Warren Zevon was born in Chicago, Illinois on January 24, 1947. An only child, his father was a russian immigrant and professional gambler whose winnings and losings would cause the family to be in a perpetual state of transiency.
"Because of my father's profession, our situation rose and dropped pretty radically. I remember as a kid that inexplicably the bottom would fall out and we'd be living in a tract house in Fresno. And then for some reason, we'd be living in a hotel in Vegas or a cliff house in Palos Verdes."--W.Zevon
A serious piano student in his youth, Zevon forsook his classical training, took up the guitar and headed to New York to become a folk singer when he was 16. Achieving little success, Zevon returned to California and played in local bands and made a living off of session musician work and writing jingles for commercials. The release of his solo debut album, "Wanted Dead or Alive" achieved little success, and Zevon landed a job as musical director for the Everly Brothers. With the help of longtime friend, Jackson Browne, his second album met with tremendous critical acclaim. Produced by Jackson Browne, the album boasted many of the top LA musicians and singers of the day: Waddy Wachtel, David Lindley, Bonnie Raitt, Carl Wilson, the Eagles, etc. His 1978 follow up, Excitable Boy with Browne back as producer, proved to be a commercial success with the single, "Werewolves of London" charting well.
Although highly respected as a singer and songwriter, Warren Zevon albums were few and far between, and achieved limited commercial success. Following a much publicized bout with alcoholism, he teamed up with R.E.M minus Michael Stipe in 1987 and put out the highly underrated "Sentimental Hygiene" with guest solos by Neil Young, and then several years later the "Hindu Love Gods," a cover album of blues tunes.
In the summer of 2002, Warren Zevon was diagnosed with mesothelioma, an inoperable form of lung cancer, and spent his remaining days working on his final album, "The Wind", with the help of his friends and famous collaborators from throughout his career.
"It's called 'The Wind' because... the first song of significance that I wrote was "Hasten Down The Wind" that Linda Ronstadt recorded. The wind's always been my friend."--W.Zevon
He died a month after its release.
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