Thursday, September 06, 2007

Finishing Touches

Warren Zevon died four years ago on September 7, a little more than a year after learning that he had terminal mesothelioma. Upon learning the news, the great rock critic Greil Marcus commented, "From 1976, when he went public with "Desperadoes Under the Eaves" on the album "Warren Zevon," it has been more than a quarter century of gunplay and bravado, not for a moment concealing Zevon's loathing for his own betrayals and those of the world around him."

Marcus nailed it perfectly, and never did those betrayals (and anger) seem more evident than they did in this song. I think it's one of his best, and this performance from the Letterman show is a great one. He looks great, and almost sneers the key lyrics, "You tried to put...the finishing touches on me..." After having read "I'll Sleep When I'm Dead," it's easy to imagine that Zevon had just broken up with someone; someone who had tried to change him. For the better, almost certainly. But he was what he was.

No comments: