|Birth name||Warren William Zevon|
|Also known as||Sandy Zevon
|Born||January 24, 1947
|Died||September 7, 2003
Los Angeles, California,
|Genres||Rock, folk, Americana|
|Instruments||Vocals, guitar, piano, harmonica|
|Labels||White Whale Records (1965–1967)
Imperial Records (1969–1971)
Asylum Records (1976–1982)
Virgin Records (1987–1989)
Giant Records/Reprise/Warner Bros. Records (1991–1995)
Artemis Records/Koch Entertainment (2000–2003)
|Associated acts||Billy Bob Thornton
Hindu Love Gods
The Everly Brothers
Timothy B. Schmit
lyme and cybelle
Rock Bottom Remainders
Warren William Zevon (January 24, 1947–September 7, 2003) was an American rock singer-songwriter and musician known for including his strange and somewhat critical opinions of life in his lyrics (words to his music). He wrote a lot of songs that were funny and often talked about politics and history
Many famous musicians have said they liked Zevon's work, including Jackson Browne, Bruce Springsteen, Bob Dylan, and Neil Young. His most famous songs include "Werewolves of London", "Lawyers, Guns and Money", "Roland the Headless Thompson Gunner" and "Johnny Strikes Up The Band." All of these are from his third and most famous album: Excitable Boy (1978). Zevon has written a lot of songs that were recorded by other artists. These include "Poor Poor Pitiful Me" (a top 40 hit by Linda Ronstadt), "Accidentally Like a Martyr," "Mohammed's Radio," "Carmelita", and "Hasten Down the Wind".
Zevon sometimes recorded or sang cover songs. He liked to sing Bob Dylan's "Knockin' on Heaven's Door" and Leonard Cohen's "First We Take Manhattan". He was often a guest on Late Night with David Letterman and the Late Show with David Letterman. Letterman later sang with Zevon on "Hit Somebody! (The Hockey Song)" with Paul Shaffer and members of the CBS Orchestra.
He had a lot of problems in his life, including divorce, alcoholism, and suicide attempts. He also had a paranoia (fear) of doctors and this killed him: he did not know he had cancer until doctors could not help him.
Early life[change | edit source]
Zevon was born in Chicago, Illinois. His parents were to William Zevon, a Secular Jew and Beverly Cope Simmons, a Mormon from Salt Lake City, Utah. hey soon moved to Fresno, California. By the age of 13, Zevon sometimes visited Igor Stravinsky where he studied modern classical music. Zevon's parents divorced when he was 16 years old. After that, he quit high school and moved from Los Angeles to New York to become a folk singer.
Success[change | edit source]
In 1978, Zevon released the album Excitable Boy, which was very popular and sold many copies. Radio stations played his songs a lot, especially "Werewolves of London." "Werewolves of London" and "Excitable Boy" were both examples of black humor (jokes about bad things). The album also had the songs "Roland the Headless Thompson Gunner" and "Lawyers, Guns and Money," which were both deadpan humor songs about geopolitics.
Rolling Stone called the album one of the most important albums in the 1970s. They said that Neil Young, Jackson Browne, and Bruce Springsteen were four most important new artists to become well known in the 1970s.
After Excitable Boy Warren Zevon published Bad Luck Streak in Dancing School in 1980. This album had the only other song recorded by Zevon that reached the Billboard Top 100: "A Certain Girl." "A Certain Girl" is a rhythm and blues song written by Allen Toussaint.
This album was dedicated to Ken Millar, who calls himself "Ross Macdonald." Millar is a writer who writes mystery novels, and Zevon really liked Millar's stories. He met Millar in an intervention put together by the journalist Paul Nelson. For awhile this intervention helped Zevon not drink too much alcohol.
Cancer, death and The Wind[change | edit source]
Warren Zevon did not like to go to the doctor, and never went to one when he was an adult. Before playing at the Edmonton Folk Music Festival in 2002, he started feeling dizzy and started to have a chronic cough. When Zevon told his dentist his problems, his dentist said he should see a doctor. When he saw a doctor, the doctor told him that he had mesothelmia, which is a kind of cancer.
Warren Zevon did not want to get help if it might keep him from making music. So instead he started to make his final album. He had a lot of friends who helped him make the album, which he called The Wind. These friends included Bruce Springsteen, Don Henley, Jackson Browne, Timothy B. Schmit, Joe Walsh, David Lindley, Billy Bob Thornton, Emmylou Harris, Tom Petty, Dwight Yoakam, and others.
Discography[change | edit source]
Studio albums[change | edit source]
- Wanted Dead or Alive (Warren Zevon album)|Wanted Dead or Alive - 1969 - Initial release credited simply to "Zevon".
- Warren Zevon (album)|Warren Zevon - 1976
- Excitable Boy - 1978 (United States: Platinum)
- Bad Luck Streak in Dancing School - 1980
- The Envoy - 1982
- Sentimental Hygiene - 1987
- Transverse City - 1989
- Hindu Love Gods - 1990 - As a member of "Hindu Love Gods".
- Mr. Bad Example - 1991
- Mutineer - 1995
- Life'll Kill Ya - 2000
- My Ride's Here - 2002
- The Wind - 2003
Live albums[change | edit source]
- Stand in the Fire - 1980
- Learning to Flinch - 1993
Compilations[change | edit source]
- A Quiet Normal Life: The Best of Warren Zevon - 1986 (US: Gold)
- I'll Sleep When I'm Dead (An Anthology) - 1996
- Genius: The Best of Warren Zevon - 2002
- The First Sessions - 2003
- Reconsider Me: The Love Songs - 2006
- Preludes: Rare and Unreleased Recordings - 2007
References[change | edit source]
- Warren Zevon, I'll Sleep When I'm Dead: An Anthology (Artemis Records), liner notes.
Other websites[change | edit source]
|Wikiquote has a collection of quotations related to: Warren Zevon|
- Warren Zevon official site
- Warren Zevon official MySpace site
- Warren Zevon Wiki
- Warren Zevon live audio recordings at Archive.org
- Jordan Zevon's Official Site
- Warren Zevon at Rolling Stone
- Warren Zevon's personal archive at Human ArchivesQ
- Warren Zevon Find a Grave
- Dirty Life And Times
- Keep Me In Your Heart
- Warren Zevon at the Internet Movie Database