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

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