5.23.2009

Warren Zevon


If you have never listened to Warren Zevon or think of him as a one hit wonder with the song Werewolves of London, I urge you to investigate the creativity and sensitivity of this rock artist. His is quite a story. From classical piano to touring with the Everly Brothers to critical (if not popular) acclaim. Dave Letterman's favorite rock artist and mine, too. He appeared on Letterman often before his asbestos-related lung cancer death in 2003, including a one -guest show with Dave near the end of his life. When asked what he would say to viewers about life's frailty, he simply said "enjoy every sandwich" which after his death became the title of a great tribute CD.

His last two CDs had a rather morose vibe, at least in title; Life'll Kill Ya and My Ride's Here. At the time, his diagnosis was not made--at least it was not public. I will always think he knew.

In December of 2002 Warren appeared at The Cat's Cradle in Carrboro, NC, unknown to me. But not my wife. Yet since the concert was the same night as her college supper club's Christmas party (husbands invited) she kept it to herself. I'm not sure I've forgiven her yet.

I always appreciated the song Werewolves of London, but came to truly embrace Warren's work later in his and my life. It started with the purchase on a whim of the CD Mutineer after hearing snippets on Amazon and due to fascination with the picture of Warren on the cover, depicting a pirate-esk down on his luck, Florida is the end of the line kind of fellow hiding behind a pair of huge Raybans. I sort of felt that same way during that time. It is a dark and haunting compilation and still my favorite CD. Call me melancholy.

For newcomers to Zevon, go with The Best of Warren Zevon and the afor-mentioned Mutineer. If you get hooked, you'll want all the CDs--buy the anthology I'll Sleep When I'm Dead next. Leave his last works and tributes until you've memorized all the "best of" lyrics, which if hooked, you will do. Great writing.

Read ex-wife Crystal Zevon's book I'll Sleep When I'm Dead: The Dirty Life and Times of Warren Zevon, once you become a full fledged Zevonista.

Check Wiki for more. And You Tube has 60 videos of songs and Letterman appearances.

LD

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