Werewolves of London

"Werewolves of London" is a rock song composed by LeRoy Marinell, Waddy Wachtel, and Warren Zevon and performed by Zevon. Included on Zevon's 1978 album Excitable Boy, it featured accompaniment by drummer Mick Fleetwood and bassist John McVie of Fleetwood Mac. The single was released by Asylum Records as catalog number 45472. It entered the American Top 40 charts on April 22, 1978, reaching number 21, and remained in the Top 40 for six weeks. In New Zealand, the song reached number 15.[1]

According to Wachtel, "Werewolves of London" was "the hardest song to get down in the studio I've ever worked on."[2] However, Wachtel "laid down his solo in one take, before he'd even had a chance to partake of the bump of coke and drink he'd placed in front of him."[3] According to Jackson Browne (who was the producer for the recording), "Werewolves of London" along with "Excitable Boy" were written while work was being done on the album that preceded Excitable Boy but were not included on that album in favor of other songs.[4] The song is in the key of G major, with a three-chord progression that runs throughout.[5]

"Werewolves of London"
Werewolves of London Single
Single by Warren Zevon
from the album Excitable Boy
B-side "Roland the Headless Thompson Gunner"
Released January 18, 1978
Format 7" single
Recorded 1977
Genre Rock
Length 3:27
Label Asylum Records
Songwriter(s) LeRoy Marinell, Waddy Wachtel, Warren Zevon
Producer(s) Jackson Browne, Waddy Wachtel
Warren Zevon singles chronology
"Hasten Down the Wind"
"Werewolves of London"
"Lawyers, Guns and Money"
"Hasten Down the Wind"
"Werewolves of London"
"Lawyers, Guns and Money"



BBC Radio 2 listeners rated it as having the best opening line in a song.[6]

Other versions

  • Adam Sandler provided his version for the tribute album, Enjoy Every Sandwich: The Songs of Warren Zevon (October 2004).[7][8][9] Sandler also performed it on the Late Show on 15 December 2004.[10]
  • American pop-rocker, Masha, covered the song for a Three Olives Vodka ad campaign in 2014.[11][12][13]


  1. ^ NZ Top 40 Singles Chart, 2 July 1978
  2. ^ Zevon, Crystal. I'll Sleep When I'm Dead: The Dirty Life and Times of Warren Zevon, p. 138.
  3. ^ Browne, David (April 12, 2013). "The Knights of Soft Rock". Rolling Stone (1180): 58.
  4. ^ Zevon, Crystal. I'll Sleep When I'm Dead: The Dirty Life and Times of Warren Zevon, p. 112.
  5. ^ Stephenson, Ken (2002). What to Listen for in Rock: A Stylistic Analysis, pp. 45–46. ISBN 978-0-300-09239-4.
  6. ^ Vine, Jeremy (May 2004). "Greatest Opening Song Line – The Winner!". BBC Radio 2. Archived from the original on 8 December 2013. Retrieved 22 October 2014.
  7. ^ Deming, Mark. "Enjoy Every Sandwich: The Songs of Warren Zevon – Various Artists | Songs, Reviews, Credits". AllMusic. Retrieved 14 December 2016.
  8. ^ Lifton, Dave (3 September 2013). "Adam Sandler, 'Werewolves of London' –- Terrible Classic Rock Covers". Ultimate Classic Rock. Retrieved 19 December 2016.
  9. ^ Peisch, Will (30 October 2015). "7 Spooky Bangers and Monster Mash-Ups". The Dartmouth. Retrieved 19 December 2016.
  10. ^ Plasketes, George (23 May 2016). B-Sides, Undercurrents and Overtones: Peripheries to Popular in Music, 1960 to the Present. Rutledge. p. 194. ISBN 978-1-31717-113-3.
  11. ^ "AdWeek – Ad of the Day: Masha Sings a Sultry Remake of 'Werewolves of London' for Three Olives Vodka". adweek.com. 2014-12-04. Retrieved 2014-12-04.
  12. ^ Elliott, Stuart (8 December 2014). "Ads Imply This Vodka Has a Real 'Bite'". The New York Times. Retrieved 19 December 2016.
  13. ^ Lukovitz, Karlene (2 December 2014). "Three Olives Unleashes 'Werewolves in London' 12/02/2014". MediaPost. Retrieved 19 December 2016.

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