American singer-songwriter Warren Zevon would have been 62 years old today.
Zevon was known for his dark, skeptically humorous songs.His most popular compositions include "Werewolves of London", "Lawyers, Guns and Money", "Roland the Headless Thompson Gunner" and "Johnny Strikes Up The Band".
Zevon's excessive vodka intake earned him the nickname "F. Scott Fitzevon," a reference to the American novelist F. Scott Fitzgerald, whose early, alcohol-fueled death Zevon seemed bent on repeating.
Warren Zevon released his breakthrough album, Excitable Boy, in 1978.The title song was about a juvenile sociopath's murderous prom night.
In 1982, after the disappointing commercial reception for his album The Envoy (which critics had called brilliant), Warren was dropped by his record label, which he discovered when he read about it in the Random Notes gossip column of Rolling Stone. The trauma caused him to relapse into serious alcoholism.Zevon retreated from the music business for several years, during which he finally overcame severe alcohol and drug addictions.
It was during this period that Zevon collaborated with Bill Berry, Peter Buck and Mike Mills (R.E.M.) to form a loose side project called Hindu Love Gods.
Occasionally, between 1982 and 2001, Zevon filled in for Paul Shaffer as bandleader on Late Night with David Letterman and later The Late Show with David Letterman.
Zevon described a lifelong phobia of doctors and said he seldom received medical assessment. Shortly before playing at the Edmonton Folk Festival in 2002, he started feeling dizzy and developed a chronic cough. After a long period of untreated illness and pain, Zevon was encouraged by his dentist to see a physician; when he did so he was diagnosed with inoperable mesothelioma (the same cancer that killed Steve McQueen).
Warren Zevon died on September 7, 2003, aged 56, at his home in Los Angeles, California.
In the player below, is a performance Live at Wheeler Opera House in Aspen, CO. (March 6, 1994)
Lawyers, Guns and Money
Why Can't This Be Love?
Banter and Dr. Babyhead intro
Things To Do In Denver When You're Dead
Heartache Spoken Here
Boom Boom Mancini
Johnny Strikes Up the Band
Play It All Night Long
Desperados Under the Eaves [banter]
Jole Blon [bamter]
Instrumental intro to... >
Poor Poor Pitiful Me >
I'll Feel A Whole Lot Better
The Indifference of Heaven
[banter] Seminole Bingo
Roland Chorale >
Roland the Headless Thompson Gunner
Applause > banter
Mr. Bad Example
Werewolves of London >
Download full concert
More live Warren Zevon here.