Warren Zevon – Poor Poor Pitiful Me

I love this song. Not many songs deal with a failed suicide, domestic abuse, and a brush with sadomasochism. I’m a huge Warren Zevon fan. His songs tend to be on the dark side…and anyone who has listened to Excitable Boy will testify to that.

When I heard Zevon’s version of this song for the first time I was sold. I first heard the Linda Ronstadt version and I loved it. I’m a Linda Ronstadt fan but something about Zevon’s version draws me in. It’s raw and crude and I love the way he sings it.

Zevon wrote and recorded the song and it appeared on his self-titled album in 1976. It became a hit when Linda Ronstadt covered it the next year. She cleaned up the song a little. Ronstadt’s cover was a cleaned-up version with the gender reversed. Still, her character fails at suicide, but the S&M (sadomasochism) references are gone.

Like other Zevon songs this is a pretty crude and risqué song. His character is such a disaster that he can’t even kill himself: he puts his head on the railroad tracks, but the train doesn’t run anymore.

I met a girl at the rainbow bar
She asked me if I’d beat her
She took me back to the hired house
I don’t wanna talk about it, hut

It’s thought that the song was a friendly swipe at Jackson Browne, whose songs such as “Here Come Those Tears Again” and “Sleep’s Dark and Silent Gate” from The Pretender could be quite dark. The album was produced by Jackson Browne and had backing vocals by Lindsey Buckingham.

Another hit cover version of the song was recorded by Canadian country singer Terri Clark in 1996. It peaked at #1 in the Canadian Country Charts and #5 in the Billboard Country Charts.

Poor Poor Pitiful Me

I lay my head on the railroad tracks
I’m waiting on the double E
The railroad don’t run no more
Poor poor pitiful me

Poor poor pitiful me and poor poor pitiful me
These young girls won’t let me be
Lord have mercy on me, woe is me

Well I met a girl in West Hollywood
Well I ain’t naming names
But she really worked me over good
She was just like Jesse James

She really worked me over good
She was a credit to her gender
She put me through some changes Lord
Sort of like a waring blender

Poor poor pitiful me, poor poor pitiful me
These young girls won’t let me be
Lord have mercy on me, woe is me

Poor poor pitiful me and poor poor pitiful me
Oh these girls won’t let me be
Lord have mercy on me, woe is me

I met a girl at the rainbow bar
She asked me if I’d beat her
She took me back to the hired house
I don’t wanna talk about it, hut

Poor poor pitiful me
Poor poor pitiful me
Hut, never mind
Poor poor pitiful me
Yeah poor poor pitiful me

Warren Zevon – Play It All Night Long

 

Play It All Night Long

Grandpa pissed his pants again
He don’t give a damn
Brother Billy has both guns drawn
He ain’t been right since Vietnam

“Sweet home Alabama”
Play that dead band’s song
Turn those speakers up full blast
Play it all night long

Daddy’s doing Sister Sally
Grandma’s dying of cancer now
The cattle all have brucellosis
We’ll get through somehow

“Sweet Home Alabama”
Play that dead band’s song
Turn those speakers up full blast
Play it all night long

I’m going down to the Dew Drop Inn
See if I can drink enough
There ain’t much to country living
Sweat, piss, jizz and blood

“Sweet Home Alabama”
Play that dead band’s song
Turn those speakers up full blast
Play it all night long

Warren Zevon – Lawyers, Guns and Money

This song is on the great album Excitable Boy released in 1978. The album peaked at #8 in the Billboard 100. it was Zevon’s highest-ranking album.

Zevon once stated in an interview that this was based on a true story. Zevon and his manager were partying in Mexico when the “party” decided to take to the road and it looked liked it was “about to hit the fan.” Zevon’s manager feigned a phone call: “Send lawyers.” Zevon jumped in: “And guns… and money.”

I’ve always liked Zevon’s dark songs with a sense of humor. Warren Zevon’s universe contains a lot of colorful characters.

From Songfacts

This is about a troubled youth visiting Cuba who writes home to his father for help.

