Warren Zevon: Preludes (Elite)

 |   |  1 min read

Warren Zevon: Don't Let Us Get Sick
Warren Zevon: Preludes (Elite)

Among the very few autographs of stars that I have is one sent to me, unsolicited, by Warren Zevon after I'd interviewed him.

On it he wrote: "To Graham. Good luck!"

Given Zevon was something of a dark and mischievious character I wondered if that "good luck" suggested he might know of something disconcerting lurking in my future.

When he died of lung cancer in 2003 there was an outpouring of obituaries saluting his bent genius as a man out of his zone.

He was an LA singer-songwriter but the flipside of guys like James Taylor and Jackson Browne, an altogether much darker type who is best known for his quirky hits Werewolves of London and Roland the Headless Thompson Gunner. He also wrote hits for Linda Ronstadt (Hasten Down the Wind, Poor Poor Pitiful Me), grappled with alcoholism and depression, collaborated with Springsteen and most of REM, was friends with Hunter S Thompson, and was sometimes the band leader on The David Letterman Show.

When diagnosed with cancer he was asked by Letterman what insight he had gained and he memorably said, "Enjoy every sandwich".

Zevon was a sardonic character and that comes through in his songs, along with considerable humour.

This exceptional double-disc is a result of Zevon's son Jordan cleaning out some storage areas and coming on boxes of previously unheard songs and demos. The first disc here is 16 songs, six of them unreleased and among the others are a wild demo of Werewolves of London, and early takes on Poor Poor Pitiful Me (rockin' out), Carmelita, Accidentally Like A Martyr and Hasten Down the Wind.

The second disc is an interesting interview session with two songs (I Was in the House When the House Burned Down, Back in the High Life from the Life'll Kill Ya album) and ends with a previously unreleased solo acoustic version of Don't Let Us Get Sick.

Further evidence of Zevon's genius.

Share It

Your Comments

post a comment

More from this section   Music articles index

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers: Hypnotic Eye (Warners)

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers: Hypnotic Eye (Warners)

Most rock fans agree TP and his cracking Heartbreakers had a decade-long dream run after their self-titled debut in 76. Their taut Beatles/Byrds pop-rock welded to a nuggety rock'n'roll attitude... > Read more

Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes: Fever! The Anthology 1976-1991 (Raven)

Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes: Fever! The Anthology 1976-1991 (Raven)

The excellent reissue label out of Australia, Raven, has appeared at Elsewhere previously with its essential Velvet Underground collection What Goes On, the Gene Clark compilation American Dreamer... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

GUEST WRITER AND PHOTOGRAPHER JONATHAN GANLEY speaks with documentarian photographer Gil Hanly

GUEST WRITER AND PHOTOGRAPHER JONATHAN GANLEY speaks with documentarian photographer Gil Hanly

Photographer Gil Hanly neatly sums up the motivation behind her work. “I’m a documenter, not an art photographer. I photograph the things I’m involved in”. Gil has... > Read more

ELECTRIC WARRIOR, 35 YEARS ON: A case of T.Rexstacy

ELECTRIC WARRIOR, 35 YEARS ON: A case of T.Rexstacy

Even today, almost 35 years after his death, people still place flowers at the spot in London where Marc Bolan was killed. Bolan was a fortnight short of his 30th birthday when the car he... > Read more