About 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.

Oddly, 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. It is located at 2880 Broadway in New York City.

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 four 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.

Tom’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
Lyrics  © Suzanne Vega

Did you like this? Share it:




Tags


Pop Culture Madness Network News

  • September 15 in Pop Culture History
    September 15 in Pop Culture History 1949 – The Lone Ranger premiered on ABC-TV, starring Clayton Moore. 1959 – Soviet Premier Khrushchev arrived in the U.S. for an unprecedented visit. 1962 – #1 Hit September 15, 1962 – October 19, 1962: The Four Seasons – Sherry 1963 – A church bombing in Birmingham, Alabama, killed […]
  • Wills vs Trusts Which Do You Need?
    What Are Wills and Trusts and Which Do You Need? Everyone has heard the terms “wills” and “trusts,” but not everyone knows the differences between the two. Both are useful when planning your estate (such as for elder members of your family) that serve different purposes, and both can work together to create a complete […]
  • The Saturn Awards Announces 2019 Winners For Film, TV, Streaming And Home Entertainment
    Winners for the 45th annual Saturn Awards, honoring motion picture, television, home entertainment and live stage productions, were announced today at an exciting ceremony hosted by Aisha Tyler at the historic Avalon Theater in Hollywood and streamed across 8 online platforms. Leading the way with 6 Saturn Award wins was Marvel/Walt Disney Studio’s Avengers: Endgame which took home […]
  • New Teaser Revealed For Castle Rock Season Two
    Check out the first teaser for the new season of Hulu Original Castle Rock. Season two stars Lizzy Caplan, Tim Robbins, Paul Sparks, Yusra Warsama, Barkhad Abdi, Elsie Fisher and Matthew Alan. Castle Rock premieres Wednesday, Oct. 23, only on Hulu. Sy... Pop Culture Madness Network News.
  • September 14 in Pop Culture History
    September 14 in Pop Culture History 1752 – Yesterday was September 2nd, in Great Britain and the American Colonies, but with the switchover from the Julian to Gregorian calendar, it became September 14 in all of western civilization. 1814 – Francis Scott Key wrote The Star Spangled Banner which later became the United States’ national […]
  • Eddie Money, Seminal Rock Singer, Dead At 70
    (TRR) – Seminal rock singer Eddie Money has died, as first reported by Variety. The “Two Tickets To Paradise” vocalist recently revealed that he had been diagnosed with Stage 4 esophageal cancer. He was 70 years old. “The Money Family regrets to announce that Eddie passed away peacefully early this… Continue reading The post Eddie […]
  • Even More Friends 25 Celebrations! ‘The One Back In Vegas’
    Fly, drive, take a train, or even a cross-country road trip via taxi (like Phoebe & Joey in her Yellow Cab) to Las Vegas for a one-of-a-kind Friends 25th Anniversary celebration in the Entertainment Capital of the World, October 18–19. Warner Bros. Television Group joins AT&T and MGM Resorts International to offer fans a phenomenal Friends 25th Vegas takeover in all its glory, […]
  • AMC Reveals Eighth Week Of TWD X Reveals With New Footage
    In the ten weeks leading up to the Season 10 premiere of The Walking Dead on Sunday, October 6 at 9pm ET/8pm CT, AMC will reveal information on the new season across TWD social platforms – photos, videos and never-before-seen content. Today, AMC has released the latest video spot, “End of the World.” The video features new footage from […]
  • John Lithgow Cast In The Pilot Of FX’s ‘The Old Man’
    The pilot of the FX drama series The Old Man continues to load up on talent with the addition of John Lithgow and director Jon Watts, it was announced today by Nick Grad and Gina Balian, Presidents, Original Programming, FX Entertainment. Lithgow will star alongside Jeff Bridges in the pilot, which begins production this fall under the […]
  • Cult Series ‘Dark Shadows’ May Be Getting A Reboot On The CW
    Rumor has it that The CW and Warner Bros. Television are in the process of developing a new series based on the classic 60’s cult series “Dark Shadows”. There is no word on just how the new series will differ for the classic series which blended together elements of a soap opera and comedy. It […]
Loading...