(Drum roll, please…) The final day of the April “Blogging from A to Z Challenge” is here! With a theme of writers (authors, poets, essayists, novelists), you’d think Emile Zola would be my only option? Wrong! I was smart to include songwriters and lyricists.
Warren William Zevon was born in 1947 to a Jewish father and a Mormon mother. So you know this kid is going to be something special. He studied classical music under Igor Stravinsky. After quitting high school, moving to New York, and trying to make it big, he ended up working mainly as a session musician. By 1975, he returned to Los Angeles and roomed with then-unknown Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham. He collaborated with Jackson Browne and produced his first major-label album, with contributions from Linda Ronstadt, Bonnie Raitt, and members of The Eagles and Fleetwood Mac.
“Werewolves of London.” “Lawyers, Guns and Money.” “Poor Poor Pitiful Me.” And, of course, “Excitable Boy.” Who else could write a hit song about a juvenile sociopath’s murderous prom night?
On David Letterman’s show in October 2002, Zevon admitted to a lifelong fear of doctors, asserting he hadn’t seen a doctor in 20 years. After a period of constant shortness of breath, Zevon told Letterman that it was his dentist who finally convinced him to see a physician. Zevon was diagnosed with inoperable lung cancer. He refused treatments and instead began recording his final album, The Wind.
It was during that Letterman show that, when asked by Letterman if he knew something more about life and death now, Zevon offered his insight on dying: “Enjoy every sandwich.”
Warren Zevon died on September 7, 2003, aged 56, at his Los Angeles home. The Wind went gold in December 2003 and Zevon received five posthumous Grammy nominations, including Song of the Year for the ballad “Keep Me In Your Heart.”
Most of the available videos are poor quality, so just listen: