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The story of 'Werewolves of London' by Warren Zevon

'Werewolves of London' was a 1978 hit for American rock singer-songwriter Warren Zevon. The song was part of the album 'Excitable Boy' and featured input from a number of famous names from the musical era. Read on to find out all about the story of the song 'Werewolves of London'.

About the artist

Born January 24th 1947, Warren Zevon was an American musician famous for writing and composing songs which feature cynical and humorous content. At the height of his career, he was adored by fellow musicians. After his death in 2003, he left a legacy of songs, including 'Werewolves of London', 'Roland the Headless' , 'Thompson Gunner' and 'Johnny Strikes Up the Band'. During his career, Zevon recorded 13 studio albums. The last album recorded,'The Wind', received five posthumous Grammy nominations and three Grammy awards- ironically the first ones of Zevon’s career.

'Werewolves of London'

Released in 1978, Warren Zevon’s 'Werewolves of London' became a signature tune of the artist and his only single to break into the American Top 40. The song was composed by Zevon himself alongside Leroy Marinell and Waddy Wachtel. It featured John McVie on bass and Mick Fleetwood on drums. Both were former members of the Fleetwood Mac. The song is admired for Zevon’s trademark wit. 'Werewolves of London' 's lyrics such as “Well, I saw Lon Chaney walkin’ with the Queen / Doin the werewolves of London” and “I saw a werewolf drinking a pina colada at Trader’s Vic”, became synonymous with the artist. The amusing lyrics are accompanied by Zevon’s howling werewolf cry, “Aaahooo.”

Cover versions

Since its release, 'Werewolves of London' has been interpreted by artists on many occasions and stretching across a wide range of genres. In 1975, even before its official release, the song was frequently performed by Bob Dylan’s 'Rolling Thunder Revue' concert tour. In the same year, Jackson Brown sang it for a WMMR live radio show. 'The Grateful Dead' are known to be great fans of the song and often include it in their Halloween performances. In 1988, David Lindley recorded a version which was influenced by ska reggae. Other artists, including Dexys Midnight Runners, the Doves and Kid Rock have all sampled parts of the song for their own releases.

Final word

For more information on Warren Zevon and 'Werewolves of London', visit the musician’s official website at Warrenzevon.com.

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