Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Zevon, Two Years Gone

Hard to believe Warren Zevon passed away 2 years ago last Tuesday in 2003. When listening to his music, I am still moved by the dark complexity of his lyrics and riveting sound of his voice. It is unfortunate that he is best known for "Werewolves of London," when he wrote so many other great songs. I have been a fan of his since the 1970's when I bought the 45 of Werewolves, which featured the B-side "Roland the Headless Thompson Gunner." "Roland" is my sentimental favorite of a long list of great songs. I bought the single as an 11-year old in 1978 and pretty much thought that Zevon's lyrical cursing, referring to "that son-of-a-bitch Van Owen," was pretty scandalous.

Zevon was always topical, as in this excerpt from 1980's title cut "The Envoy:"

Nuclear arms in the Middle East
Israel is attacking the Iraqis
The Syrians are mad at the Lebanese
And Baghdad do whatever she please
Looks like another threat to world peace
For the envoy
Send the envoy . . .
Send for me

I recommend any Zevon, but there are 2 discs that are great intros to the arc of his career. The 2-disc collections of "Genius" and "I'll Sleep When I'm Dead" are both nice greatest hits packages. Of course, they pre-date Zevon's coda "The Wind," a haunting farewell from one of my favorite singer-songwriters.

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


Jenise said...

You are far more complex than I ever imagined. You see more than the norm. You read things that are from the heart, not just from the page. 'Hope you have that forever! I haven't heard this artists music much, one more thing in this big world to investigate.

Benjie516 said...

I remember feeling like a rebel when we'd cue up Zevon's B-side on our cheap sears-bought phonographs and he'd sing about Van Owen.

Ditto when we'd play one of those K-Tel compilation records and listen to WAR's "Summer". They'd sing about what "Kids of all ages ..." were doing (or digging) and we would just twitter like we snuck into the girls' locker room.

Good fun on the 5th and 11th floors of Ala Wai Plaza.