Warren William Zevon (January 24, 1947 – September 7, 2003) was an American rock singer, songwriter, and musician.
Zevon’s most famous compositions include “Werewolves of London”, “Lawyers, Guns and Money”, and “Roland the Headless Thompson Gunner”. All three songs are featured on his third album, Excitable Boy (1978), the title track of which is also well-known. He also wrote major hits that were recorded by other artists, including “Poor Poor Pitiful Me”, “Accidentally Like a Martyr”, “Mohammed’s Radio”, “Carmelita”, and “Hasten Down the Wind”. Along with his own work, he recorded or performed occasional covers, including Allen Toussaint’s “A Certain Girl”, Bob Dylan’s “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door”, Leonard Cohen’s “First We Take Manhattan”, Steve Winwood’s “Back in the High Life Again”, and Prince’s “Raspberry Beret”.
Zevon’s early music industry successes were found as a session musician, jingle composer, songwriter, touring musician, musical coordinator and bandleader. Despite all this, Zevon struggled to break through in his solo career until his music was performed by Linda Ronstadt, beginning with her 1976 album Hasten Down the Wind. This launched a cult following that lasted 25 years, with Zevon making occasional returns to album and single charts until his death from mesothelioma in 2003. He briefly found a new audience by teaming up with members of R.E.M. in the blues rock outfit Hindu Love Gods for a 1990 album release, although no tour followed.
Known for his dry wit and acerbic lyrics, he was a guest numerous times on Late Night with David Letterman and the Late Show with David Letterman.