It’s been just over six years since Warren Zevon died. He left behind an impressive body of work.
In 2005, Jordan Zevon gave the Live Music Archive permission to host unreleased live recordings of his pop’s work. All the tracks listed here are from shows in 1978, the year he released Excitable Boy, which had his biggest hit, “Werewolves of London.”
Below are five of the best tracks from the four shows available, all part of the Warren Zevon’s Traveling Circus tour.
The first two are from the same show, at the Record Plant in L.A., which I’ve always thought of as a recording studio (Electric Ladyland was recorded there). High quality recording, and the band is pretty together. The Lawyers, Guns, and Money is a great track, but I’m biased; I happen to love lawyers, guns, and money.
This is a good one. Warren is clearly sauced, but his band does a good job of propping him up. And it’s kind of fun to hear him slurring the words. If you listen all the way to the end, there’s a special treat: Warren belches into the microphone.
4. Warren Zevon – “Roland the Headless Thompson Gunner” (The Cellar Door, Washington, D.C., March 9, 1978)
From the same venue as Night Time in the Switching Yard, but it’s the next night, the early show, and Warren isn’t quite as sauced as the night before. This is Dave Letterman’s favorite Zevon song, and the last one he played on Letterman.
This version of Werewolves is the one least like the recording version. I wish I didn’t picture Tom Cruise every time I hear the line “his hair was perfect.” Oh, well. Enjoy every sandwich. It’s still good advice.
There are a decent number of Warren Zevon shows hosted by the Archive, covering a wide range of years: 1976 to 2001. It would be great to see more shows up there, too. If you or someone you know has unreleased live recordings of Zevon shows, let us know. And upload them to LMA!