Meaning of the Song Eggs and Sausage (In a Cadillac with Susan Michelson)” by Tom Waits

What does “Eggs and Sausage (In a Cadillac with Susan Michelson)” by Tom Waits Mean?

Tom Waits, known for his raspy voice and distinctive blend of jazz, blues, and vaudeville, presents a unique narrative in “Eggs and Sausage (In a Cadillac with Susan Michelson).” This song, part of his album “Nighthawks at the Diner,” captures the essence of Waits’ storytelling ability, blending the mundane with the profound. The song is more than a simple melody; it’s a snapshot of American life, filled with symbolism and deeper meanings. In this article, we’ll explore the lyrics, the thematic content, and the cultural context of this intriguing piece.

The Context of the Song

Released in 1975, “Eggs and Sausage” arrives in the midst of America’s post-war cultural shift. The song reflects a slice of urban life, seen through the lens of a late-night diner experience. This setting is crucial as it represents a crossroads of American society – a place where different stories and lives intersect. Tom Waits himself, often associated with images of the down-and-out and the bohemian, uses this backdrop to explore deeper themes of longing, connection, and the search for meaning.

Lyrical Meaning & Analysis

The lyrics of “Eggs and Sausage” paint a vivid picture of an all-night diner scene. The song’s title itself, mentioning eggs and sausage and a Cadillac with Susan Michelson, sets a tone of casual, everyday luxury. Waits’ imagery-rich lyrics are filled with references to classic Americana, from jukeboxes to neon lights, creating a nostalgic and somewhat melancholic atmosphere.

Susan Michelson, mentioned in the title, remains an enigmatic figure throughout the song. Her presence adds a layer of personal intimacy and mystery, making the song not just a story about a place, but also about a personal moment, possibly hinting at a fleeting connection or a missed opportunity.

Thematic Content

At its core, “Eggs and Sausage” explores themes of loneliness and the search for connection in the modern world. The diner, open late at night, becomes a refuge for those seeking comfort in the small pleasures of life – like a warm meal. Waits’ portrayal of these simple joys against the backdrop of urban isolation highlights a poignant contrast between the need for connection and the reality of solitude.

Furthermore, the song delves into the concept of American nostalgia and the idealization of the past. The references to quintessential elements of American culture evoke a sense of longing for simpler times, perhaps suggesting a critique of contemporary societal changes and the increasing alienation in urban landscapes.

Cultural and Social Significance

“Eggs and Sausage” holds a special place in American music for its portrayal of a unique cultural experience. The song reflects the diversity of American society, especially in urban settings, where diners often serve as melting pots of different social and ethnic backgrounds.

Tom Waits’ storytelling through song is an essential part of his artistic identity, and “Eggs and Sausage” exemplifies his ability to transform ordinary experiences into compelling narratives. His use of vivid imagery and emotional undertones connects with listeners on a personal level, making his songs relatable and profound.


In conclusion, “Eggs and Sausage (In a Cadillac with Susan Michelson)” by Tom Waits is a masterful blend of storytelling and songwriting that captures a specific aspect of American life. The song goes beyond its diner setting to explore themes of loneliness, nostalgia, and the human desire for connection. Through his unique voice and lyrical prowess, Waits turns a simple meal into a rich narrative, filled with emotion and meaning. The song remains a significant piece in Waits’ discography, resonating with audiences for its authentic portrayal of life’s simpler yet profound moments.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the primary theme of “Eggs and Sausage (In a Cadillac with Susan Michelson)” by Tom Waits?

The primary theme is the exploration of urban loneliness and the search for connection, set against the backdrop of an all-night diner.

Who is Susan Michelson in the context of the song?

Susan Michelson is an enigmatic figure in the song, representing a personal moment or connection, adding depth and mystery to the narrative.

Why does Tom Waits use a diner setting in the song?

The diner represents a crossroads of American society, a place where different stories intersect, highlighting themes of loneliness and nostalgia.

What does the mention of ‘eggs and sausage’ symbolize in the song?

‘Eggs and sausage’ symbolize the small, everyday pleasures and comforts people seek in moments of solitude or reflection.

How does the song reflect on American culture?

The song reflects on American culture by evoking nostalgia for classic Americana and critiquing the growing sense of alienation in modern urban life.

Is there a specific historical context relevant to “Eggs and Sausage”?

Released in the 1970s, the song mirrors the cultural and societal changes of post-war America, especially in urban settings.

What makes Tom Waits’ storytelling in this song unique?

Waits’ use of vivid imagery and emotional depth transforms a simple diner scene into a compelling narrative about human experience.

Does the song convey a sense of nostalgia?

Yes, it conveys nostalgia through references to elements of classic Americana, suggesting a longing for simpler, bygone times.

How does “Eggs and Sausage” connect with its audience?

The song connects with its audience by portraying relatable themes like the search for comfort and meaning in everyday experiences.

What role does the urban landscape play in the song?

The urban landscape in the song serves as a backdrop that amplifies feelings of isolation and the desire for human connection in a modern city.

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