2. Tom Waits
To the untrained ear, a Tom Waits song may sound like a drunken wino jabbering over bizarre outsider music. But anyone who listens for more than a few seconds will quickly hear the genius. Tom Waits has never played by the rules. He made much of his best music in the mid Eighties. It was the height of terrible production standards, yet records like Rain Dogs don't sound the least bit dated. Waits' music has a timeless quality. His voice has gotten even gruffer with age, and it certainly isn't for everybody, but that's part of his appeal. He makes music for an intensely devoted niche audience, never once trying to write a hit. We just wish that he'd tour more often. The world needs more Tom Waits.