May 18: Warren Zevon released Warren Zevon (album) in 1976

warren zevon album

And if California slides into the ocean
Like the mystics and statistics say it will
I predict this motel will be standing
Until I pay my bill.

May 18: Warren Zevon released Warren Zevon (album) in 1976

We love Warren Zevon here at BTL and today it is 40 years since his big studio debut Warren Zevon (the album). A classic album that really has stood the test of time.

Though only a modest commercial success, the Browne-produced Warren Zevon (1976) would later be termed a masterpiece in the first edition of the Rolling Stone Record Guide and is cited in the book’s most recently revised edition as Zevon’s most realized work. Representative tracks include the junkie’s lament “Carmelita”; the Copland-esque outlaw ballad “Frank and Jesse James”; “The French Inhaler”, a scathing insider’s look at life and lust in the L.A. music business (which was, in fact, about his long-time girlfriend and mother to his son Jordan); and “Desperados Under the Eaves”, a chronicle of Zevon’s increasing alcoholism.

Warren Zevon (with Jackson Browne) – Mohammed’s Radio live on British TV in 1976:

“…Zevon’s music was full of blood, bile, and mean-spirited irony, and the glossy surfaces of Jackson Browne’s production failed to disguise the bitter heart of the songs on Warren Zevon. The album opened with a jaunty celebration of a pair of Old West thieves and gunfighters (“Frank and Jesse James”), and went on to tell remarkable, slightly unnerving tales of ambitious pimps (“The French Inhaler”), lonesome junkies (“Carmelita”), wired, hard-living lunatics (“I’ll Sleep When I’m Dead”), and truly dastardly womanizers (“Poor Poor Pitiful Me”), and even Zevon’s celebrations of life in Los Angeles, long a staple of the soft rock genre, had both a menace and an epic sweep his contemporaries could never match (“Join Me in L.A.” and “Desperados Under the Eaves”). But for all their darkness, Zevon’s songs also possessed a steely intelligence, a winning wit, and an unusually sophisticated melodic sense, and he certainly made the most of the high-priced help who backed him on the album.”

– Mark Deming (Allmusic)

I was sitting in the Hollywood Hawaiian Hotel
I was staring in my empty coffee cup
I was thinking that the gypsy wasn’t lyin’
All the salty margaritas in Los Angeles
I’m gonna drink ’em up

Desperados Under the Eaves:

Warren Zevon – Warren Zevon (album on Spotify):

Track listing

All songs written by Warren Zevon

No. Title Length
1. “Frank and Jesse James” 4:33
2. “Mama Couldn’t Be Persuaded” 2:53
3. “Backs Turned Looking Down the Path” 2:27
4. Hasten Down the Wind 2:58
5. Poor Poor Pitiful Me 3:04
6. “The French Inhaler” 3:44
7. Mohammed’s Radio 3:40
8. “I’ll Sleep When I’m Dead” 2:56
9. Carmelita 3:32
10. “Join Me in L.A.” 3:13
11. Desperados Under the Eaves 4:45

 


– Hallgeir & Egil

One thought on “May 18: Warren Zevon released Warren Zevon (album) in 1976