Warren Zevon – Werewolves of London

Warren Zevon was a very clever songwriter. He went were other songwriters don’t often go. This song was off his critically acclaimed album “Excitable Boy” released in 1978. It peaked at #21 in the Billboard 100.

This track was produced by Jackson Browne. The songwriters were LeRoy Marinell, Waddy Wachtel, and Warren Zevon. John McVie and Mick Fleetwood played on this song.

From Songfacts.

Zevon wrote this with guitarist Robert “Waddy” Wachtel. When Zevon was working with The Everly Brothers, he hired Wachtel to play in their backing band. At one point, Phil Everly asked them to write a dance song for the Everly Brothers called “Werewolves Of London.” Wachtel and Zevon were good friends and were strumming guitars together when someone asked what they were playing. Zevon replied, “Werewolves Of London,” and Wachtel started howling. Zevon came up with the line “I saw a werewolf with a Chinese menu in his hand,” and they traded lyrics back and forth until they had their song.

In 2000, a fight broke out while Zevon was performing this at the Bowery Ballroom in New York. Zevon stopped, waited for the fight to end, said “I bet this never happens at Sting concerts,” and continued the song.

Werewolves of London

I saw a werewolf with a Chinese menu in his hand
Walking through the streets of Soho in the rain
He was looking for a place called Lee Ho Fook’s
Gonna get a big dish of beef chow mein

Werewolves of London!
Aaoooooo! (Repeat)

If you hear him howling around your kitchen door
Better not let him in
Little old lady got mutilated late last night
Werewolves of London again

Werewolves of London!
Aaoooooo! (Repeat)

He’s the hairy-handed gent who ran amuck in Kent
Lately he’s been overheard in Mayfair
Better stay away from him
He’ll rip your lungs out, Jim
I’d like to meet his tailor

Werewolves of London!
Aaoooooo! (Repeat)

Well, I saw Lon Chaney walking with the Queen
Doing the Werewolves of London
I saw Lon Chaney, Jr. walking with the Queen
Doing the Werewolves of London
I saw a werewolf drinking a pina colada at Trader Vic’s
And his hair was perfect

Werewolves of London!
Aaoooooo! (Repeat)
Draw blood…

Author: badfinger20 (Max)

Power Pop fan, Baseball fan, old movie and tv show fan... and a songwriter, bass and guitar player.

18 thoughts on “Warren Zevon – Werewolves of London”

  1. Love the song… one of the few novelty songs that stands up to repeated listenings. (Coincidental , novelty songs get a mention in my blog today). Zevon had all the right friends – The Eagles, Linda Ronstadt, Jackson Browne etc – and the talent but not the luck, I guess. I saw him on the ‘Larry Sanders Show’- was funny, the sidekick (Jeffrey Tambor) was a fan of his and was excited Warren was going to do something new, after WZ had said how he hated playing just 1 song over and over…then “LArry” comes out and says something like “Great…but what my viewers really want to hear is that song about werewolves!”

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I honestly don’t know a whole lot of his stuff- I should make an effort to hear more. I stumbled onto the song ‘Mohammad’s Radio’ a few years by him and was dazzled by it…and of course, ‘Poor Poor Pitiful Me’ is pretty good even if it sounds “weird” if Linda’s not singing

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I love Linda but I am hooked on his version now…It’s a different spin on it… The song Excitable boy is one of the darkest I’ve ever heard.


  2. A great song for this time of the year. This is the song that put Warren on my map- gobbled up every album after that [and the previous one} Saw Warren twice – met him once- was a very nice fella the night I got to talk to him.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. That is great that you got to meet him. He seemed like a genuine guy. Just a great writer. Exitable Boy is the song I never get tired of….really I don’t get tired of any of them because they are so different.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. He was unique- wrote songs on subjects no one else would have even thought of. He could have been a great fiction writer I think had he chosen to do that.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. He probably would have been a great one… I’ve said it before but any songwriter who can fit “The cattle all have brucellosis” in a song and make it work…has my respect

        Liked by 1 person

  3. This is brilliant! I don’t really consider it a novelty song, just a snippet of a strange idea that took the form of a song. The way the words “little old lady got mutilated late last night” roll off Zevon’s tongue is pure delight.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Zevon could write the darkest songs but by the music you wouldn’t know…like Excitable Boy. He was a unique songwriter to say the least.


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