Excitable Boy

Excitable Boy is the third studio album by American musician Warren Zevon. The album was released on January 18, 1978, by Asylum Records. It includes the single "Werewolves of London", which reached No. 21 and remained in the American Top 40 for six weeks. The album brought Zevon to commercial attention and remains the best-selling album of his career. A remastered and expanded edition was released in 2007.[4]

Excitable Boy
Excitable Boy cover
Studio album by
ReleasedJanuary 18, 1978
Recorded1977
StudioThe Sound Factory, Los Angeles
GenreRock
Length31:29
LabelAsylum
ProducerJackson Browne, Waddy Wachtel
Warren Zevon chronology
Warren Zevon
(1976)
Excitable Boy
(1978)
Bad Luck Streak in Dancing School
(1980)
Singles from Excitable Boy
  1. "Johnny Strikes Up the Band"
    Released: 1978
  2. "Excitable Boy"
    Released: 1978
  3. "Werewolves of London"
    Released: 1978
  4. "Nighttime in the Switching Yard"
    Released: 1978
  5. "Lawyers, Guns and Money"
    Released: 1978
Professional ratings
Review scores
SourceRating
AllMusic4/5 stars[1]
Christgau's Record GuideA–[2]
Music Box4/5 stars[3]
PopMatters9/10[4]
Rolling Stone(favorable)[5]

Music and lyrics

"Excitable Boy" and "Werewolves of London" were considered macabrely humorous by some critics.[4] The historical "Veracruz" dramatizes the United States occupation of Veracruz; likewise, "Roland the Headless Thompson Gunner" is a fictionalized account of former mercenary David Lindell's experiences in Africa. "Lawyers, Guns and Money" is a tongue-in-cheek tale of a young American man's adventures in Cold War-era Latin America. In addition, there are two ballads about life and relationships ("Accidentally Like a Martyr" and "Tenderness on the Block"), as well as the funk/disco-inspired "Nighttime in the Switching Yard".

Critical reception

Reviewing in Christgau's Record Guide: Rock Albums of the Seventies (1981), Robert Christgau wrote: "The further these songs get from Ronstadtland, the more I like them. The four that exorcise male psychoses by mock celebration are positively addictive, the two uncomplicated rockers do the job, and two of the purely 'serious' songs get by. But no one has yet been able to explain to me what 'accidentally like a martyr' might mean—answers dependent on the term 'Dylanesque' are not acceptable—and I have no doubt that that's the image Linda will home in on. After all, is she going to cover the one about the headless gunner?"[2]

Track listing

No.TitleWriter(s)Length
1."Johnny Strikes Up the Band"Warren Zevon2:49
2."Roland the Headless Thompson Gunner"David Lindell, Zevon3:47
3."Excitable Boy"LeRoy Marinell, Zevon2:40
4."Werewolves of London"Waddy Wachtel, Marinell, Zevon3:27
5."Accidentally Like a Martyr"Zevon3:37
6."Nighttime in the Switching Yard"Jorge Calderón, Lindell, Wachtel, Zevon4:15
7."Veracruz"Calderón, Zevon3:30
8."Tenderness on the Block"Jackson Browne, Zevon3:55
9."Lawyers, Guns and Money"Zevon3:29

Personnel

Additional personnel

  • Karla Bonoff – harmony vocals on "Accidentally Like a Martyr"
  • Jackson Browne – guitar, harmony and backing vocals
  • Luis Damian – jarana on "Veracruz"
  • Kenny Edwards – bass on "Veracruz", "Tenderness on the Block" and "Lawyers, Guns and Money"
  • John McVie - bass on "Werewolves of London"
  • Mick Fleetwooddrums on "Werewolves of London"
  • The Gentlemen Boys (Jackson Browne, Jorge Calderón, Kenny Edwards, J. D. Souther and Waddy Wachtel) – backing and harmony vocals
  • Arthur Gerst – Mexican harp
  • Bob Glaub – bass on "Roland the Headless Gunner", "Excitable Boy" and "Nighttime in the Switching Yard"
  • Jim Hornrecorder on "Veracruz"; saxophone on "Excitable Boy"
  • Greg Ladanyi – bells on "Nighttime in the Switching Yard"
  • Rick Marotta – drums on "Veracruz" and "Lawyers, Guns and Money"
  • Jeff Porcaro – drums and percussion on "Nighttime in the Switching Yard"
  • Linda Ronstadt – backing and harmony vocals on "Excitable Boy"
  • Leland Sklar – bass on "Johnny Strikes Up The Band" and "Accidentally Like a Martyr"
  • J.D. Souther – backing and harmony vocals
  • Manuel Vasquez – requinto on "Veracruz"
  • Waddy Wachtel – guitar, synthesizer, harmony and backing vocals
  • Jennifer Warnes – harmony vocals on "Excitable Boy"

