May 18, 1976: Warren Zevon Releases Self-Titled Album

40 years ago today, Warren Zevon released his self-titled album. In honor of the release, Debbi Calton looks back on the album, Warren's rise to fame, and his ties to Philly.

I remember well when Warren Zevon's self-titled album was released on May 18, 1976.

It wasn't his first, as he put out Wanted Dead or Alive back in 1969. That album didn't really get him noticed though so meanwhile, Warren toured with The Everly Brothers as a bandleader and piano player.

Perhaps by the mid-70's, we were more ready for Warren's dark sly quirky brand of humor on his self-titled release. Perhaps it was the fact that Jackson Browne produced the album which lent it "street" cred. Perhaps it was the who's who of So Cal rock at the time that guest starred on the album: Jackson, Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks, Phil Everly, Glenn Frey and Don Henley, David Lindley, Bonnie Raitt, JD Souther, Waddy Wachtel, Carl Wilson and on and on and on. Or maybe it was the songs themselves...some so beautiful and heartbreakingly concocted they left you breathless. It was no secret that Linda Ronstadt was a fan. As one of the 70's most beloved songstresses, she covered close to half of the songs on this album including 'Hasten Down the Wind', 'Poor Poor Pitiful Me', 'Desperados Under the Eaves' and 'Carmelita'.

Two years later, Warren would release Excitable Boy also produced by Jackson Browne and an album that would catapult him to Billboard's Top 10. Warren Zevon set the stage for a long lively relationship with this incredibly gifted songwriter and fabulously interesting human being (who also happened to be a Philly resident for several years, living in Rittenhouse Square with your friend and mine, Anita Gevinson).

-Debbi Calton