The MARK’S VINTAGE VINYL page features something from Mark’s collection of recordings from over the years. Most of it is on vinyl – hence the name – though there will be a few entries from his CDs (remember those?).
Excitable Boy, by Warren Zevon
- Third studio album by Warren Zevon, released in 1978.
- By far his most popular album, it contains his hit, Werewolves of London. The genesis of the song came from Phil Everly (of the Everly Brothers) – in 1975, Everly watched the 1935 film Werewolf of London, and suggested to Zevon that he make a song out of the title. Zevon and his co-writers Leroy Marinell and Waddy Wachtel ran with the idea, writing it in 15 minutes. Zevon didn’t take it seriously, but his friend Jackson Browne liked it and started performing it in concerts. When Zevon decided to include it in his third album, he tried at least 7 different musician combinations, and finally picked the version with Wachtel on guitar, and Fleetwood Mac’s Mick Fleetwood and John McVie on drums and bass guitar respectively, with Zevon on piano. The song peaked at #21 on the Hot 100.
- The piano hook in Werewolves of London was sampled on Kid Rock’s hit song All Summer Long, which earned Zevon co-writer credit on the Kid Rock classic.
- The album is a personal favorite of mine, getting hundreds of hours of play time on my turntable. Many great tunes, particularly his cult classic Roland the Headless Thompson Gunner, are on this record. The song follows the story of a mercenary who wields a Thompson sub-machine gun during his support of a mutiny in the Congo in 1966 and 1967. Roland’s co-conspirator, a man named Van Owen, betrays him, blowing off his head. But the phantom “headless Thompson gunner” extracts his revenge, killing Van Owen in a bar in Mombasa. Not a feel good story, but a great song. It’s the last song he ever performed before an audience – David Letterman was a big fan of Zevon, and when Zevon’s terminal cancer became known, Letterman devoted an entire episode of The Late Show with David Letterman to Zevon on October 30, 2002. Zevon’s final performance on the show was Roland – you should go watch it, so check out my post on Zevon from July 26, 2017 to see it. Zevon died in September the following year.
- Here’s the video of Werewolves of London. What a great song! Enjoy it!