[[quoteright:350:[[FunnyAneurysmMoment http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/Warren_Zevon_2590.jpg]]]]

->''"I'm insane. I'm fucked up. I have problems. But I don't get depressed and I don't get bored."''

Warren Zevon (1947-2003) was a Southern California singer-songwriter who had one big hit in the late 1970s with "Werewolves of London" and a cult following. Friend to Creator/HunterSThompson, he was the only known student of Music/IgorStravinsky ever to break the top forty.

The list of songs he wrote for other artists is long, and may contain surprises. He wrote songs for artists ranging from Music/TheTurtles to Music/{{Prince}} to Music/LindaRonstadt to Music/BruceSpringsteen, in styles from rock to country to punk. In interviews he often described himself as a "heavy metal folk singer."

In 2002, just as he was in the middle of a commercial and critical comeback while touring for his album ''My Ride's Here'', he was diagnosed with mesothelioma and was given months to live. He recorded the critically acclaimed album ''The Wind'' in 2003, and died a month after its release.

He's often described as a OneHitWonder, though this isn't actually true. Two of his songs ("Werewolves of London" and a cover of "A Certain Girl") made the Billboard Hot 100 (and "Leave My Monkey Alone" got up to #12 on the Dance/Club list), two of his albums (''A Quiet Normal Life'' and ''The Wind'') went gold, and another (''Excitable Boy'') went platinum. He also won two UsefulNotes/{{Grammy Award}}s [[DeadArtistsAreBetter posthumously]]. These days, though, "Werewolves" [[NeverLiveItDown is all anybody remembers]].

As usual, you can find the basics at [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Warren_Zevon The Other Wiki]].

!!!"Dirty Life and Tropes":

