Excitable Boy

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Excitable Boy is the third studio album by Warren Zevon. The album was released on January 18, 1978, by Asylum Records. It includes the top 40 success "Werewolves of London". The album brought Warren to commercial attention and remains the best-selling album of his career. A remastered and expanded edition was released in 2007.[3]

The tracks "Excitable Boy" and "Werewolves of London" were considered macabrely humorous by some critics.[3] The historical "Veracruz" dramatizes the United States occupation of Veracruz, and likewise "Roland the Headless Thompson Gunner" is a fictionalization of a mercenary 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 a dance tune ("Nighttime in the Switching Yard").

Excitable Boy
Excitable Boy cover
Studio album by Warren Zevon
Released January 18, 1978
Recorded 1977
Studio The Sound Factory, Los Angeles
Genre Rock
Length 31:29
Label Asylum
Producer Jackson Browne, Waddy Wachtel
Warren Zevon chronology
Warren Zevon
Excitable Boy
Bad Luck Streak in Dancing School
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
Source Rating
AllMusic 4/5 stars[1]
Music Box 4/5 stars[2]
PopMatters 9/10[3]
Robert Christgau A−[4]
Rolling Stone (favorable)[5]

Track listing

No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "Johnny Strikes Up the Band" Warren Zevon 2:49
2. "Roland the Headless Thompson Gunner" David Lindell, Zevon 3:47
3. "Excitable Boy" LeRoy Marinell, Zevon 2:40
4. "Werewolves of London" Waddy Wachtel, Marinell, Zevon 3:27
5. "Accidentally Like a Martyr" Zevon 3:37
6. "Nighttime in the Switching Yard" Jorge Calderón, Lindell, Wachtel, Zevon 4:15
7. "Veracruz" Calderón, Zevon 3:30
8. "Tenderness on the Block" Jackson Browne, Zevon 3:55
9. "Lawyers, Guns and Money" Zevon 3:29
Bonus Tracks (2007 reissue)
No. Title Writer(s) Length
10. "I Need a Truck" (Outtake) Zevon 0:50
11. "Werewolves of London" (Alternate version) Wachtel, Marinell, Zevon 3:41
12. "Tule's Blues"" Zevon 3:13
13. "Frozen Notes" (Strings version) Zevon 1:59


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 (The Gentlemen Boys consisted of: 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"



Year Chart Position
1978 Billboard Pop Albums 8


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


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


  1. ^ Mark Deming. "Excitable Boy - Warren Zevon | Songs, Reviews, Credits". AllMusic. Retrieved 2015-10-23.
  2. ^ John Metzger. "Warren Zevon - Excitable Boy (Album Review)". Musicbox-online.com. Retrieved 2015-10-23.
  3. ^ a b c  . "Warren Zevon: Excitable Boy". PopMatters. Retrieved 2015-10-23.
  4. ^ "CG: warren zevon". Robert Christgau. Retrieved 2015-10-23.
  5. ^ (Posted: Mar 23, 1978) (1978-03-23). "Warren Zevon: Excitable Boy : Music Reviews : Rolling Stone". Web.archive.org. Archived from the original on June 2, 2008. Retrieved 2015-10-23.

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