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GP's Song of the Day: Warren Zevon

By Graeme Whitfield on Jun 8, 09 03:17 PM

If anything good can come from Kid Rock and his awful songs, it is that people go to the song he sampled on his recent big hit: Warren Zevon's Werewolves of London.

Released on his 1978 album Exciteable Boy, it featured John McVie and Mick Fleetwood from Fleetwood Mac and is built around a cracking piano riffs and some great lyrics ("He's the hairy handed gent/Who ran amok in Kent.")

Most of all those it has one of the great singalong choruses of all time: "Ah-oooooooh, Werewolves of London." It's irresistible.

Throughout the '80s and '90s, Zevon was often mentioned alongside people like Bruce Springsteen and Neil Young, though his sardonic songs stopped him ever seeing their level of success.

It is my firm assertion that any home would be improved by the ownership of a Warren Zevon best of. His career was a bit of a rollercoaster but he was much loved by people like Springsteen, the novelist Carl Hiaasen and chatshow host David Letterman.

Werewolves of London is easily his best known song (and his only hit) but I would recommend Roland the Headless Thompson Gunner, Splendid Isolation and Genius (which contains the rather fantastic lines "Albert Einstein was a ladies' man/When he was working on his universal plan/He was making out like Charlie Sheen/He was a genius.")

There's a great episode of the Larry Sanders Show where Zevon comes on and wants to perform a new song but he is badgered into playing Werewolves of London by Larry because it's the only one of his songs he knows. You can't see many rock stars allowing themselves to be mocked in that way.

In 2002, Zevon overcame a lifelong phobia of doctors, went to see his physician and was diagnosed with inoperable mesothelioma. He released one more album, The Wind, which is sometimes terribly painful but also at times typically funny.

He died on September 7, 2003. Interviewed by Letterman just before his death, he joked: "I may have made a tactical error in not going to a physician for 20 years."

One other comment made during that interview has also become famous. Asked what insights he had got from receiving death, he said: "Enjoy every sandwich."

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