The reference to “I’m hiding in Honduras” may refer to the short exile of famous American short story writer O. Henry (Will Porter). In 1894, while working as a bank teller in Austin, Texas, Porter embezzled $5,000. He fled to New Orleansand then Honduras to avoid prosecution. At that time, US companies began their major export of Bananas from Honduras to the US, so the New Orleans-Honduras route was a well traveled one. Porter stayed in Honduras 11 months but returned to Austin to be near his terminally ill wife. He was arrested an served time in jail. 

 This was used as the theme song for producer Jerry Bruckheimer’s short-lived TV series Justice.

Lawyers, Guns and Money

I went home with a waitress the way I always do
How was I to know she was with the Russians, too?

I was gambling in Havana, I took a little risk
Send lawyers, guns, and money
Dad, get me out of this, hiya!

An innocent bystander
Somehow I got stuck between a rock and a hard place
And I’m down on my luck
Yes, I’m down on my luck
Well, I’m down on my luck

I’m hiding in Honduras, I’m a desperate man
Send lawyers, guns, and money
The shit has hit the fan

Send lawyers, guns, and money
Send lawyers, guns, and money

Send lawyers, guns, and money, hiya!
Send lawyers, guns, and money, ow!

Warren Zevon – Keep Me In Your Heart

The song can bring tears to your eyes while watching the video. Zevon recorded this when he knew he was dying and it is a touching song. The song was off of the album The Wind which peaked #12 in the Billboard 200 album charts in 2003.

This was the final song Zevon wrote and recorded before dying of mesothelioma (a form of lung cancer) in September of 2003. This was also the only song on Zevon’s final album The Wind that he wrote entirely after learning of his terminal illness. With the exception of the cover of “Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door,” all of the remaining songs on the album were songs Zevon had already at least started writing beforehand.

Zevon saved the recording of this song for last. His deteriorating health rendered him too weak to continue commuting to the studio where the other tracks had been recorded, so he had a makeshift studio set up at his home to record this song.

 

 

Keep Me In Your Heart

Shadows are fallin’ and I’m runnin’ out of breath
Keep me in your heart for a while
If I leave you it doesn’t mean I love you any less
Keep me in your heart for a while

When you get up in the mornin’ and you see that crazy sun
Keep me in your heart for a while
There’s a train leavin’ nightly called “When All is Said and Done”
Keep me in your heart for a while

Keep me in your heart for a while

Keep me in your heart for a while

Sometimes when you’re doin’ simple things around the house
Maybe you’ll think of me and smile
You know I’m tied to you like the buttons on your blouse
Keep me in your heart for a while

Hold me in your thoughts
Take me to your dreams
Touch me as I fall into view
When the winter comes
Keep the fires lit
And I will be right next to you

Engine driver’s headed north up to Pleasant Stream
Keep me in your heart for a while
These wheels keep turnin’ but they’re runnin’ out of steam
Keep me in your heart for a while

Keep me in your heart for a while

Keep me in your heart for a while

Keep me in your heart for a while

 

 

 

Warren Zevon – Excitable Boy

Maybe the darkest pop song that I know. You first hear this song and it sounds cheery until you pay attention to the lyrics. I must admit I love the song because it’s just so different. The upbeat happy music with Linda Ronstadt on backing vocals is very catchy and then Warren tells the story and it ends up very dark, to say the least.

When I first paid attention to it…I was shocked and listened to it over and over to make sure I was hearing the lyrics right…No he couldn’t be singing this right? Warren had a dark sense of humor and it shows on this.

The song was not released as a single. The album peaked at #8 in the Billboard 100. Werewolves of London was the hit off of the album. It is perhaps Zevon’s best album.

 

 Excitable Boy
Well, he went down to dinner in his Sunday best
Excitable boy, they all said
And he rubbed the pot roast all over his chest
Excitable boy, they all said

He took in the four a.m. show at the Clark
Excitable boy, they all said
And he bit the usherette’s leg in the dark
Excitable boy, they all said
Well, he’s just an excitable boy

He took little Suzie to the Junior Prom
Excitable boy, they all said
And he raped her and killed her, then he took her home
Excitable boy, they all said
Well, he’s just an excitable boy
After ten long years they let him out of the home
Excitable boy, they all said
And he dug up her grave and built a cage with her bones
Excitable boy, they all said
Well, he’s just an excitable boy

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

Aaoooooo!
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

Asoooooo!
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

Aaoooooo!
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

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