Warren Zevon! “Werewolves Of London!” Brilliant Letterman Final Appearance! Music’s “Mutineer!”

Werewolves of London Trader Vics

“I Saw A Werewolf Drinking A Pina Colada At Trader Vics…His Hair Was Perfect”

Thanks to Chet Phillips for this terrific image! Time to celebrate the Author of one of music’s most iconic lines – let’s hear it for Warren Zevon, the Singer/Songwriter of “Werewolves Of London”!

Warren-Zevon songs

Zevon’s work includes such classic songs as “Werewolves of London”, “Lawyers, Guns and Money”, “Poor Poor Pitiful Me”, “Tenderness On The Block” and “Reconsider Me.”

Warren Zevon Excitable Boy

“I saw a werewolf with a Chinese menu in his hand
Walkin’ through the streets of Soho in the rain
He was lookin’ for the place called Lee Ho Fooks
Gonna get a big dish of beef chow mein”

Let’s get right to it: here is the music video for his most famous song, the legendary “Werewolves Of London” from his “Excitable Boy” album:

“Excitable Boy” is a perfect album. Another song was also a big hit, known for very fun, inventive lyrics:

“I went home with a waitress…the way i always do
How was I to know she was with the Russians too?”

Warren_Zevon 1976

“Lawyers, Guns & Money!”

Here’s a great live version performed by Zevon from 1980:

warren-zevon-quote-send-lawyers-guns-and-money-the-shit-has-hit-the-fa

“Send Lawyers, guns and money, the shit has hit the fan!”

The “Excitable Boy” album is a masterpiece of pop rock, with intelligent lyrics and great melodies…one of his most beautiful songs from the album is this:


“Accidently Like A Martyr”:

The_Envoy_Warren_Zevon_album

Several other albums followed, but with less commercial success, and after the disappointing reception for “The Envoy”, Asylum Records dropped him from the label, which Zevon discovered only when he read about it in the “Random Notes” gossip column of Rolling Stone!

Warren Zevon Rolling Stone

Zevon re-emerged in 1987 on Virgin Records with the terrific album “Sentimental Hygiene”. The song “Bad Karma” featured R.E.M. lead singer Michael Stipe on backup vocals, and one of his best ballads is also featured, “Reconsider Me”.

warren_zevon-sentimental_hygiene

“Every night I come home exhausted
From trying to get along
I need some sentimental hygiene”

Here is the music video for “Sentimental Hygiene”, featuring a blistering guitar solo by Neil Young:

Warren Zevon Neil Young songs

In 1991, Zevon released “Mr. Bad Example”. This album featured the gorgeous pop hit “Searching for a Heart”, which was featured in the film “Grand Canyon.” Here is the music video:

Warren Zevon music

According to Wikipedia, Zevon felt dizzy before playing at the Edmonton Folk Music Festival in 2002, and was ultimately diagnosed with inoperable peritoneal mesothelioma (cancer of the abdominal lining that is associated with exposure to asbestos).

Warren Zevon The Wind

Zevon recorded his final album, “The Wind”, with guest appearances by close friends including Bruce Springsteen, Don Henley, Jackson Browne, Timothy B. Schmit, Joe Walsh, Billy Bob Thornton, Emmylou Harris, Tom Petty and Dwight Yoakam.

Here is his last song, “Keep Me In Your Heart”

Warren Zevon DAvid Letterman last performance

“Shadows are falling and I’m running out of breath
Keep me in your heart for awhile

If I leave you it doesn’t mean I love you any less
Keep me in your heart for awhile”

On October 30, 2002, Zevon was featured on the Late Show with David Letterman as the only guest for the entire hour. The band played “I’ll Sleep When I’m Dead” as his introduction. Zevon performed several songs and spoke about his illness.

Here is that interview with David Letterman:

Warren-Zevon-David-Letterman-Final-Appearance

One of Zevon’s most honest comments is when he admits, “I might have made a tactical error in not going to a physician for 20 years.”

RIP Warren Zevon

“Enjoy Every Sandwich!”

When asked by Letterman if he knew something more about life and death now, he offered his memorable insight on dying:

“Enjoy every sandwich.”

Warren Zevon on DAvid Letterman

In the green room after the show, Zevon presented Letterman with the guitar that he always used on the show, with a single request: “Here, I want you to have this, take good care of it.”

“Aint no room on board for the insincere”

After Zevon’s death, Letterman replayed the Singer’s “Mutineer”:

Warren Zevon died on September 7, 2003 at the age of 56. “The Wind” was a big hit, and Zevon received five posthumous Grammy nominations, including Song of the Year for the ballad “Keep Me in Your Heart”.

bruce springsteen warren zevon grammys

“The Wind” won two Grammys – for Best Contemporary Folk Album, and “Disorder in the House”, Zevon’s duet with Bruce Springsteen, won Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group With Vocal. These posthumous awards were the first Grammys of Zevon’s career.

Warren-Zevon songs

Put on any of his albums and you will be in for a treat – and equally great was how supportive David Letterman was to Zevon over the years…

Todd Rundgren David Letterman

Letterman also has supported Todd Rundgren as well, and here is a look at all of Todd’s appearances on the show over the years:


https://johnrieber.com/2015/05/05/todd-rundgren-goes-global-new-cd-todds-30-years-on-letterman-one-amazing-video/

Let me know your favorite Warren Zevon songs!