* AddedAlliterativeAppeal: Several of his songs have alliterative lines.
** "Werewolves of London:"
---> '''''L'''ittle o'''l'''d '''l'''ady got muti'''l'''ated '''l'''ate '''l'''ast night''
---> ''Werewo'''l'''ves of '''L'''ondon again''
** "Roland the Headless Thompson Gunner:"
---> ''The '''d'''eal was made in '''D'''enmark''
---> ''On a '''d'''ark and stormy '''d'''ay''
** "The French Inhaler:"
--->''How you gonna make your '''w'''ay in the '''w'''orld, '''w'''oman,''
--->'''''W'''hen you '''w'''eren't cut out for '''w'''orking?''
* AntiLoveSong: "Looking for the Next Best Thing", "Nobody's In Love This Year", "Finishing Touches", "Angel Dressed in Black"... Zevon wrote quite a few of these.
* BlackComedy: Which could sum up a lot of Zevon's career in general. See such classics as "Excitable Boy," "Roland the Headless Thompson Gunner," "Mr. Bad Example," and others.
** Discussing his inoperable, fatal cancer: "I may have made a tactical error in not going to a physician for 20 years."
** "Excitable Boy", perhaps, but "Roland" is hardly comedic, despite the ironic nature of how he settles his score. [[spoiler: Roland's supernaturally reanimated corpse stalks all of Africa for the man who blew his head off. When he finds him, he blows the man's entire BODY away.]]
* [[TheCameo Celebrity Cameo]]: Creator/DavidLetterman says "Hit somebody" in the chorus of "Hit Somebody (The Hockey Song)".
* CensoredTitle: The song "My Shit's Fucked Up" wasn't listed on the back of the CD case for ''Life'll Kill Ya.''
* ClusterFBomb: "My Shit's Fucked Up," off of "Life'll Kill Ya."
* ConceptAlbum: ''Transverse City,'' a {{Cyberpunk}} vision set about TwentyMinutesIntoTheFuture.
* CorruptCorporateExecutive: The junk bond king in "Seminole Bingo"
* CrapsackWorld: "The Indifference of Heaven," ''Transverse City,'' ''Life'll Kill Ya,''... a recurring theme in his work, especially on his last few albums.
* CreatorBreakdown[=/=]RealLifeWritesThePlot: Zevon was a very personal songwriter. Many of his songs reflect his romantic feelings ("Reconsider Me," "Searching For A Heart"), his issues with drugs and alcohol ("Desperados Under The Eaves," "Trouble Waiting To Happen"), his experiences with Los Angeles and California in general ("Carmelita", most of ''Transverse City'' possibly). Of course, the man had a sense of humour, so this is [[LampshadeHanging lampshaded]] frequently (see "Poor Poor Pitiful Me," "Bad Karma," "Mr. Bad Example," etc.).
* DeadArtistsAreBetter: His only Grammys were awarded after his death.
* DeathSong: "Something Bad Happened to a Clown," among others.
* DeepSouth: "Renegade"
* DownerEnding: Many of his songs and his death at 56.
* DrugsAreBad: "Carmelita"
* EscapeArtist: From "For My Next Trick, I'll Need a Volunteer":
-->"Put me in chains and I will escape"
* EverythingsBetterWithMonkeys: "Gorilla, You're a Desperado".
** Also, "Leave My Monkey Alone" and "Monkey Wash Donkey Rinse." [[InNameOnly Sorta.]]
* FragileSpeedster: Deconstructed in "Boom Boom Mancini."
--->''Some have the speed and the right combinations;''
--->''If you can't take the punches, it don't mean a thing.''
* TheGambler: The title character in "Mama Couldn't Be Persuaded" is discouraged from marrying one, but does anyway. It doesn't turn out well.
** Also, "Seminole Bingo" and "Lawyers, Guns, and Money"
* HeavyMeta: "Mohammed's Radio", "Johnny Strikes Up the Band", "Piano Fighter"
* IWantMyBelovedToBeHappy: "She's Too Good For Me."
* UsefulNotes/IceHockey: "Hit Somebody (The Hockey Song)"
* LaserGuidedKarma: "Bad Karma"
* LifeWillKillYou: Well, yes. His 2000 album was even ''called'' ''Life'll Kill Ya.''
* LiveAlbum: ''Stand in the Fire'' and ''Learning to Flinch''
* LongTitle:
** "Backs Turned, Looking Down the Path"
** "Bad Luck Streak in Dancing School"
** "For My Next Trick, I'll Need a Volunteer"
** "Looking for the Next Best Thing"
** "Even a Dog Can Shake Hands"
** "Roland the Headless Thompson Gunner"
** "Things to Do in Denver When You're Dead"
** "Something Bad Happened to a Clown"
** "I Was in the House When the House Burned Down"
** "You're a Whole Different Person When You're Scared"
* UsefulNotes/LosAngeles: "Join Me in L.A." is just the start.
* MagicPants: In "Werewolves of London":
-->''Huh, I'd like to meet his tailor''
* UsefulNotes/TheMexicanRevolution: The subject of "Veracruz".
