Warren Zevon’s Lucky “Bad Luck” Streak! Bruce Springsteen! Brilliant Followup To “Werewolves Of London!”

Warren-Zevon songs

Warren Zevon NEVER Threw Up His Hands!

No, he was too busy playing piano and writing some of music’s most memorable songs!

Yes, of course there is this one:

Werewolves of London Trader Vics

“Werewolves Of London” is his signature song, from the classic album “Excitable Boy”, which also gave us “Lawyers, Guns & Money”:

Warren Zevon Excitable Boy

Zevon’s brilliant album may be considered a career highlight, but there is so much more to Zevon – you can read my review of “Excitable Boy” AND see Zevon’s poignant final appearance on David Letterman here:


But his followup album also included some classic Zevon songs, along with a growth in his writing – always acerbic, now even more nuanced and playful….time to get some “Bad Luck!”

Warren Zevon Bad Luck Streak In Dancing School

“Bad Luck Streak In Dancing School!”

“Bad Luck Streak in Dancing School” was Warren Zevon’s fourth studio album, released in 1980.

According to wikipedia, there were three singles released from the album, one of which charted, with “A Certain Girl” – a song previously recorded by Ernie K-Doe and The Yardbirds – reaching #57 on the Billboard Hot 100.

Warren Zevon Albums

About the title: the term “dancing school” has been used as a euphemism for a brothel since the mid-17th century. That’s right: Warren is singing about his bad luck in a brothel!

With the back of the album as your guide, let’s take a look at some of the album highlights, beginning with the title track:

“Bad Luck Streak in Dancing School”

The album gets off to a strong start with this crunchy rocker – a feisty, catchy song that has some great Zevon vocals, and short but sweet lyrics:

“Pauline, don’t make me beg
Bad luck streak in dancing school
Down on my knees in pain
I’ve been acting like a fool
Pauline I swear I’ll change
Down on my knees in pain”

Here is a great live version from 1980:

“A Certain Girl”

Zevon’s cover is upbeat, fun and feisty in equal measure, and here is a great live version from 1982:

The crunchy rocker “Jungle Work” is next, with a hard driving beat throughout, followed by the beautiful ballad “Empty-Handed Heart”:

“All these empty places
I try so hard to fill
Will I find another love?
I pray to God I will
Girl, we had some good times
But time does not stand still
It’s rolling like a rockslide down a hill

I’ve met someone I care for
I know she cares for me
Will I fall in love again?
It’s a possibility
Girl, we had some good times
That time cannot undo
No one will ever take the place of you”

The short “Interlude No. 1” leader to one of his greatest songs:

Play It All Night Long Warren Zevon

“Play It All Night Long”

“Play It All Night Long” is a commentary on those who listen to Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Sweet Home Alabama.” Wikipedia says that Zevon supposes these people only listen to the song because country life is so intolerable!

“Grandpa pissed his pants again
He don’t give a damn
Brother Billy has both guns drawn
He ain’t been right since Vietnam

“Sweet home Alabama”
Play that dead band’s song
Turn those speakers up full blast
Play it all night long”

Here’s a great live version from 1993 that I found on youtube:

Bruce Springsteen Warren Zevon

“Jeannie Needs a Shooter”

Bruce Springsteen shows up as co-songwriter for this great song, and you can see Bruce’s influence on the lyrics:

“From the first time I laid eyes on her I know that she’d be mine
Her father was a lawman, he swore he’d shoot me dead
‘Cause he knew I wanted Jeannie and I’d have her like I said
Jeannie needs a shooter
Shooter like me”

Here is the great live version from 1982:

Warren Zevon Play It All Night Long

A second short “Interlude No. 2” leads into the short “Bill Lee” – and then, another of his masterworks…

Warren Zevon live 1982

“Gorilla, You’re a Desperado”

Another Zevon gem: acerbic lyrics with a great chorus!

