Warren William Zevon (January 24, 1947 – September 7, 2003) was an American rock singer-songwriter and musician. He was noted for his offbeat, sardonic view of life which was reflected in his dark, sometimes humorous songs, which often incorporated political or historical themes. His best-known compositions include "Werewolves of London", "Lawyers, Guns and Money", "Roland the Headless Thompson Gunner" and "Johnny Strikes Up The Band", all of which are featured on his 1978 release, Excitable Boy. Other well known Zevon songs include "Accidentally Like a Martyr", "Mutineer" and "Mohammad's Radio". He and David Letterman shared mutual respect for each other and Zevon was often a frequent guest on his show. Despite having songwriting abilities Zevon did record and perform a few covers including Bob Dylan's "Knockin' on Heaven's Door" and Leonard Cohen's "First We Take Manhattan".
In 1978, Zevon released his breakthrough album, Excitable Boy, to critical acclaim and popular success. The title tune (about a juvenile sociopath's murderous prom night) name-checked "Little Susie", the heroine of former employers the Everly Brothers' signature tune "Wake Up Little Susie", while songs such as "Roland the Headless Thompson Gunner" and "Lawyers, Guns and Money" used deadpan humor to wed geopolitical subtexts to hard-boiled narratives. Tracks from this album received heavy FM airplay and the single release "Werewolves of London", which featured Mick Fleetwood and John McVie, was a relatively lighthearted version of Zevon's signature macabre outlook and a Top 30 hit. Rolling Stone called the album one of the most significant releases of the 1970s and placed Zevon alongside Neil Young, Jackson Browne, and Bruce Springsteen as one of the four most important new artists to emerge in the decade. Years later, Bob Dylan would use a line from Zevon's lyrics for "Accidentally Like a Martyr" as the title of his album, Time Out of Mind.
Zevon followed Excitable Boy with 1980s Bad Luck Streak in Dancing School. This album was dedicated to Ken Millar, better known under his nom-de-plume as detective novelist Ross Macdonald. Millar was a literary hero of Zevon's who met the singer for the first time while participating in an intervention organized by Rolling Stone journalist Paul Nelson that helped Zevon temporarily kick his substance addictions. Featuring a modest novelty hit with the single "A Certain Girl" (Zevon's cover of an old R&B novelty record by Ernie K-Doe scraped its way to #45 on the Billboard Singles Chart), the album sold briskly but was uneven, and signaled a decline rather than a step toward commercial and critical consistency. It contained a collaboration with Bruce Springsteen called "Jeannie Needs a Shooter", and the ballad "Empty-Handed Heart" dealing with Zevon's divorce from second wife Crystal and featuring a descant sung by Linda Ronstadt. Later in 1980, he released the live album Stand in the Fire (dedicated to Martin Scorsese), recorded over five nights at the The Roxy Theatre in Los Angeles.
* Wanted Dead or Alive - 1969
* Warren Zevon - 1976
* Excitable Boy - 1978
* Bad Luck Streak in Dancing School - 1980
* Stand in the Fire - 1980
* The Envoy - 1982
* A Quiet Normal Life: The Best of Warren Zevon - 1986
* Sentimental Hygiene - 1987
* Transverse City - 1989
* Hindu Love Gods - 1990
* Mr. Bad Example - 1991
* Learning to Flinch - 1993
* Mutineer - 1995
* I'll Sleep When I'm Dead (An Anthology) - 1996
* Life'll Kill Ya - 2000
* My Ride's Here - 2002
* Genius: The Best of Warren Zevon - 2002
* The First Sessions - 2003
* The Wind - 2003
* Reconsider Me: The Love Songs - 2006
* Preludes - Rare and Unreleased Recordings - 2007