He’s tough in his fierce originality, and amazingly creative, and I’m going to write about two good to great albums, a masterpiece, and his magnum opus.
Sentimental Hygiene has the great song “Boom Boom Mancini,” about boxer Ray Mancini, who had more heart and toughness than skill, but was horrified after accidentally killing Korean boxer Duk Koo Kim in the ring, a tragedy that basically ended Mancini’s career. The song sounds like a happy ditty, which messes with your head, knowing it was about the Mancini/Kim tragedy.
The album also has the song “Rehab Mansion,” which sings about raking leaves in the morning and playing golf in the afternoon. Well, I know a guy close to me who had the five days of rehab that wasn’t anything like that: He couldn’t fit in the RV shower and there was no toilet paper. He convinced his heroin-addicted roommate to wait for classes to start so they could steal ass-wipe paper from other rooms. And there’s still those who wonder why people leave so-called “rehab.” How about no shower or butt wipe paper—could you live without them?
The Wind, almost a aural documentary about his death of cancer in 2003, is powerful. But I’ve had friends and family die of cancer almost alone, certainly without Bruce Springsteen to hold their hand.
Zevon’s masterpiece is his self-titled debut album, with great songs like “Frank and Jesse James.” But his magnum opus is his second album, Excitable Boy.
With its title-cut, hilarious “Werewolves of London,” and especially its best song, “Lawyers, Guns, and Money,” it’s an album you need to own.