“Big gorilla at the L.A. zoo
Snatched the glasses right off my face
Took the keys to my BMW
Left me here to take his place

I wish the ape a lot of success
I’m sorry my apartment’s a mess
Most of all I’m sorry if I made you blue
I’m betting the gorilla will too

They say Jesus will find you wherever you go
But when He’ll come looking for you, they don’t know
In the mean time, keep your profile low
Gorilla, you’re a desperado”

Here is a rare TV clip from the show “Fridays”, with Zevon performing it live:

Thanks to the great youtube channel “WarrenZevonAddict” for sharing this rare clip!

The album ends with “Bed of Coals”, co-written with T-Bone Burnett – an anthemic, powerful song that brings the album to a majestic close…and then “Wild Age”, which is also hypnotic and anthemic – here is “WarrenZevonAddict”‘s shared live version – audio only – from 1982:

warren-zevon1 live. jpg

“Bad Luck Streak In Dancing School” is a great album, and deserves more time on everyone’s iPod…let me know what you think!

Warren Zevon Bad Luck Streak In Dancing School

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

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

2 replies

  1. It was only as I was reading this that I remembered ‘Play it all night long’. Thanks for the reminder of his talent, John.
    Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Rust Belt Girl

reading and writing the Rust Belt with Rebecca Moon Ruark

Take It Easy

Retired, not expired: words from the after(work)life. And music. Lots of music!

Hey, Traveler

Sharing travel tips, ideas, and anecdotes with fellow wanderers, dreamers, doers, and lovers of life

Stevie Turner

Realist, writer, reader, reviewer and rocker.

Cornwall in Colours

inspired by the colours of the land, sea and sky of Cornwall

Bonjour From Brittany

Celebrating what makes Brittany unique

Let's Go To The Movies

Film and Theatre Lover!

SoraNews24 -Japan News-

Bringing you yesterday's news from Japan and Asia, today.

Bite! Eat! Repeat!

52 Cookbooks. 52 Recipes. A Tasty 2022!

A Teacher's Reflections

Thirty Years of Wonder

Tanooki Homemade Cafe

Yummy Homemade Food Recipes to Make You Smile:)


Exploring sustainable options, minimalism, and gardening.

In Saner Thought

"It is the duty of every man, as far as his ability extends, to detect and expose delusion and error"..Thomas Paine

Pete Springer

Passionate Teacher and Future Children's Author


Follow us as we follow the road


Travel Through Ireland and Europe

Diary of A Movie Maniac

A Personal Journey Through Cinema & Television

Geeking Out about It

BlerdWatching Waaay Too Much TV


Tea, Tours and Escapades

Robbie's inspiration

Ideas on writing and baking

You can always start now

journaling to see some answers

Realweegiemidget Reviews Films TV Books and more

You can take the girl out of Glasgow. Entertainment Reviews from a Wee Scottish Wife and Stepmum living in Finland.

I didn't have my glasses on....

A trip through life with fingers crossed and eternal optimism.

Through the Shattered Lens

Where mainstream meets grindhouse, exploitation, otaku and gamers

Laura's Books and Blogs

Writing tips, giveaways, reviews, essays, and more!

Drew's Movie Reviews

Movie reviews from your average dude

But I Smile Anyway...

Musings and memories, words and wisdom... of a working family woman

Movie Reviews 101

Daily Movie Reviews

Cindy Bruchman

Photography. Observations. Adventures. Let's talk.

Invisibly Me

Live A Visible Life Whatever Your Health


The world's wildest movies from an era of "everything goes!"

Retired? No one told me!

Tonight I Dream. Tomorrow I Do!


The musings of a Londoner, now living in Norfolk

Cats and Trails and Garden Tales

Musings on cats, travel, gardens and life

Tranquil Dreams

Watching, Reading, Cooking & Travelling

An Historian About Town

History in the Making

Susie Lindau's Wild Ride

Adventures and Misadventures in Boulder, Colorado

It Rains... You Get Wet

Still more lazy thoughts from this one...

Admit One Film Addict

Psychotropic Cinema and more

emmakwall (explains it all)

Film & soundtrack reviews, good humour and lists


Burgers, Books, Music, Movies, Offbeat Adventures & Pop Culture!


Movie reviews and anything else that comes to mind

%d bloggers like this: