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Genius: Best of Warren Zevon

4.6 out of 5 stars 110 customer reviews

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Product Description

A celebrated rock singer, piano player, and writer with a gift for dramatic, cinematic, and often humorous story-songs, Warren Zevon was born in Chicago in 1947, but primarily raised in California and Arizona, the son of a professional gambler. Warren studied piano as a kid, and played his first L.A. sessions in his late teens. He cut his first sides as half of a duo, then cut a criminally ignored solo album in 1969, and toured with the Everly Brothers band in the early '70s before heading to Spain to take some time off. Meanwhile, Zevon's songs were introduced to millions of rock fans when Linda Ronstadt covered several of them, including "Hasten Down The Wind" and "Poor Poor Pitiful Me." In 1976 Jackson Browne persuaded Warren to record a new album of his own material, and Zevon's eponymous album for Asylum was a hit with critics who hailed his hard-edged sound and lyrical bite. The Top 40 hit single "Werewolves Of London," from the 1978 follow-up Excitable Boy, expanded his cult following to national proportions. Since then, Zevon has recorded a dozen more albums chronicling the adventure of various colorful characters, himself included. In 1996 we relased the Elektra/Rhino 2-CD I'll Sleep When I'm Dead: An Anthology, covering his career up till then. Now we've compiled GENIUS: THE BEST OF WARREN ZEVON, the definitive single-CD survey of Zevon's very best work up through the present-22 songs that earned him rock 'n' roll notoriety and the respect of his peers.

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On the evidence of this 22-track career overview, it's tempting to call Warren Zevon's oeuvre a monument of pop-music dichotomy. But that assessment would sorely shortchange Zevon's vast catalog of contradictions: the sentimental songwriter ("Hasten Down the Wind") with a nihilistic heart of darkness who makes the likes of Jello Biafra seem more like Raffi by comparison; the shrewd, successful tunesmith nonetheless laboring in service of vintage psycho-whack like "Roland the Headless Thompson Gunner," "Excitable Boy," and "Werewolves of London"; a man who consorted with Jackson Browne, Linda Ronstadt, and R.E.M. ("Boom Boom Mancini") and yet who still cheated the devil of his soul; a satirist with the keen eye of a marksman--or Randy Newman, for that matter--who somehow let his own demise get the jump on him, despite having written prescient jollities like "Mr. Bad Example" and Life'll Kill Ya. In short, Zevon walked it like he talked it, peril be damned. If he felt like turning in a straight-up take of the R&B chestnut "A Certain Girl," or lumbering inexplicably through Prince's "Raspberry Beret," only then to turn on a dime and indulge his classical pretenses on "Mutineer" and "Genius," so be it. Zevon just couldn't help himself from living up to this album's modest title. --Jerry McCulley

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Poor Poor Pitiful Me
  2. The French Inhaler
  3. Carmelita
  4. Hasten Down The Wind
  5. Werewolves Of London
  6. Roland The Headless Thompson Gunner
  7. Excitable Boy
  8. Lawyers, Guns And Money
  9. Interlude No. 1/Play It all Night Long (Medley)
  10. A Certain Girl
  11. Looking For The Next Best Thing
  12. Detox Mansion
  13. Reconsider Me (Single Version)
  14. Boom Boom Mancini
  15. Splendid Isolation
  16. Raspberry Beret - Hindu Love Gods
  17. Searching for A Heart
  18. Things To Do In Denver When You're Dead
  19. Mr. Bad Example
  20. Mutineer
  21. I Was In The House When The House Burned Down
  22. Genius


Product details

  • Audio CD (October 15, 2002)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Elektra / Rhino
  • ASIN: B00006LA4I
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars 110 customer reviews
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #21,827 in CDs & Vinyl (See Top 100 in CDs & Vinyl)
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