Warren Zevon

Most Popular

Birth Sign

Warren William Zevon was a rock singer, songwriter, and musician from the United States of America. His unstable upbringing as the son of a gangster had a profound effect on him later in life. He was known for his dark and slightly bizarre sense of humor and contributed a mature but cynical edge to the New-Wave era. His platinum-selling album ‘Excitable Boy’ charted in the Top Ten on Billboard and featured the hit single ‘Werewolves of London.’ He was acquainted with a number of California’s more mellow rockers, including Fleetwood Mac, Jackson Browne, and The Eagles. He worked as a pianist for the Everly Brothers for a few years. Warren Zevon wrote singles such as ‘Poor, Poor Pitiful Me’ and ‘I’ll Sleep When I’m Dead’ for his self-titled second album. Two additional masterpieces, ‘Bad Luck Streak In Dancing School’ and ‘The Envoy,’ received widespread critical acclaim but sold poorly. He relapsed, and it would be another five years before he resolved his personal issues and released another record. He regained his peak form with the release of ‘Life’ll Kill Ya’. He died two weeks after the release of his final album, ‘The Wind,’ from lung cancer. Famous musicians such as Jackson Browne, Bruce Springsteen, Bob Dylan, and Neil Young have frequently lauded Zevon’s work.

Childhood & Adolescence

Zevon was born in Chicago, Illinois, on January 24, 1947, to Beverly Cope and William Zevon, a Russian-born Jewish immigrant. William was a bookie for infamous Los Angeles mobster Mickey Cohen, who used him to handle bets and dice games.

Zevon began visiting Igor Stravinsky’s home at the age of 13 and briefly studied modern classical music.

When his parents divorced when he was sixteen, he dropped out of high school and relocated from Los Angeles to New York to pursue a career as a folk singer.

Career of Warren

He formed the musical duo lyme & cybelle with his high school friend Violet Santagelo. The duo is best known for their moderate chart-topping single ‘Follow Me,’ which was his first commercial release.

He composed several songs for ‘The Turtles,’ including ‘Like the Seasons’ and ‘Outside Chance,’ and another composition, ‘She Quit Me,’ was included on the soundtrack for the 1969 film ‘Midnight Cowboy.’

In 1969, he released his first solo album, ‘Wanted Dead or Alive,’ which was produced by cult figure Kim Fowley under the moniker ‘Zevon’. Commercially and critically, the album was a flop.

He toured with the Everly Brothers as keyboard player and musical coordinator in the early 1970s. Later in his career, he toured and recorded with Don and Phil Everly as they pursued solo careers.

In 1975, dissatisfied with his career and short on funds, he relocated to Spain. He performed at David Lindell’s The Dubliner Bar, a small tavern in Sitges, near Barcelona. They collaborated on the composition of ‘Roland the Headless Thompson Gunner’.

His 1980 album, ‘Bad Luck Streak in Dancing School,’ was dedicated to detective novelist Ken Millar, who assisted him in temporarily overcoming his addictions. ‘A Certain Girl’ and ‘Empty-Handed Heart’ were among its modestly successful singles.

Zevon’s 1982 album ‘The Envoy’ was a revival of standards but failed to chart. The title track was inspired by the shuttle diplomacy of American diplomat Philip Habib during Israel’s Lebanon incursion.

Hindu Love Gods was formed in 1984 by members of R.E.M. Zevon and Bryan Cook. The band debuted in Athens, Georgia, with three scattered gigs featuring mostly cover tunes.

Virgin Records released ‘Sentimental Hygiene’ in 1987, which included the singles ‘Reconsider Me’ and ‘Leave My Monkey Alone’.

In 1991, he debuted as a solo artist with the release of ‘Mr. Bad Example,’ which included the modest pop singles ‘Searching for a Heart’ and ‘Things to Do in Denver When You’re Dead’.

In 1995, he self-produced the album ‘Mutineer,’ which featured a cover of cult artist Judee Sill’s ‘Jesus Was a Crossmaker.’ However, the album had the lowest sales of his career.

In 2000, Artemis Records released the moderately successful morality album ‘Life’ll Kill Ya’, which featured the hymn-like ‘Don’t Let Us Get Sick’ and an austere rendition of ‘Back in the High Life Again’.

His 2002 album ‘My Ride’s Here’ featured the single ‘Hit Somebody!’ and the ballad ‘Genius,’ a song whose string section exemplifies Stravinsky’s enduring influence on his work.

In October 2002, he appeared as the sole guest on ‘The Late Show with David Letterman’ for an entire hour. He sang a number of songs and spoke extensively about his illness.

His most recent album, ‘The Wind,’ was released in 2003. The album peaked at number 12 in the United States. Zevon received five posthumous Grammy nominations for the album, which was certified gold by the RIAA.

Significant Works of Warren

Zevon collaborated with Jackson Browne, who produced and promoted Zevon’s major-label debut self-titled album in 1976. The Rolling Stone Record Guide dubbed it a masterpiece, and it featured contributions from a slew of industry heavyweights.

‘Excitable Boy,’ his third album released in 1978, became the best-selling album of his career, featuring tracks such as ‘Excitable Boy and Werewolves of London,’ which some critics deemed macabrely humorous.

Awards and Achievements

He won the Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Folk Album for his album ‘The Wind.’ Zevon and Bruce Springsteen’s performance of Disorder in the House won the Grammy Award for Best Rock Vocal Performance (Group or Duo).

Personal History and Legacies

Zevon was married to Marilyn “Tule” Livingston, the mother of his son Jordan, for a long period of time. He married and divorced Crystal Ann Brelsford, with whom he fathered a daughter, Ariel.

Zevon was a long-term alcoholic and drug addict. He checked himself into an unnamed rehab clinic in Minnesota and withdrew from the music industry for several years before overcoming his issues.

On September 7, 2003, he succumbed to an incurable peritoneal mesothelioma (cancer of the abdominal lining that is associated with exposure to asbestos). He refused treatments that he believed would render him immobile.

Enjoy Every Sandwich: Warren Zevon’s Songs was released in 2004 with Jordan Zevon serving as executive producer and performing “Studebaker,” an unfinished Zevon composition.

Estimated Net Worth

Warren Zevon net worth: At the time of his death, Warren Zevon was an American singer, songwriter, and musician with a net worth of $4 million. Warren Zevon was born in January 1947 in Chicago, Illinois and died in September 2003. In 1969, he released Wanted Dead or Alive, and in 1976, he released his self-titled album.


“Things To Do In Denver When You’re Dead,” one of this American rock musician’s bizarre and dark lyrical songs, was later used as the title of a film.

This rock musician, like his friend Billy Bob Thornton, suffered from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, and they jokingly dubbed themselves The OCD Brothers.