[YouTube pulled the video, so click here to play the song for free on archive.org.]
“Warren Zevon is a poet. He has written more classics than any other musician of our time, with the possible exception of Bob Dylan.” – Hunter S. Thompson, 2001.I couldn’t tell you how many people I’ve hassled over the last couple of years just to force them to admit that Lawyers, Guns and Money has the best opening line to a song in history. Right there with the sweet guitar riff is Zevon’s line:
I went home with a waitress
The way I always dooo . . .
How was I to know
She was with the Russians too
Sublime. A debauched, maverick ladies man . . . perfectly summed up right there in the first sentence.
Despite his well-publicized battle with cancer in 2003 and the attendant VH-1 documentary for his final, grammy-award winning album The Wind, Zevon is unfortunately still remembered by most as merely the novelty act who performed Werewolves of
Beyond Lawyers, Guns and Money and Werewolves of London, there are many more masterpieces: Roland the Headless Thompson Gunner, Excitable Boy, Mohammed’s Radio, Desperadoes Under the Eaves, and Play It All Night Long to name just a handful.
One of my favorites is the sweet, blue heartbreaker Hasten Down the Wind, beautiful in its simplicity and one of the Top 20 Breakup Songs of All Time. Jackson Browne referred to this song as “a counterpoint to his other thing, [the] charging into the void with a torch and a martini.”
She tells him she thinks she needs to be free
He tells her he doesn't understand
She takes his hand
She tells him nothing's working out the way they planned
She's so many women
He can't find the one who was his friend
So he's hanging on to half her heart
He can't have the restless part
So he tells her to hasten down the wind
He agrees he thinks she needs to be free
Then she says she'd rather be with him
But it's just a whim
By which she hopes to keep him out there on that limb
Speaking of the torch and martini, who can forget these classic lines from Werewolves of London?
You better stay away from himExplains Jackson Browne one more time, "Somebody made reference to that song at
He’ll rip your lungs out, Jim!
Heh, I’d like to meet his tailor.
Remember: Enjoy every sandwich.