Featuring tunes from this week’s Spot Light Artist – Hall and Oates, AC/DC, Warren Zevon, Joe Cocker, Michael Jackson, Kiss, Survivor, Alice Cooper, Styx and more . . .
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 of which are featured on his third album, Excitable Boy (1978), whose title track 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”.
Initially successful as a band leader, Zevon struggled to have a solo career until his music was performed by Linda Ronstadt, beginning in 1976 with her album Hasten Down the Wind. This launched a cult following that lasted for 25 years, with Zevon making occasional returns to album and single charts until his death from cancer in 2003. He briefly found a new audience in the 1980s by teaming up with members of R.E.M. in the blues rock outfit Hindu Love Gods.
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.
In interviews, Zevon described a lifelong phobia of doctors and said he seldom consulted one. He had started working out, and he looked physically fit. Shortly before playing at the Edmonton Folk Music Festival in 2002, he started feeling dizzy and developed a chronic cough. After a period of suffering with pain and shortness of breath, Zevon was encouraged by his dentist to see a physician; he was diagnosed with pleural mesothelioma, a cancer (usually caused by exposure to asbestos) that affects the pleura, a thin membrane around the lungs and chest lining. Zevon was deeply shaken by the news and began drinking again after 17 years of sobriety.
Although Zevon never revealed where he may have been exposed to asbestos, his son, Jordan, suggests that it came from Zevon’s childhood, playing in the attic of his father’s carpet store in Arizona. Refusing treatments he believed might incapacitate him, Zevon instead began recording his final album, The Wind, which includes performances by close friends including Bruce Springsteen, Don Henley, Jackson Browne, Timothy B. Schmit, Joe Walsh, David Lindley, Billy Bob Thornton, Emmylou Harris, Tom Petty, and Dwight Yoakam. At the request of the music television channel VH1, documentarian Nick Read was given access to the sessions and made the television film Inside Out: Warren Zevon.
Zevon stated previously that his illness was expected to be terminal within months after diagnosis in late 2002. However, he lived to see the birth of twin grandsons in June 2003 and the release of The Wind on August 26, 2003. Owing in part to the first VH1 broadcasts of Nick Read’s documentary Warren Zevon: Keep Me in Your Heart, the album reached number 12 on the U.S. charts, Zevon’s highest placement since Excitable Boy. When his diagnosis became public, Zevon wryly told the media that he just hoped to live long enough to see the next James Bond movie (Die Another Day), a goal he accomplished.
Zevon died on September 7, 2003, aged 56, at his home in Los Angeles. The Wind was certified gold by the RIAA in December 2003, and Zevon received five posthumous Grammy nominations, including Song of the Year for the ballad “Keep Me in Your Heart”. The Wind won two Grammys, with the album itself receiving the award for Best Contemporary Folk Album, while “Disorder in the House”, Zevon’s duet with Bruce Springsteen, was awarded Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal. These posthumous awards were the first Grammys of Zevon’s thirty-plus year career.
This week on the Sounds of The 70s we feature music from: Albert Hammond, Grand Funk Railroad, Undisputed Truth, Stevie Wonder, Jacksons, Elton John, Dave Edmunds, Argent, Diana Ross, Heart, Warren Zevon and more . . .
This week on Sounds of The 80s we feature music from: Anita Baker, Hooters, Bangles, Rolling Stones, Genesis, Danny Wilson, Gordon Lightfoot, Huey Lewis and The News, Jacksons, Warren Zevon, Sheena Easton and much more. . .
Today on Sounds of The 70s: Cat Stevens, Bette Midler, Manu Dibango, Tommy James, Bad Company, Main Ingredient, David Cassidy, Lake, Warren Zevon, and more . .
Today on Sounds of the 70’s, music from Warren Zevon, Allman Brothers Band, Betty Wright, Supremes, Jimmy Buffett, Abba, Jethro Tull, Jean Knight, Carol Douglas, Doobie Brothers, Elton John, Stampeders, Led Zeppelin and more . . .
