Warren Zevon

Singer / Songwriter
Date Of Birth:
24 January 1947
Date Of Death:
7 September 2003
lung cancer
Place Of Birth:
Chicago, Illinois
Best Known As:
The darkly funny musician who sang "Werewolves of London"
Warren Zevon is best-known for his breakthrough 1978 album, Excitable Boy, and for hard-rocking, darkly funny tunes like "Werewolves of London," "Lawyers, Guns and Money" and "Roland the Headless Thompson Gunner." Warren Zevon was a songwriter for The Everly Brothers and Linda Ronstadt in the 1960s (he wrote Ronstadt's hit "Poor Poor Pitiful Me") before releasing his first album, Wanted: Dead or Alive in 1969. Zevon was well-regarded by critics and other musicians in the early 1970s but didn't sell many records. Then "Werewolves of London" shot up the charts and by the end of the decade he was a star, known especially for his grim humor and literary lyrics. He also had a reputation as a heavy drinker, but in the early '80s he publicly battled alcoholism and went sober. His subsequent albums never had the success of Excitable Boy, but his fan base remained loyal and he was widely considered a songwriter's songwriter. His other albums included Warren Zevon (1976), Sentimental Hygiene (1987), Mr. Bad Example (1991) and Life'll Kill Ya (2000). In 2002 he announced that he had terminal lung cancer. He managed to record a final album, The Wind, which was released two weeks before his death in September 2003. In 2004 the album posthumously earned him his first Grammys, including one for his duet with Bruce Springsteen, "Disorder in the House."
Extra Credit

Warren Zevon and members of R.E.M. teamed up briefly as The Hindu Love Gods, releasing an album in 1990… Like Harry Nilsson, Warren Zevon had a song in the Dustin Hoffman movie Midnight Cowboy (1969)… Warren Zevon often filled in as a guest bandleader for late-night host David Letterman when regular leader Paul Shaffer was absent… After his cancer diagnosis, Warren Zevon quipped, “I’m OK with it, but it’ll be a drag if I don’t make it ’til the next James Bond movie comes out.” He did; Die Another Day was released in November 2002.

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