* MistakenNationality: Often mistaken for being a Brit due to his hit song's subject matter.
* NoExportForYou : For ''many'' years, many of Zevon's albums were unavaliable in different parts of the world, particularly Europe, for different reasons. Thankfully, this was largely changed in the 2000s when previously rare albums were finally released... ''with bonus tracks''.
* ObligatoryBondageSong: "Hostage-O." "Poor Poor Pitiful Me" almost veers into this, but the narrator abruptly cuts off and says he doesn't want to talk about it.
* OdeToSobriety: "Detox Mansion"
* OneWomanSong:
** "A Bullet for Ramona"
** "Carmelita"
** "Suzie Lightning"
* OurWerewolvesAreDifferent: In "Werewolves of London" they satisfy their meat cravings at Chinese restaurants.
** Not exclusively. They still [[spoiler:mutilate little old ladies]] and will [[spoiler:rip your lungs out]] if they get the chance. More a matter of a somewhat broader diet than a human-friendly one.
*** Also, [[spoiler:Lee Ho Fook's]] doesn't sell beef chow mein[[spoiler:, so some think it is people after all]]
* {{Outlaw}}: "Frank and Jesse James"
* PersonaNonGrata: In "Lord Byrons Luggage":
-->"They pronounced me persona non grata\\
Goes to show that you can't come and go as you please"
* [[PrecisionFStrike Precision S Strike]]:
-->''Send lawyers, guns, and money\\
The shit has hit the fan''
* PrivateMilitaryContractors: "Roland the Headless Thompson Gunner", "Jungle Work"
* ProductionPosse: They didn't all show up on every album, but you can reasonably expect the following names to show up in the credits: Music/JacksonBrowne, Waddy Wachtel, Jorge Calderón, David Lindley, J.D. Souther, at least one [[Music/{{Eagles}} Eagle]] (usually Glenn Frey, but sometimes almost the entire band), at least one member of Music/FleetwoodMac, and, in the later ones, his son Jordan Zevon.
* PullARabbitOutOfMyHat: Mentioned in "For My Next Trick, I'll Need a Volunteer"
* SanitySlippage: "Basket Case"
* SawAWomanInHalf: Mentioned in "For My Next Trick, I'll Need a Volunteer"
* SelfTitledAlbum: His 1976 major label debut.
* ShoutOut: "Johnny Strikes Up the Band" is reportedly a tribute to Music/EltonJohn.
** The ''Stand in the Fire'' live version of "Werewolves of London" has a couple, if only in passing. Some of these are quotable in Zevon fan communities.
--> "You'd better stay from him, he'll rip your lungs out Jim, [[SugarWiki/MomentOfAwesome AND HE'S LOOKING FOR JAMES TAYLOR]]."
*** He also would throw in "Look out Creator/MichellePfeiffer, I'm coming for you!"
** "Excitable Boy" has a disturbing one. The name of the eponymous boy's victim is "Little Susie." Zevon had previously been in the Everly Brothers' road band.
** [[CasualtyInTheRing "Boom Boom Mancini"]]
** The "So I pawned my Smith-Corona[[note]]A brand of typewriter[[/note]]" in "Carmelita" is a reference to ''Film/TheLostWeekend.''
** The "Norman" mentioned at the end of "The French Inhaler" is Creator/NormanMailer.
* SomethingBlues: "Tule's Blues", "Rottweiler Blues"
* SurrealMusicVideo: [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VXQDpW-kl8g Leave My Monkey Alone]].
* TakeThat: Zevon may have had a grudge against Music/TalkingHeads. Not only did he title a song "I Was in the House When the House Burned Down", but in his song "The Overdraft" (mocking the Talking Heads's gloomy "The Overload"), the singer is paranoid and on the run much like in the Heads' "Life During Wartime" -- except in Zevon's song, the guy is on the lam [[spoiler:because of a bounced check]].
** The entirety of "Porcelain Monkey" is one against [[Music/ElvisPresley Elvis]] .
** "Play It All Night Long" is one to the DeepSouth (though it [[CrossesTheLineTwice may be a]] StealthParody) and also references Music/LynyrdSkynyrd.
-->"Sweet home Alabama\\
Play that dead band's song\\
Turn those speakers up full blast\\
Play it all night long"
* TechnologyMarchesOn: From "Networking" on 1989's ''Transverse City'':
-->"Networking, I am user friendly\\
Networking, I install with ease\\
Data processed, truly Basic\\
I will upload you, you can download me"
* {{Theremin}}: Plays one on "Porcelain Monkey"
* UnwantedHarem: "Poor Poor Pitiful Me"
* VillainSong: "Mr. Bad Example"
* VillainWithGoodPublicity: "Model Citizen"
* [[MeanCharacterNiceActor Writer of Mean Characters, Nice Songwriter]]: He was very polite to fans.