Yesterday, it was the seven-year anniversary of Warren Zevon’s death. The sardonic and ebullient musician whose hilarious, but sometimes abstruse lyrical gifts still grace classic rock stations and my iPod alike, died September 7, 2003 at the age of 56. Zevon’s brand of hard piano-rock and his active playing and performance style combined to mold a wonderful musician. One, who was taken from the world a little too early.
I have always been a big fan of his final album The Wind. I love this album for two reasons. First, the music is just great. Look at the cast of musicians who contributed. Bruce Springsteen, Bob Dylan, Don Henley, David Lindley, Jackson Browne, Tom Petty…the list continues. Seriously, where else can you find a collaboration like this. But, underneath the track listing is the reason why all of these artists came to the studio to record with Zevon. A goodbye. The solemn undertone that marks the farewell album (the album was recorded early 2003 and released only two weeks before his death) is quaint. Yes, it is quite apparent in the conclusion of the album, “Keep me in Your Heart,” an acoustic tear-jerker that emits a beautiful austerity and is carried by Zevon’s known, raspy and crispy croon. But, for the focus of this post, I would like to explore “The Rest of the Night,” track eight on the album.
Enjoy the video above? Zevon adds Tom Petty as a backing vocalist and their combination begets this magical piece with a well-done guitar riff and excellent, germane lyrics. Because, even in the face of his illness, Zevon stayed true to his being. This album allowed him to toss out the conventions of how to act in the face of death. Instead of using his mortality as a sobbing crutch, he focused his attention on music and partying on this album with his friends. This is a valiant album and Zevon portrayed the true dogged, indomitable sonofabitch he is. Keep on partying, Warren.
And, to all my Jewish bretheren, a very happy and healthy new year!