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Warren Zevon scores nomination for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

Legendary singer-songwriter and musician Warren Zevon posthumously scored his long-overdue nomination for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s Class of 2023.

Warren Zevon
Warren Zevon. Photo Courtesy of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
Warren Zevon. Photo Courtesy of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

Legendary rock singer-songwriter and musician Warren Zevon posthumously scored his long-overdue nomination for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s Class of 2023.

According to the “Piano Man” Billy Joel, Zevon was the soul of Los Angeles,” and rightfully so.

Warren Zevon was an artist’s artist. One of the most talented and significant singer-songwriters to emerge in the 1970s, Zevon wrote poetic but offbeat songs, often with darkly humorous and acerbic lyrics, and delivered them with a dry wit and a twisted energy like no other performer could.

Throughout his career, Zevon built a devoted fan base and earned the respect of his greatest peers, including Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, and Neil Young. 

He was known for such iconic songs as his Top 40 hit “Werewolves of London,” “Roland the Headless Thompson Gunner,” as well as “Lawyers, Guns and Money” from his seminal Excitable Boy album. Rock queen Linda Ronstadt helped make his songs popular back in the late ’70s. He wrote Linda Ronstadt’s smash hit “Poor Poor Pitiful Me,” which also became a country hit decades later for Terri Clark.

Trained as a classical pianist, Zevon began his career in the 1960s as a composer of commercial jingles, a writer of pop songs (including two recorded by the Turtles), and a singer in the folk-pop duo Lyme & Cybelle, followed by several years doing session work and touring with musicians including the Everly Brothers.

Warren Zevon
Warren Zevon. Photo Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Zevon’s self-titled album, released in 1976 and produced by his friend Jackson Browne, won glowing reviews from critics and admiration from artists including Linda Ronstadt, who covered four of its songs. The follow-up album Excitable Boy (1978) featured the smash hit “Werewolves of London,” which climbed the singles charts and earned Zevon a cult following that remained for his entire career. 

After releasing more than a dozen critically acclaimed albums, Zevon was diagnosed with an inoperable form of lung cancer in 2002. He spent the final months of his life completing his last album The Wind (2003), which featured contributions from numerous friends and admirers including Browne, Springsteen, Emmylou Harris, Don Henley, and Tom Petty. Zevon died two weeks after the release of the album, which earned two Grammy Awards.  

While he never achieved the level of fame and recognition he deserved, Zevon was adored by music critics, revered by his contemporaries, and deeply loved by his fans. His musical legacy lives on in the work of rock and country troubadours Jason Isbell, Amanda Shires, Taylor Goldsmith, and many others.

Other noteworthy Warren Zevon compositions include “Accidentally Like a Martyr,” “Carmelita,” and “Hasten Down the Wind.”

As a songwriter, he has left behind a lengthy yet noteworthy body of musical work. He has also been featured many times on David Letterman’s talk show.

His peers in the music industry were fans of his music, including Jackson Browne, the late Tom Petty, and “The Boss” Bruce Springsteen have extolled him as the “greatest songwriter,” and rightfully so.

Zevon had a profound influence and helped shape the careers of many singer-songwriters in rock and roll. He has been eligible for this tremendous honor since 1994.

While he passed away from cancer back in 2003, Zevon’s music and legacy live on. In the songwriting world, it doesn’t get more honest than him.

To learn more about iconic rock singer-songwriter Warren Zevon, visit his official website.

Markos Papadatos
Written By

Markos Papadatos is Digital Journal's Editor-at-Large for Music News. Papadatos is a Greek-American journalist and educator that has authored over 21,000 original articles over the past 18 years. He has interviewed some of the biggest names in music, entertainment, lifestyle, magic, and sports. He is a 16-time "Best of Long Island" winner, where for three consecutive years (2020, 2021, and 2022), he was honored as the "Best Long Island Personality" in Arts & Entertainment, an honor that has gone to Billy Joel six times.

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