Warren William Zevon was a rock and roll singer/songwriter. His songs are known for their cynical, darkly humorous lyrics, often incorporating political and historical themes.
Warren Zevon was born on January 24, 1947 in Chicago, Illinois to a Russian Jewish father and a Mormon mother. Soon after, the Zevons moved to California. He often visited the home of composer Igor Stravinsky to study music.
Zevon's musical carrer began as one half of the male/female duo Lyme & Cybelle in 1966. He was also a session musician, and once played piano with The Everly Brothers in the early 1970s. He wrote songs for the group The Turtles. His first solo album, 1969's _Wanted Dead or Alive_, was released on One Way records, to little public attention and lukewarm reviews from critics.
Frustrated with his career, Zevon moved to Spain for a short time, playing in a small bar owned by a former mercernary. Together they penned the song "Roland the Headless Thompson Gunner", which was released on _Excitable Boy_ (1978).
In the mid 70's Zevon moved to Los Angeles. He became associated with the West Coast music scene, collaborating with Jackson Browne, who went on the produce his somphomore effort, the self-titled _Warren Zevon_ in 1976. He also collaborated with The Eagles, who played on that album, as well as Linda Ronstadt, who covered some early Zevon songs. His 1977 tour included guest appearances during Jackson Browne concerts.
His third album, _Excitable Boy_ (1978), saw commercial and critical success and received heavy airplay on FM radio, particulary the single "Werewolves of London", which reached the top ten.
Zevon's fourth album, _Bad Luck Streak in Dancing School_ (1980), was dedicated to novelist Ross MacDonald, who helped Zevon with personal demons, such as his alcoholism.
In 1981, a live album, _Stand in the Fire_ was released. After his sixth album, _The Envoy_ (1982), Zevon withdrew from music as a full-time career, and rarely played live shows. 1987's comeback album _Sentimental Hygiene_ (1987) was released to positive reviews. He went on to release
_Transverse City_ (1989) _Mr. Bad Example_ (1991), _Learning to Flinch_ (a 1993 live album) and _Mutineer_ (1995). During the 90's, Zevon toured regularly in the United States.
In 2000, another comeback album, _Life'll Kill Ya_, was released to positive reviews and some commercial success, followed by 2002's _My Rides Here_. In the fall of that year, sadly, Zevon was diagnosed with inoperable mesothelioma, and was given around half a year to live. However, Zevon lived for about a year. He appeared on The Late Show with David Letterman for an entire hour as the only guest on October 30, 2002. It was there he gave his attitude about living with a terminal disease: "Enjoy Every Sandwich."
Zevon recorded his final album, _The Wind_, released on August 27, 2003. The album brought him perhaps the greatest commercial and critical success of his career, but sadly, Warren Zevon died on September 7, 2003 at his Los Angeles home. He left behind a body of great work and sardonic wit that is rarely come across in music today. _The Wind_ brought Zevon 5 posthumous grammy nominations. In 2004, his son, Jordan Zevon, organized a tribute album, _Enjoy Every Sandwich: The Songs of Warren Zevon_, featuring Don Henely, Jackson Brown, Bonnie Raitt, The Wallfowers, Bruce Springsteen, Jordan Zevon, Bob Dylan, The Pixies and others.
Warren Zevon was a great songwriter and musician. He played piano and guitar and sang. His discography is as follows:
1969 - _Wanted Dead or Alive_
1976 - _Warren Zevon_
1978 - _Excitable Boy_
1980 - _Bad Luck Streak in Dancing School.
1982 - _The Envoy_
1986 - _A Quiet Normal Life: The Best of Warren Zevon_
1987 - _Sentimental Hygiene_
1989 - _Transverse City_
1991 - _Mr. Bad Example_
1993 - _Learning to Flinch_
1995 - _Mutineer_
1996 - _I'll Sleep When I'm Dead: An Anthology_
2000 - _Life'll Kill Ya_
2002 - _My Ride's Here_
2002 - _Genius: The Best of Warren Zevon_
2003 - _The Wind_
2006 - _Reconsider Me: The Love Songs of Warren Zevon_