September 09, 2003


Didn’t have the e-mail on for a few hours. Working on a couple of things. When I hooked it up, I saw as the loading subject lines flashed by -- between all the "Re: Wicked Screensaver" and "MR MUSA AHMED" -- these words:

Singer/songwriter Warren Zevon ...

And you know immediately what that means. I still remember exactly where I was in 1978 when I first heard Werewolves of London, and the day twenty years ago when I found a second-hand copy of Zevon’s earlier, self-titled, genius album, then no longer available new in Australia. Saw him play in Melbourne in ‘93; shared an elevator with him at the Democrat convention in LA in ‘99; drinking to him now.

UPDATE. It doesn’t help that this Press Association piece claims that Zevon was “best known for his collaborations with REM”. Please ...

Posted by Tim Blair at September 9, 2003 04:38 AM

I've had a year to get used to the fact Warren Zevon wouldn't be around for long, but I still feel so sad that he's gone. I bought "The Wind" last month and I've yet to make it thru the whole thing without crying. Great songs, and some truly beautiful love songs.

Maybe I skimmed the article too fast, but I didn't see Linda Ronstadt mentioned. Can't believe they left her out of those who covered his songs. I discovered Warren Zevon because of her version of "Hasten Down the Wind."

Posted by: Polly at September 9, 2003 at 04:51 AM

A sad day, truly. On my drive up to Sacramento today, the station played a great accoustic version of "Lawyers Guns and Money" - which I played at full volume and sang at the top of my lungs -- to the horror of fellow motorists.

He will be missed.

Posted by: Andrew at September 9, 2003 at 07:16 AM

They didn't mention Linda Ronstadt? That's like not mentioning Elvis among people who covered Arthur "Big Boy" Crudup songs. Certainly when I first discovered Zevon it was as the guy who did the real, original versions of Ronstadt songs. And that wasn't because I was a fan of hers, it's because it was about 1980 and she'd been one of the most played artists on radio for the previous few years. How quickly they forget.

Incidentally, the radio a few minutes ago was inexplicably playing Jackson Browne instead of holding Zevon's state funeral. It was for Warren that I drew my .44 and blasted the fucker.

Posted by: Mike G at September 9, 2003 at 08:24 AM

A great man. I rushed to the computer as soon as I read it in today's Hun. Adios Warren. And I quizzed the REM link too. Fvck REM!

Posted by: Tony.T at September 9, 2003 at 08:28 AM

Andrew, it should be California law to play Warren Zevon at full bore. And kill the Eagles.

Posted by: Tony.T at September 9, 2003 at 08:29 AM

"Werewolves of London" was a party staple during my high school days. Imagine my surprise and delight as a university student during a semester in England to see a billboard advertisement in the London Underground for Lee Ho Fook's in SoHo. I stood looking at it and laughing (no friggin' camera)...It was like seeing the actual Penny Lane or Strawberry Fields.

Warren Zevon will be missed.

Posted by: JDB at September 9, 2003 at 08:29 AM

By the way, far be it from me to praise either the New York Times or NPR, but they both have pretty good pieces (the NPR one probably won't be accessible online until tomorrow-- check the program listing for All Things Considered on 9/8).

Posted by: Mike G at September 9, 2003 at 08:50 AM

Came home from work today and the first thing I did was put on "Excitable Boy"

I wonder if Dave Letterman has a live show tonight. If so I'm sure the band will be playing Zevon.

Posted by: Rob at September 9, 2003 at 09:10 AM

america is the poorer, the whole world is the poorer.

excitable boy they all said.

sleep in peace Warren, there'll never be another yoouuuuuuu......

Posted by: chico o'farrill at September 9, 2003 at 10:59 AM

I only picked up a copy of "Sentimental Hygiene" a couple of weeks ago in a cheap bin, and finally listened to it on the weekend; the bugger was still a bloody good songwriter, and his delivery was still polished. I got a real hoot out of his early eighties stuff- I still laugh at a few lines. He had been around for years as well- someone was telling me recently that he used to write/produce doo-wop in the '60s. Why do all the boring and talentless dicks filling the airwaves seem to be impervious to disease, and all the interesting performers croak early?

Posted by: Habib Bickford at September 9, 2003 at 12:06 PM

Don't feel too bad about his early death, though it is one; as Zevon says in the NPR piece, "I lived like Jim Morrison, and then I lived another 30 years."

Posted by: Mike G at September 9, 2003 at 02:06 PM

I remember driving around America in 1990 and discovering to my increasing horror that Zevon had played each place I was visiting the day or week before.

I never quite caught up to him. Neither has the music world...

Posted by: Chambo at September 9, 2003 at 02:16 PM

These should fetch a smile:

Thanks anyway, no use hangin' around
You try to put the finishing touches on me

He's the keeper of the keys

He found him in Mombassa in a barroom drinking gin

I've got a Craftsman lathe
Show it to the children
When they misbehave

And home is just a place to hang your head
And dream up things to do in Denver when you're dead

And he bit the usherette's leg in the dark

He's the hairy-handed gent who ran amuck in Kent

Now I'm hiding in Honduras
I'm a desperate man

Well, it's tough to be somebody
And it's hard to keep from fallin' apart
Up here on Rehab Mountain
We gonna learn these things by heart

I opened up an agency somewhere down the line
To hire aboriginals to work the opal mines
But I attached their wages and took a whopping cut
And whisked away their workman's comp and pauperized the lot

Early in the morning I feel a chill
The factory whistle blows loud and clear
I'd kill my wife or she'd kill me
But we gotta go to work at the factory

Trouble waiting to happen
Teardrops ready to start

It's a dog's life
And it's not my fault
Ought to hang my picture
In the All-Time Losers'
Hall of Fame
Bad Karma
It's a low-down dirty shame

Posted by: slatts at September 9, 2003 at 03:26 PM

Slatts, you're a legend!

Posted by: Habib Bickford at September 9, 2003 at 04:12 PM

Except you left out: "Better watch out for him- He'll rip your lungs out, Jim; I'd love to meet his tailor."

Posted by: Habib Bickford at September 9, 2003 at 04:14 PM

Never has a line rolled off the tongue like
a little old lady got mutilated late last night...

Posted by: gmc at September 9, 2003 at 08:02 PM

Jackson Browne wasn't exactly inappropriate. They collaborated on several albums and I believe it was Jackson who rescued him from playing piano bars on the Costa in Spain. That was presumably the Jim Morrison period.

Posted by: Dave F at September 9, 2003 at 10:30 PM

Some have the speed and the right combinations
If you can't take the punches, it don't mean a thing

Hurry home early - hurry on home

Posted by: LB at September 10, 2003 at 12:58 AM

re: the station playing Jackson Browne

I know, that was what was so infuriating, they got that close to playing Zevon but settled for the much less edgy, easy-listening, MOR guy.

The radio had to pay.

Posted by: Mike G at September 10, 2003 at 01:08 AM

Hope he's in a place where he has access to all the lawyers, guns and money he needs :)

Posted by: Susan at September 10, 2003 at 03:41 AM