Warren Zevon Rolling Stone



Categories: 70's Music, Art, Awards, Books / Media, Classic Rock, Hollywood, Los Angeles, Memoirs, Music, Obscure Music, Talent/Celebrities, TV Show, Uncategorized

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9 replies

  1. What an extraordinary artist. What a tremendous gift to get the time to say goodbye and not waste it. All those colleagues and friends and family sharing these last minutes of a life prematurely ended. I lost it when I saw his face when sitting with his pregnant daughter. How ballsy to share that with us the world something so primal and private and painful and how moving. I can’t say I’m too familiar with his work but I love Roland the Headless Thomson Gunner, I can hear my Dad singing the refrain of Werewolves of London while listening to it on the car radio, it’s a tremendous goodbye song Keep Me In Your Heart For A While and then of course how can you not love Mutineer. Such meaty lyrics. Can’t Start It Like a Car, Can’t Stop It With A Gun and that was one of his softest songs Searchin For A Heart. I appreciate how thoughtfully you’ve put together the clips, photos and lyrics. Nicely done. I’m a big Letterman guy and on my post in the build-up to his retirement https://lloydmarken.wordpress.com/2015/05/18/when-legends-retire-david-letterman/ I wrote of the Zevon episode the following it moved me so much
    “David Letterman doesn’t lie. This is troublesome when he’s bored by someone you or the populace likes. Yet that brings its own reward. When at 67 years of age he bounds onto the stage and says the indie rock band playing was good you know he means it. When he introduces a guest as the very funny or the very talented it’s high praise.
    Not lying allowed him to interview Warren Zevon and not gloss over then fact that he was dying. Zevon is a musicians’ musician who amongst other hits wrote and performed Werewolves of London. But in 2002 when Dave has Zevon it’s fair to say he wasn’t the biggest star in the world. Long-time Letterman fans knew him thought from multiple appearances including sitting in for bandleader Paul Schaeffer. He devoted the whole show to him and me who didn’t know Zevon or their mutual history was mesmerised. “It’s lung cancer.” Zevon told him and David responded “That’s tough.” with a heartfelt grimace having gone through a quintuple bypass a couple of years earlier. Mortality was circling the now middle aged rock’n‘roll baby boomers.
    You can hear a pin drop in the clip as the audience goes deathly quiet. Zevon cracks wise throughout the interview and looks great if a little thin but does not shy away from what is happening. Death is a part of a life but seldom is it dealt with on television with such authenticity. It is here. Hear Dave’s voice crack when he tells “Stop it Paul” who is offering Warren to play the songs in any order. Warren Zevon performs three songs on the night and while his voice can’t quite ascend to its full range during the ballad Mutineer he is right on point throughout his last public performance. Looking over at his fellow musicians in recognition and thanks at the end of every song I am always moved by the concentration on every band member’s face as they nail the horn finale of Mutineer.
    During the interview Letterman asked Zevon if he knew anything about life that he did not know yet. Zevon answered “To enjoy every sandwich.” The sentiment is so simple and so profound it shows the similarity of their two sensibilities. At the end of the final performance Letterman strolls over and advises Zevon and us all to enjoy every sandwich.
    It immediately spoke to him and he repeated the exchange in a tribute show to Zevon the following year when the news came that he had passed away. It was a lovely touch earlier this month when a cover of Mutineer was played and Letterman mentioned Zevon by name after. That whole show was just so real and I pray to God that tradition is maintained in the late night shows to come.”

    I’m so glad to find another fan of this episode! I did not know all of Zevon’s Grammys were posthumous.

    • Thanks for this – terrific! Agree on all of the songs you mentioned, “Mutineer” is beautiful and “Searching For A Heart” is used perfectly in the film “Grand Canyon” – and his song “Things To Do In Denver When You’re Dead” was made into a movie! – well, the title at least!

      • You’re welcome John, was just excited to discuss this with someone who knows. I will have to see Grand Canyon.

      • “Grand Canyon” was directed by Lawrence Kasdan and stars Danny Glover, Kevin Kline and Steve Martin – a serious look at the state of decline in LA at the time…very heavy-handed but worth watching

      • I know of it, Ebert did not give it a kind review but Kasdan is always worth a look. I’ve seen the opening scene actually years ago and quite enjoyed it.

      • Stylistically it’s a bit of a mess, but great acting, Steve Martin is terrific in a more serious role, and the effort is there if the messages a bit obvious in the “can’t we all just get along?” era of LA

Trackbacks

  1. Warren Zevon! Self-Titled Masterpiece! Linda Ronstadt’s Smash Hits! Eagles All Over It! Jackson Browne Produced It! – johnrieber
  2. Warren Zevon’s Lucky “Bad Luck” Streak! Bruce Springsteen! Brilliant Followup To “Werewolves Of London!” – johnrieber
  3. Songs With A “Z”! The Zombies-With Eminem! Zeppelin! Warren Zevon’s “Werewolves”! David Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust! – johnrieber

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