Foreign Affairs is the fourth studio album by Tom Waits, released in 1977 on Elektra Entertainment. It was produced by Bones Howe, and featured Bette Midler singing a duet with Waits on “I Never Talk to Strangers”.
Pictured on the cover with Waits is a Native American woman named Marsheila Cockrell, who worked at the box office of The Troubadour in Los Angeles. “She was a girl who was… not a girlfriend but she thought she was a girlfriend.”
For the album cover Waits wanted to convey the film-noir mood that coloured so many of the songs. Veteran Hollywood portraitist George Hurrell was hired to shoot Waits, both alone and in a clutch with a shadowy female whose ring-encrusted right hand clamped a passport to his chest. The back-cover shot of Tom was particularly good, casting him as a slicked-back hoodlum—half matinee idol, half hair-trigger psychopath. The inner sleeve depicted the soused singer clawing at the keys of his Tropicana upright.