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Warren Zevon (1947-2003). The Grim and Grin Reaper in the Songwriters' Neighborhood: From A to Zevon

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On September 7, 2003, critically acclaimed singer-songwriter Warren Zevon died of lung cancer at the age of 56. During a career that spanned 30 years and nearly 20 records, the hard-living rocker established himself as a unique combination of composer, coroner and comic. Beyond what may be his most familiar song--the 1978 novelty hit, " Werewolves of London "--Zevon's sardonic songbook was cinematic, and loaded with lurid, lovesick, literate, laughable lyrics, noir narratives and corrupt, creepy characters. Among the many labels used to characterize Zevon and his work--idiosyncratic, imaginative, iconoclastic, irreverent, intelligent--perhaps "F. Scott Fitzzevon," "the Sam Peckinpah of rock," and "Jackson Browne's bad conscience" provide the most complete composite. This article is a chronicle and appreciation of Zevon's life, times and genius as songwriter.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2005-02-01

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