Warren Zevon, 1947-2003
I’m probably the only fan of Warren Zevon’s who discovered him on NBC. Zevon had written the score for “Route 66,” an adaptation of a 1960s TV show. I flipped on the show during the teaser, and stayed for the theme song. There was a sharp, nagging guitar riff, and weird lyrics: “I’m a refugee from the mansion on the hill/And if you don’t leave me I’ll find somebody who will.”
It took me 11 years to find out who sang that. And I loved Warren Zevon ever since.
He wrote catchy, 1970s cocaine rock, like the Eagles with brains, and he never recorded a perfect record (probably one of the reasons why critics don’t fawn over him). You should probably find an MP3 of “Lawyers, Guns and Money” or “Carmelita” to get a sense of his sound, and of his terrific voice (like Nilsson, he degraded measurably as he aged into his 40s).
There’s a good tribute here. I don’t have much else to add.