Warren Zevon released his first album in 1969 entitled Wanted Dead Or Alive. The album was a commercial failure and quickly disappeared. Six years later Warren Zevon released his second album entitled Warren Zevon. The album featured an amazing cast of musicians including Jackson Browne, Stevie Nicks, Lindsey Buckingham, Phil Everly, Carl Wilson, Bonnie Raitt and almost the entire Eagles band. The album was very successful and contained many of the songs that would also become big hits for Linda Ronstadt such as “Poor Poor Pitiful Me,” “Carmelita,” and “Hasten Down The Wind.” From that point on, every Warren Zevon album would feature a combination of the best studio musicians, world class rock artists appearing as guests, and a amazing body of well written and recorded rock and roll songs.
While the 1976 album brought Warren Zevon the largest audience he had ever had up to that point, the release of Excitable Boy in 1978 would prove to be the album that would make Warren Zevon a household name. “Werewolves of London,” would become a song that went beyond pop charts success. “Werewolves of London,” would become a song that would become ingrained in popular culture forever.
Warren Zevon followed up the Excitable Boy album with the record Bad Luck Streak in Dancing School in 1980. Two years later Zevon released The Envoy in 1982. It would be five years before Warren Zevon would release another album. In 1987, Warren released the album Sentimental Hygiene. The supporting cast of musicians that appeared on the album included some of the biggest rock stars of all time such as Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Brian Setzer and REM. Six out of the album’s ten tracks were released as singles.
In 1989, Warren Zevon released the album Transverse City followed by Mr. Bad Example in 1991, Life’ll Kill Ya in 2000, My Ride’s Here in 2002, and his final album released in 2003 entitled The Wind.
Two weeks after his final album The Wind was released, Warren Zevon passed away at the age of 56 years old.
Let’s celebrate his work. Here are ten of our favourite Warren Zevon Songs. We would love to hear about yours.
# 10 – She Quit Me
“She Quit Me,” may sound real raw, and he guitar is at times a bit out of time and out of tune, Nonetheless, when Warren slides into that verse, you can feel the pain of heartbreak 10 times more than you do from any other song. “She Quit Me,” was released on Warren Zevon’s first album entitled Wanted Dead Or Alive. The album was released in 1969 and quickly slipped into the abyss. However for anyone who truly gave the record a listen, the genius of Warren Zevon was quite clear. It would just take a few more years until the rest of the world would be turned on by Warren Zevon’s incredible talents as a songwriter and performer.
# 9 – Hasten Down The Wind
One of the classic rock era artists that benefited greatly from Warren Zevon’s talents as a songwriter was Linda Ronstadt. Not only did Linda Ronstadt record a few of Warren Zevon songs, she even titled as album after one of his compositions. In 1976, Linda Ronstadt released the album Hasten Down The Wind which was the title of the Warren Zevon composition that Ronstadt also recorded for the album. It was one of the most beautiful melodies Warren Zevon ever composed. Both versions of the song are incredible.
# 8 – Excitable Boy
While we are on the topic of album titles, Warren Zevon’s song “Excitable Boy,” also served as the title for his most commercially successful album. The album Excitable Boy was released in 1978. Five singles were released from the Excitable Boy album. The title track was released as the record’s second single just before the release of “Werewolves of London.”
# 7 – Disorder In The House
The great track “Disorder in the House,” was not the first track to feature a duet between Warren Zevon and his friend Bruce Springsteen, The two had previously paired up on the song “Jeanie Needs A Shooter which was released on the 1980 Warren Zevon LP Bad Luck Streak in Dancing School. The song “Disorder In The House,” appeared on Warren Zevon’s final album entitled The Wind. Warren Zevon’s and Bruce Springsteen’s voices blended so well together on the recording, at times it’s almost difficult to tell them apart.
# 6 – Reconsider Me
As we continue our Top 10 Warren Zevon songs list we turn to a track that had been once given to Stevie Nicks to record. However, the album that Stevie Nicks had been recording entitled Mirror Mirror was never released. The Stevie Nicks version of “Reconsider Me,” was not released until it was included as an unreleased track on her career retrospective box set entitled Enchanted. Warren Zevon’s version appeared on his 1987 album Sentimental Hygiene.
# 5 – Poor Poor Pitiful Me
While “Poor Poor Pitiful Me,” has always been a song associated with Linda Ronstadt because of the huge commercial success she enjoyed with the song, we have always liked Warren Zevon’s version of this song better. The song was released on Warren Zevon’s second album entitled Warren Zevon. The album was released in 1976.
# 4 – Carmelita
The beautiful ballad “Carmelita,” has always been a fan favorite. The song was released on Warren Zevon’s 1976 album Warren Zevon. The album featured a star-studded cast of well-known studio musicians and rock stars. Glenn Frey of The Eagles played rhythm guitar and sang backing vocals on the song “Carmelita.” The beautiful composition turned out to one of Warren Zevon’s most covered songs.
# 3 – A Certain Girl
The great recording of Naomi Neville’s song “A Certain Girl,” was one of Warren Zevon’s biggest hits and the most successful song he ever released that he did not compose. “A Certain Girl,” was released on the album Bad Luck Streak in Dancing School.
# 2 – Werewolves Of London
On just about any Top 10 Warren Zevon songs list “Werewolves of London,” always comes in at number one. There is no argument that can be made that “Werewolves of London,” was not his most popular song, It was Warren Zevon’s biggest hit, his most popular song and one the most famous songs of the classic rock era. We just have a sentiment for another Warren Zevon song that we feel is a little more important than this one.
# 1 – Keep Me In Your Heart
The Warren Zevon song “Keep Me In Your Heart,” was not only Warren Zevon’s swan song to his career, it was his farewell song to life itself. Over the years, it has always struck me that as Warren Zevon knew he was dying, he still felt compelled to record one final album. Most people would have just tried to enjoy every minute they had left and paid no attention to work. Yet Warren Zevon’s work was his life, and his quest to compose a goodbye song says so much about the man and who he was and what he accomplished in his life.
I brought this album when it first came out and it was very difficult to listen to this song the first time. Warren Zevon was still alive when the record came out. We said goodbye to him on the David Letterman appearances. It was difficult. Just staring at the album cover was difficult. However those words Warren Zevon sang have been the most powerful lyrics he ever composed because so man years later, Warren Zevon is still in our hearts.