I decided to throw up a quick 45 write-up today as I wasn’t too thrilled with having to do another compilation of familiar songs. I threw my computer some random number strings and it spit back Warren Zevon at me – “Werewolves of London” to be precise. My girlfriend witnessed my selection and proclaimed loudly, “Uggh! I hate that song!” I guess I’m listening to this one with headphones.
The 45″ itself is an Elekra/Asylum “Spun Gold” release with a branded sleeve. It’s perfect for the jukebox I one day hope to own, but a picture sleeve original would be much better for my collection.
I popped the seven-incher on the platter and popped the needle down. Immediately, I noticed something off. Why, this is the LIVE version of the song. I’m looking all over the label and no mention is made of it not being the standard version found on Excitable Boy. I’m not too upset. I’ve heard the original so many times it’s nice to hear it as-performed for a crowd of fans. And Mr. Zevon sounded like he had a blast performing this: replacing London at one point with L.A. (assuming this to be the location where it was recorded) and Lon Chacey, Jr. (from the lyric “Well, I saw Lon Chaney walking with the Queen”) with producer Jackson Browne to the excited howls of the audience.
And I still can’t understand why my girlfriend hates it. It’s a fun song with amusing lyrics (e.g. “I saw a werewolf with a Chinese menu in his hand.”) Maybe it’s all the “AH-OOOOH’s.” She hates Blur’s “Song Number 2” for the same reason.
The B-Side to this unexpectedly live single is the closing track to Excitable Boy, “Lawyers, Guns and Money”. This track is also performed live and is just as catchy and memorable as Werewolves, save for the fact they audibly bleeped the word “shit” from the performance. It’s a shame, considering the reason for the lawyers, the guns and money is because “the shit hit the fan”, as Warren explains in the lyrics. You get the gist, but it’s neutered all the same.
Having never joined the “Warren Zevon bandwagon” (as my local record store so eloquently put it in the advertising for his last album) when his was diagnosed with terminal cancer back in 2002, I have little knowledge of his music. But after hearing “Lawyers, Guns and Money”, I think I may enjoy the rest of his output. Zevon’s on my list for my next record buying excursion.