"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.
|"Roland the Headless Thompson Gunner"|
|Song by Warren Zevon|
|from the album Excitable Boy|
|Songwriter(s)||Warren Zevon, David Lindell|
Zevon met co-writer Lindell in Spain, where the latter was running a bar after a stint working as a mercenary in Africa. Always interested in the darker side of life, Zevon decided to collaborate with Lindell on a song about a mercenary.
The fictional character Roland is a Norwegian who becomes embroiled in the aftermath of the Nigerian Civil War and Congo Crisis of the 1960s—the lyrics mention the years 1966 and 1967, which correspond to the mercenary-led Kisangani Mutinies after the Congo Crisis. He earns a reputation as the greatest Thompson gunner, a reputation that attracts the attention of the CIA. Roland is betrayed and murdered by a fellow mercenary, Van Owen, who blows off his head. Roland becomes the phantom "headless Thompson gunner" and eventually has his revenge, when he catches Van Owen in a Mombasa bar and guns him down. Afterward, he continues "wandering through the night". Other violent conflicts of the succeeding decade are said to be haunted by Roland, including Ireland, Lebanon, Palestine, and Berkeley, California. At the end of the song, Patty Hearst, and her stint as Tania of the Symbionese Liberation Army (as memorialized by several photos published nationally of Hearst holding an automatic weapon) is said to have "heard the burst of Roland's Thompson gun and bought it."
The song is a favorite of screenwriter David Koepp. He named the big-game hunter in The Lost World: Jurassic Park "Roland Tembo" as a reference to the song, and then "thought it would be fun to make his nemesis' last name Van Owen, like in the song."
The Chinese Democracy Tour was a worldwide concert tour by hard rock band Guns N' Roses to promote the group's long-delayed album Chinese Democracy.
The tour began in 2001. That year the band played three U.S. dates and a Brazilian one, while their 2002 tour included Asian, North American and a few European dates. The band did not tour again until May 2006, when it toured North America again and performed a major tour of Europe. The band's tour continued in 2007 with shows in Australia, New Zealand, Japan and Mexico.
Their first show after the 2008 release of Chinese Democracy was in Taiwan on December 11, 2009. In the same month the group played South Korea for the first time, as well as two dates in Japan. Since 2010 the tour has continued with concerts in North America, South/Central America, Europe and Australia. As of late 2010, the entire tour had attracted a total audience of about 4,000,000 people. The ten-year tour came to a close on the final day of 2011, with a New Year's Eve show in Las Vegas.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."Excitable Boy" and "Werewolves of London" were considered macabrely humorous by some critics. 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".I'll Sleep When I'm Dead (An Anthology)
I’ll Sleep When I’m Dead (An Anthology) is a two-disc compilation album by American singer-songwriter Warren Zevon, released on Rhino Records in 1996. It spans his career from his eponymous debut album on Asylum Records to date of release, ignoring his disowned initial album from 1969, Wanted Dead or Alive. It contains tracks from all ten of his albums released during this period, and includes contributions to soundtracks and his one-off album with members of R.E.M., Hindu Love Gods.
Disc one collects recordings done for Asylum, and disc two collects recordings done for Virgin and Giant Records.Jay Bennett
Jay Walter Bennett (November 15, 1963 – May 24, 2009) was an American guitarist, multi-instrumentalist, engineer, producer, and singer-songwriter, best known as a member of the band Wilco from 1994 to 2001.Jordan Zevon
Jordan Zevon (born August 7, 1969) is an American singer, musician and songwriter. He is the son of rock musician Warren Zevon.
Following his father's death in 2003, Jordan, his half-sister, Ariel, and longtime Zevon collaborator Jorge Calderón accepted Warren's two posthumous Grammy Awards for Best Rock Vocal Performance and Best Contemporary Folk Album for The Wind. His father's death from mesothelioma moved Jordan to work for the Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization as an advocate for those harmed by exposure to asbestos. He appeared on the 2004 tribute album to his father titled Enjoy Every Sandwich: Songs of Warren Zevon singing the previously unreleased song "Studebaker". In 2005, he appeared on another tribute album called Hurry Home Early: the Songs of Warren Zevon, issued by Wampus Multimedia, where he sang another unreleased song called "Warm Rain" with Simone Stevens.
In 2005, Zevon released his self-titled debut EP through his production company Mixed Headache. His first full-length album, Insides Out, was released through Texas-based New West Records on April 15, 2008.
