Music of a Lifetime #12 - Suzanne Vega - "Tom's Diner"

In New York City, at 2880 Broadway, is a little establishment called Tom's Restaurant. Opened in the 1940's, it has been a favorite of the famous and the everyday citizen ever since but never more than starting in the 90's when it's facade was regularly seen as the fictitious Monk's Diner on Seinfeld.

A decade earlier, though, the restaurant had been immortalized in a "song" (more like a rhythm poem) by Suzanne Vega called Tom's Diner. Written in 1982, the original recording first appeared on a magazine sampler in 1984 and, three years later, became the opening track on Vega's album Solitude Standing.

In 1990, the British group DNA used Vega's original a capella version of the song and added instrumentation to give Vega her second hit (after "Luka").

A bit of trivia. Karlheinz Brandenbur used the original Vega track to test his MP3 technology on which he was working, saying that he wanted to make sure that the compression didn't detract from the warm tones of Vega's voice.


The original a capella version.


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