Warren Zevon

Bordering on the demented, there no better way for me to end this month of musical conversation that to talk about Warren Zevon.

Like most people, my first experience with his music was with the song “Werewolves of London”.  But not being able to stop there, I went out and picked up the single.  Yes… the single that had the wolf on the red vinyl record with “Rolland the headless Thompson Gunner” on the B-Side.  Man… what I would give to still have that disk today!

I played that record until my mother threatened to use it as a Frisbee.  So I relented and only played it while she was away at work or out of the house in general.  I had other Zevon records and tapes, but that one always stood out to me as the best one.

Unfortunately for all of us Warren left us to cancer on September 7, 2003.  He was only 56 years old, which is still young by anyone’s standards.  In his case, however, it can be said that he met his death with honor and dignity.  He knew it was coming and made no efforts to seek sympathy.  He simply kept working on his music right up until the end.  This can be best seen by watching the last interview he gave with David Letterman in 2002, which you can find on YouTube.

The reason I started this article with the performers death is because I think that Warren is one of the more unsung players in music.  You really never hear people talk about his work that much and when they do play songs like “Rolland” and “Werewolves” many people have this look like ‘who’s that?’  That is not to say that he is not appreciated, of that there can be no doubt… but there is a lot of people out there that either do not know about him or have heard the music and do not know who the artist is.  That is unfortunate for him and them.

Zevon’s early musical career was pretty much unremarkable to most of us, but not unimportant as it led to the the advance of his style and eventual success in 1978.  With the release of Excitable Boy and the success of the Werewolves single, he became a much more well known name.  This was the point where I first heard his music, because the radio stations just could not seem to play enough of his songs.

It is hard for me to talk too much about the other music he released because I have not heard all his work.  I only have personal experience with three of his albums, but his musical legacy is so much stronger that just Excitable Boy, A Quiet Normal Life and Life will kill ya… these being the CDs that I have now… the first two records long since disappearing from my collection.

That is not to say that I do not have an opinion about the rest of his work.  I have heard several of his other works over the years, but the money has just not been there for me to go on the CD shopping spree that I would like to.  You see… as much as an audiophile as I am, I would go broke in no time if I were to buy all the CDs and Vinyl that I wanted.  There is just too much good music out there.

His last CD that was released was The Wind… which he was lucky enough to live long enough to see it released and become a success.

In all the interviews I ever saw of him and all the reading I have done to write the piece, I have learned much more that I really expected to about the man.  His image has changed in my mind… I no longer see him as the rebellious recluse that some had made him out to be.  I have found that he was more of the “Everyman’s Musician” in that he seemed to come off as the kind of person that had something in common with all of us.  When he talked, it was with a personality of a person who did not think of himself as any more important than the rest of us.

To me, his music was always fun, inspirational, singable and something that I am not sure anyone could find any fault with, and there really is no song I have heard by him that I did not like and there is still a lot out there for me to hear in all the CDs that I have not yet purchased.

I would like to thank all those that have joined me this last month on my personal trip through my musical favorites.  I especially would like to thank all those that participated in the conversations with advice and suggestions for my listening experience.  Your input was invaluable and what this site is all about.  I post my stories and articles to share, and this month I learned that there are people out there reading my work.

I thank you all.

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