On June 7, 2007, Zevon appeared on the Late Show with David Letterman and again on April 18, 2008. In 2008, he won the Overall Grand Prize of the prestigious 14th Annual USA Songwriting Competition with his song "Home".
Zevon is currently working on a new album entitled Imperfect, which he has described to be "darker and more rock than power pop" compared to his previous work. He has stated that it will feature the tracks "May or May Not", "Not Like Me", "Merry Go Wrong", "Wrecking Ball", "The Epic Fail" and "Stick With Me". On August 4, 2011, he released a demo take of the song "Wrecking Ball" on his personal website.
Zevon has also produced several films, including the motion picture $pent (2000).Learning to Flinch
Learning to Flinch is a live solo acoustic album by American singer-songwriter Warren Zevon, recorded at various venues in the U.S., Europe and Australia and released in early 1993 (see 1993 in music). Zevon's second and final live set, it featured three new songs ("Worrier King," "Piano Fighter" and "The Indifference of Heaven"). While not an official MTV Unplugged title, the stripped-down format of the album is in line with the live acoustic trend that flourished in the early 1990s.
This album is the only time Zevon played a version of "Roland the Headless Thompson Gunner" that lasted more than the average 4 minutes on an album, although he did it frequently in live performances. This version of the song includes a piano solo at the beginning of the song and another between the last two verses. Also, this version of "Lawyers, Guns and Money" is played in the key of G major rather than A Major, the key in the studio version. "Mr. Bad Example" is played in E Major rather than F#Major as heard on the studio version.List of Jurassic Park characters
The following is a list of fictional characters from Michael Crichton's novel Jurassic Park, its sequel The Lost World, and their film adaptations, Jurassic Park and The Lost World: Jurassic Park. Also included are characters from the films Jurassic Park III, Jurassic World and Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, which are not adaptations and have no original source novels but contain characters and events based on the fictional universe of Crichton's novels.List of The Late Show with David Letterman episodes
The following is a list of notable episodes from Late Show with David Letterman since its inception on August 30, 1993. Late Show with David Letterman is an American late-night talk show hosted by David Letterman that ran on CBS between August 30, 1993 and May 20, 2015.List of songs about cities
Cities are a major topic for popular songs.
Music journalist and author Nick Coleman has gone as far as to say that apart from love, "pop is better on cities than anything else."Popular music often treats cities positively, though sometimes they are portrayed as places of danger and temptation. In many cases, songs celebrate individual cities, presenting them as exciting and liberating. Not all genres share the tendency to be positive about cities; in Country music cities are often portrayed as unfriendly and dehumanizing, or seductive but full of sin. However, there are many exceptions, for example: Lady Antebellum's song ‘This City’, Danielle Bradbery's ‘Young in America’, and many others.
Lyricist and author Sheila Davis writes that including a city in a song's title helps focus the song on the concrete and specific, which is both more appealing and more likely to lead to universal truth than abstract generalizations. Davis also says that songs with titles concerning cities and other specific places often have enduring popularity.The following is a list of songs about cities, from both traditional and pop music: the list should not be considered complete.Mercenaries in popular culture
Like piracy, the mercenary ethos resonates with idealized adventure, mystery, and danger, and appears frequently in popular culture. Many are called adventurers, filibusters, soldiers of fortune, gunslingers, gunrunners, ronin, and knights errant.Mombasa
Mombasa () is a seaport city on the coast of Kenya, along the Indian Ocean. It is the country's oldest (circa 900 AD) and second-largest city (after the capital Nairobi), with an estimated population of about 1.5 million people in 2017. Its metropolitan region is the second largest in the country and has a population of approximately 3 million people. Administratively, Mombasa is the county seat of Mombasa County.
Mombasa is a regional cultural and economic hub; it has an extra-large port and an international airport, and is an important regional tourism center. Located on the east coast of Kenya, it also is the home of one of the State House (Kenya), and is considered by some as a second capital in all but name. In Mombasa County and the former Coast Province, Mombasa's situation on the Indian Ocean made it a historical trading center, and it has been controlled by many countries because of its strategic location.Stanleyville mutinies
The Kisangani Mutinies, also known as the Stanleyville Mutinies or Mercenaries' Mutinies, occurred in 1966 and 1967.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" 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 Rondstadt. 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.
Known for his dry wit and acerbic lyrics, he was a guest several times on Late Night with David Letterman and the Late Show with David Letterman.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.