10 Of The Best From Warren Zevon

10 Of The Best From Warren Zevon

Posted 28 Jul 2017

It wasn’t just “Werewolves of London” you know. For a man whose one hit single was a goofy novelty tune – albeit a fabulously salacious and looney and seriously rocking one – Warren Zevon was one great songwriter. In fact, by any definition, the guy was a genuine heavyweight.

In the late ‘60s, Zevon was a songwriter on the make, bumming around Hollywood trying to catch a break. He cut one record that no one has ever heard still, and ended up becoming the Everly Brothers’ musical director at a time when they were at each other’s throats. By the mid-‘70s though, he was hanging out with the likes of Jackson Browne and the Eagles, and Jackson, in particular, saw the talent there. He not only told David Geffen to sign him; he promised to produce his records. And this was when Jackson Browne ruled the roost.

Zevon’s first two albums for Asylum are stunners. The first, which was self-titled, failed to really sell, but on it, Linda Ronstadt found “Poor Poor Pitiful Me” which she rode up the charts. She would also record “Hasten Down The Wind”, “Mohammed’s Radio” and “Carmelita” from the album – all classics. As are “I’ll Sleep When I’m Dead”,  “Desperadoes Under The Eaves” and “Frank and Jesse James”.  The second album Excitable Boy featured not only the probably unexpected “Werewolves”, but also the title track, “Lawyers Guns & Money” and “Roland the Headless Thompson Gunner”. All are outrageously themed but supremely musical songs which no doubt would have appeared to the darkly humorous sensibilities of Warren’s pal, Hunter S. Thompson.  

More great records followed, right up to his last album The Wind, recorded after he’d received a diagnosis of terminal cancer and featuring guest spots from pals like Bruce Springsteen, Don Henley, Mick Fleetwood, Ry Cooder and of course Jackson Browne. If you haven’t had a good, deep listen to his stuff, we suggest you do so on Spotify by clicking here and immersing yourself.

For a quicker fix, ILYOS presents our Warren Zevon Top 10. It really should be a Top 20…

1. “Werewolves of London” 

2. “Lawyers, Guns and Money

3. “Accidentally Like A Martyr” 

4. “Desperados Under The Eaves” 

5. “Hasten Down The Wind” 

6. “Poor Poor Pitiful Me” 

7. “Excitable Boy” 

8. “The French Inhaler” 

9. “Roland the Headless Thompson Gunner” 

10. ”Carmelita” 

-DL

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