Warren Zevon burst from the wellspring of 1970’s Southern California songwriters, artists such as Jackson Browne, J.D. Souther, Don Henly, Glenn Frey and others. But Zevon was a tad different; he was bitterer, funnier, darker, scarier and tenderer. He was an oxymoron of a writer, and we are better for it. He died at the age of 56 in 2003 but he left behind a treasure of work – you just have to find it.
Now you can easily uncover his ubiquitous “Werewolves of London” (a financial blessing but a creative curse because some people only remember him for this, so much so they think him a novelty writer) and the songs covered by other artists such as Linda Ronstadt . Her covers of “Poor Poor Pitiful Me”, “Mohammed’s Radio”, “Carmelita”, and “Hasten Down the Wind” are staples in her catalog.
But he was so much more, so much that I want you to hear some of his best but overlooked work and hopefully dig deeper into his work.
Desperados Under The Eaves
From his masterpiece album simply titled Warren Zevon, it is a cautionary tale of California life and its quest for success.
Accidentally Like A Martyr
A heartbreaking love song of days sliding by and love lost from his album Excitable Boy. One of his best.
Jeannie Needs A Shooter
From the album Bad Luck Streak In Dancing School and co-written with Bruce Springsteen, this song of love, lust and betrayal is a self contained Peckinpah Western. Brilliant.
From Transverse City, well this lyric says it all:
Michael Jackson in Disneyland
Don’t have to share it with nobody else
Lock the gates, Goofy, take my hand
And lead me through the World of Self
Keep Me In Your Heart
The last song on his last album, The Wind, was recorded as he battled terminal lung cancer. It is the last song of a short life and a fitting stone for his monument of work.
Note: Amazon has Zevon’s first five albums packaged in a box set for an amazingly low price, click here. I have no clue to how long this will be available but man it’s fantastic.