Charts

Album

Year Chart Position
1978 Billboard Pop Albums 8

Singles

Year Single Chart Position
1978 "Werewolves of London" Billboard Pop Singles 21

Certifications

Organization Level Date
RIAA – U.S. Gold April 17, 1978
CRIA – Canada Gold June 1, 1978
RIAA – U.S. Platinum November 7, 1997

References

  1. ^ Mark Deming. "Excitable Boy - Warren Zevon | Songs, Reviews, Credits". AllMusic. Retrieved October 23, 2015.
  2. ^ a b Christgau, Robert (1981). "Consumer Guide '70s: Z". Christgau's Record Guide: Rock Albums of the Seventies. Ticknor & Fields. ISBN 089919026X. Retrieved March 23, 2019 – via robertchristgau.com.
  3. ^ John Metzger. "Warren Zevon - Excitable Boy (Album Review)". Musicbox-online.com. Retrieved October 23, 2015.
  4. ^ a b c  . "Warren Zevon: Excitable Boy". PopMatters. Retrieved October 23, 2015.
  5. ^ (Posted: Mar 23, 1978) (March 23, 1978). "Warren Zevon: Excitable Boy : Music Reviews : Rolling Stone". Web.archive.org. Archived from the original on June 2, 2008. Retrieved October 23, 2015.
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Lawyers, Guns and Money

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The lyrics describe going home with a waitress who is "with the Russians, too". The narrative goes on to speak of "gambling in Havana", with the request that "Dad" send "lawyers, guns and money " to "get me out of this". The lyrics then claim that the speaker is an "innocent bystander" who is down on his luck. Finally, the narrative relates that the speaker is "hiding in Honduras" and that he is a "desperate man." The lyrics repeat the refrain to "send lawyers, guns and money", with the final comment that "the shit has hit the fan."

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Zevon's second live album, it featured three new songs ("Worrier King," "Piano Fighter" and "The Indifference of Heaven").

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"Roland the Headless Thompson Gunner" is a song composed by Warren Zevon and David Lindell and performed by Zevon. It was first released on Zevon's 1978 album Excitable Boy. It was the last song that he ever performed in front of an audience, on The Late Show with David Letterman, before his death in 2003.

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Warren Zevon

Warren William Zevon (; January 24, 1947 – September 7, 2003) was an American rock singer-songwriter and musician.

Zevon's most famous compositions include "Werewolves of London", "Lawyers, Guns and Money", "Roland the Headless Thompson Gunner" and "Johnny Strikes Up the Band", all of which are featured on his third album, Excitable Boy (1978), whose title track is also well-known. He also wrote major hits that were recorded by other artists, including "Poor Poor Pitiful Me", "Accidentally Like a Martyr", "Mohammed's Radio", "Carmelita", and "Hasten Down the Wind". Along with his own work, he recorded or performed occasional covers, including Allen Toussaint's "A Certain Girl", Bob Dylan's "Knockin' on Heaven's Door", Leonard Cohen's "First We Take Manhattan", Steve Winwood's "Back in the High Life Again", and Prince's "Raspberry Beret".

Initially successful as a band leader, Zevon struggled to have a solo career until his music was performed by Linda Ronstadt. This launched a cult following that lasted for 25 years, with Zevon making occasional returns to album and single charts until his death from cancer in 2003. He briefly found a new audience in the 1980s by teaming up with members of R.E.M. in the blues rock outfit Hindu Love Gods.

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Warren Zevon (album)

Warren Zevon is the second studio album by American musician Warren Zevon. This album was recorded in 1975 and released on May 10, 1976, by Asylum Records. A remastered version of the album with special bonus tracks was released in 2008 by Rhino Records.

Warren Zevon discography

This article lists the discography of American Rock singer-songwriter and musician Warren Zevon.

Werewolves of London

"Werewolves of London" is a rock song performed by American singer-songwriter Warren Zevon. It was composed by Zevon, LeRoy Marinell and Waddy Wachtel and was included on Excitable Boy (1978), Zevon's third solo album. The track featured Fleetwood Mac's Mick Fleetwood and John McVie on drums and bass respectively. The single was released by Asylum Records and was a top 40 US hit, the only one of Zevon's career, reaching No. 21 on the Billboard Hot 100 that May.

Bonus Tracks (2007 reissue)
No.TitleWriter(s)Length
10."I Need a Truck" (Outtake)Zevon0:50
11."Werewolves of London" (Alternate version)Wachtel, Marinell, Zevon3:41
12."Tule's Blues""Zevon3:13
13."Frozen Notes" (Strings version)Zevon1:59
Studio albums
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Songs
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