Great Rock Albums of 1978: Warren Zevon- Excitable Boy

Back in the days of 1978, my idea of humour in music was Frank Zappa and songs that I listened to on the Dr Demento show on a Sunday evening. I listened to songs from the latter because I was amused by the funny lyrics and not because I thought the song rocked. In my mind, Frank Zappa was the only person whom I thought could rock and and be humourous at the same time. Then in June of that year, a friend of mine played the title track of Warren Zevon, “Excitable Boy” and my views then changed.

Warren Zevon brought a fresh new sound to rock with this album and showed that you can have funny lyrics and a rock sound. I wonder if the likes of Steel Panther were influenced here but there is no evidence to suggest this. Back to the topic, the single “Werewolves of London” paved the way to commercial success as hit reached number 21 in the charts allowing me and others to sample the other delights the album has to offer. Most of his songs were parodies, such as “Lawyers, Guns and Money,” which takes a rip out of Cold War paranoia. This album provides a good laugh as well as a good listen.

Track Listing:

1. Johnny Strikes Up the Band

2. Roland The Headless Thompson Gunner

3. Excitable Boy

4. Werewolves of London

5. Accidentally Like a Martyr

6. Nighttime in the Switching Yard

7. Veracruz

8. Tenderness on the Block

9. Lawyers, Guns and Money

Warren Zevon- organ, synthesiser, piano, guitar, bass and vocals

Jorge Calderon- harmony vocals, Spanish vocals on Veracruz

Danny Kootch Kortchmar- guitar

Russ Kunkel- drums

The album also included many guest artists such as Jackson Browne and Mick Fleetwood. “Excitable Boy” has always been one of my favourite humourous musical album, probably second to Weird Al Yankovick who I’ll be visiting much further down the line. Later in 1978, Dr Demento began playing songs from this album on his show, which just shows how good it is.

Next post: Todd Rundgren- Hermit of Mink Hollow

To buy Rock and Roll Children, go to www.strategicpublishinggroup.com/title/RockAndRollChildren.html

Also available on Amazon, Froogle and Barnes & Noble

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