Today on Sounds of The 80’s we feature: Christopher Cross, Pointer Sisters, Missing Persons, Fleetwood Mac, Elton John, Van Halen, Barry Manilow, Warren Zevon, Gregory Abbott, Blue Oyster Cult, Four Tops and more . . .
Excitable Boy is the third studio album by American musician Warren Zevon. The album was released on January 18, 1978, by Asylum Records. It includes the single “Werewolves of London”, which reached No. 21 and remained in the American Top 40 for six weeks. The album brought Zevon to commercial attention and remains the best-selling album of his career. A remastered and expanded edition was released in 2007.
“Excitable Boy” and “Werewolves of London” were considered macabrely humorous by some critics. The historical “Veracruz” dramatizes the United States occupation of Veracruz; likewise, “Roland the Headless Thompson Gunner” is a fictionalized account of former mercenary David Lindell’s experiences in Africa. “Lawyers, Guns and Money” is a tongue-in-cheek tale of a young American man’s adventures in Cold War-era Latin America. In addition, there are two ballads about life and relationships (“Accidentally Like a Martyr” and “Tenderness on the Block”), as well as the funk/disco-inspired “Nighttime in the Switching Yard”. – Wikipedia
Join Ron Kovacs for another edition of Sunday. This week music from Fairport Convention, Jethro Tull, Steeleye Span, The Band, The Beach Boys, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Crosby, Stills & Nash, The Mamas & the Papas, Simon & Garfunkel, Ryan Adams, Joan Armatrading, Beck, Jackson Browne, Harry Chapin, Tracy Chapman, Jim Croce, Donovan, Bob Dylan, Dan Fogleberg, Steve Forbert, Ben Howard, Carole King, Mark Knopfler, Gordon Lightfoot, Van Morrison, Patrick Park, Ed Sheeran, Bruce Springsteen, Cat Stevens, Teddy Thompson, Eddie Vedder, Neil Young, Warren Zevon and more . .. . Live starting 8am on RadioMaxMusic.
The track “She Quit Me” was featured in the 1969 film Midnight Cowboy as “He Quit Me.” “Tule’s Blues” was written about his lover, Marilyn “Tule” Livingston, mother of his son Jordan.
Kim Fowley began the project as producer, but he left after disagreements with Zevon and did not take credit for production duties. Fowley later remembered:
[Warren] wanted to play all the instruments himself. He wouldn’t listen to anybody. I wasn’t trying to produce him because you really couldn’t produce Warren, at least not in those days, but I was trying to help him make a record that might sell more than ten copies, all purchased by his friends. But, he didn’t listen to anyone about anything, and one day I just walked in thinking I’d had enough.
Zevon chalked up his disagreement with Fowley to a “sudden attack of taste.”
The album was released “to the sound of one hand clapping,” as Zevon later remarked. Sales were poor, and critics ignored the album. Jackson Browne later commented, “I don’t remember thinking [the album] was as good as he really was.” Attempts to record a follow-up album, called Leaf In The Wind, were abandoned, and Zevon found work as band leader and musical coordinator for the Everly Brothers. His next album, the critically acclaimed classic Warren Zevon, was not released until 1976. Once Zevon reached stardom, Wanted Dead or Alive ended up as an all-but-forgotten relic of his early career.
Wanted Dead or Alive was initially released on the CD format by One Way Records in 1996. Following the announcement that Zevon had terminal lung cancer, Capitol Records put out a remastered version of the album in early 2003.
- “Wanted Dead or Alive” (Kim Fowley, Martin Cerf) – 2:36
- “Hitchhikin’ Woman” – 2:16
- “She Quit Me” – 4:48
- “Calcutta” – 2:19
- “Iko-Iko” (Marilyn Jones, Sharon Jones, Joe Jones, M. Thomas) – 1:54
- “Traveling in the Lightning” – 3:05
- “Tule’s Blues” – 3:32
- “A Bullet for Ramona” (Zevon, Paul Evans) – 3:50
- “Gorilla” – 3:23
- “Fiery Emblems” (instrumental) – 3:15