Warren Zevon was born on this day in 1947. He was always one of my favourite musicians. His songs were at times dark, sometimes humorous. He didn’t write many love songs.He was very literary. He was a friend of Dr. Hunter S. Thompson. I can’t imagine what it was like when those two guys got together. If the question was -who is the most intelligent rock musician I think he’d be in the discussion. The song he is best known for and his only hit “Werewolves of London” was on his second album. During his recording career he released a dozen studio albums. He also fought his demons. Sometimes he won other times the demons did. An oral history which came out after his death “I’ll Sleep When I’m Dead: The Dirty Life and Times of Warren Zevon” was at his request an unvarnished portrayal of Zevon. He seemed to be a very troubled man. His songs though were brilliant. I have never gotten bored of listening to Warren. His best album is probably his first Warren Zevon:”Warren Zevon.” My personal favourite is one that didn’t sell well “The Envoy” from the early 1980’s.
I saw him twice in concert in back to back years in the mid-1990’s. The first time I saw him he was brilliant. One of the more memorable concerts I’ve been to. The second time he seemed to be going through some personal issues and the concert was awful. My brother went with me to both concerts and we both had the same reaction. After the first concert I met Warren Zevon. He was very friendly and gracious.
Zevon died of lung cancer at the age of 56. His death was as interesting as his life. He would appear on David Letterman and talk about it. He would be filmed by VH1 for a documentary “Warren Zevon: Keep Me In Your Heart.” He recorded a new album that was his biggest hit since his second album back in the late 1970’s. When he was diagnosed with lung cancer he said his goal was to live to see the next James Bond movie. He did. That James Bond movie “Die Another Day” In that movie the main villian when asked how he deals with his insomnia replies “I’ll sleep when I’m dead.”
below is a link to a lengthy New York Times Magazine article written ten years ago, as Zevon was slowly dying. Excellent article.