrating the 35th anniversary of hitting it big with the Stray Cats Built for Speed album, for which he is most famously known. But his catalog is so much more than that, filled with songs inspired from the 1950’s, as well as some well known covers. On this tour, the orchestra … Continue reading

June 12 in Pop Culture History

12June 12

1790 – A ‘Red Globe’ was being reported by many people, flying over France.

1849 – A gas mask “inhaler or lung protector” was patented (#X006529) by Lewis Phectic Haslett of Louisville, Ky.

1899 (Tornado) New Richmond, Wisconsin…

June 12 in Pop Culture History was contributed by Pop Culture Fun Facts.

Continue reading

Would You Believe Some People Really Think Chocolate Milk Comes From Brown Cows?

(PCM) As hard as it is to believe, a recent study sadly reveals that an alarming number of individuals still believe that chocolate milk comes from actual brown cows. Seriously! One thousand Americans were surveyed by the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy and the results were absolutely shocking, as they learned that 48% of the […]

The post Would You Believe Some People Really Think Chocolate Milk Comes From Brown Cows? appeared first on a Myth.

Continue reading

June 11 in Pop Culture History

11June 11

323 BC – Alexander the Great died in the palace of Nebuchadnezzar II in Babylon.

1509 – Henry VIII of England married Catherine of Aragon.

1742 – Benjamin Franklin invented the Franklin stove. He chose not to patent …

June 11 in Pop Culture History was contributed by Pop Culture Fun Facts.

Continue reading

The Number One Hits Of 1982

The Number One Hits Of 1982: November 21, 1981 – January 29, 1982: Olivia Newton-John – Physical January 30, 1982 – February 5, 1982: Daryl Hall and John Oates – I Can’t Go for That (No Can Do) February 6, 1982 – March 19, 1982: The J. Geils Band – Centerfold March 20, 1982 – […]

The Number One Hits Of 1982 courtesy of Hot Pop Songs.

Continue reading

Loading...