My introduction to Warren Zevon came in the early 1980's when I was in a record store in Gainesville, FL looking for a new album that had just came out (I don't remember what the album was). While in the store I was caught up with the album they were playing over the PA system.a singer was singing about being in Hawaii and abandoned by his. Cantor e guitarrista norte-americano de blues-rock. 1969 - Wanted Dead or Alive: Download 1976 - Warren Zevon: Download 1978. First off, this song shows a certain part of violence that is very common today. As stated in earlier blog posts, we have almost become immune to violent material. Zevon (in my mind) writes this song with this cheery poppy overtone to show that sometimes we take. Albee square mall. Warren Zevon is one of the greatest singer/songwriters our country has ever produced, but I never picked up this tribute album because, frankly, the greatest tribute you can pay to a singer is to listen and relisten to his old stuff, not listen to covers by a bunch of singers who probably won't do the originals much justice. Jackson Browne & Warren Zevon - Going Dutch FM (Liberated bootleg) VPRO Studios, Hilversum, Holland (Tracks 01-15) RAI Congrescentrum, Amsterdam, Holland (Tracks 16-19) December 8th 1976 (Tracks 01-15) December 9th 1976 (Tracks 16-19) Lineage original bootleg silver WAV (EAC in secure mode) FLAC (TLH @ level 8).
Although I believe Warren Zevon to be the finest songwriterof his generation, and of most others, I wasn’t originally that keen on “HitSomebody (The Hockey Song).” It’s the most flamboyant track from hisundervalued 2002 album My Ride’s Here,a boisterous ballad co-written with Mitch Albom and featuringnot only David Letterman’s house band but also Dave himself on backing vocals. Despitethat pedigree, I found the song disappointing in my early listens. Its story ofa triumphant underdog athlete felt hackneyed to me, more Albom than Zevon, andLetterman’s bellering on the chorus pushed the whole thing dangerously close tonovelty territory.
Also, it was about hockey. As a basketball guy, I’mpredisposed to resent hockey.
But that all changed a couple of years ago when I discoveredan early live performance of “Hit Somebody” on the invaluable Internet Archive.It’s from a December, 2000 show at Philadelphia's mellifluously named Theatre of Living Arts prior to the release of My Ride’s Here. The entire set is a lot of fun, with Warrenswapping banter with a fervorous, highly vocal crowd. That audience was instrumentalin changing my opinion on “Hit Somebody.” Hearing them hear a brand new WarrenZevon song unfold for the first time is a joyous wonder that underlines thepower of Warren’s storytelling. (The embedded player below includes the whole concert. Skip down to track #11 to follow along with 'Hit Somebody.' Then go back and listen to the whole thing, because it's all wonderful. Or just listen to the YouTube clip of the performance further down the page.)
There’s a lot of laughter as Warren tells of Buddy thegoon’s rise to the NHL, as there should be. But it’s more than just a funnystory. What’s remarkable about this rendition is how quickly and deeply theaudience becomes invested in Buddy’s fortunes. At 5-plus minutes it isn’t an overlylong song, so economy of words is of vital importance. Warren’s onlyaccompaniment is himself on piano, which puts every one of those words in sharpfocus for the whole room to digest.
That’s no problem for Warren Zevon. The man really had nopeer when it came to quick, memorable character sketches (see also: “Mr. BadExample,” “Boom-Boom Mancini,” “The French Inhaler” and many, many more) andBuddy ranks among his most indelible creations. (I don't want to give Mitch Albom short shrift - from what I've gathered, he was responsible for most of the lyrical content. Still, much of the strength of this particular telling lies in Zevon's presence and delivery. It's why I love this rendition much more than the album version.)
By the closing of the firstverse, we know Buddy’s a burly Canadian farm kid turned hockey pro who dreams ofscoring goals but reluctantly accepts his role as an enforcer. A lot of fictionwriters, myself included, could easily spend several pages laying out thathistory. Warren and Albom do it in a few rhyming lines, and the Philadelphia crowd eatsit up. When the scout from Calgary tells Buddy “We’ve always got room for agoon,” the cheers erupt immediately and the enthusiasm carries through to thechorus.
As the second verse chronicles Buddy’s storied but frustratingcareer as a role player, the audience grows audibly more invested in the story.It’s not often that a live recording can capture the sound of a room listeningintently. Just like in the first verse, Warren and Albom land the story via universal but specific characterization. 'The coach said, 'Buddy, just remember your role / The fast guys get paid. They shoot and they score / Protect them, Buddy. It's what you're here for' - it's all unique to the song's situation, but who among us can't identify with the agony of watching someone else live out your own cherished dream? By the time the second chorus rolls around most of the room ischiming in on the all-important “Hit somebody!” It’s important to remember thatfew, if any, of the audience members would have heard the song at this point. Granted, they've been briefed on the sing-along aspect, but I've been to plenty of shows where the attendees blatantly ignore such instructions. The way these folks warm to the audience participation is a testament to thepower of Warren’s delivery.
It’s in the third verse that things get truly inspiring. “Inhis final season, on his final night / Buddy and a Finn goon were pegged for afight,” Warren sings, and one exuberant listener starts screaming, “Yes! Yes!”The fan keeps up the cheer as Warren works to the slow reveal of “Suddenly Buddy hada shot… on goal,” at which point the crowd collectively gasps, then cheers.They’re hooked now, utterly invested in the moment of truth for this sketchilydrawn pucksmith who didn’t exist five minutes earlier. The room goes silent againfor a couple of lines (“20 years of waiting went into that shot”) until Warren pullsout the elating/deflating couplet of “the fans jumped up and the Finn jumpedtoo / And cold-cocked Buddy on his follow-through.” There’s laughter at thatline, sure, but it’s nervous laughter. Everyone wants Buddy to get his goal,but they also know they’re dealing with the sardonic SOB who wrote “ExcitableBoy.” Albom or no Albom, there’s at least a 50-50 chance of Buddy blowing the shot and beingcarted off the ice with a spinal injury.
But those were different times. Late-period Zevon knew therewas nothing wrong with a happy ending every now and again. Still, he doesn’ttip his hand – his delivery is passive, almost passionless as he murmurs, “Thebig man crumbled, but he felt all right / ‘Cause the last thing he saw was theflashing red light.” And that’s the release the crowd has been waiting for. Theaudience erupts in applause almost as if they’re watching the actual hockeygame from the song. The rhythmic clapping begins immediately, propelling Warreninto the final chorus. No one needs any prompting on the “Hit somebody!” thistime around. Now it’s a motto to be shouted, a sort of “Semper fi” for a roomfull of strangers who have been through a lot together in the last five and ahalf minutes. That little farm boy they watched grow up has just scored thegoal everyone told him he’d never get, and they’ll be damned if they’re not goingto celebrate that achievement.
Warren Zevon Youtube
That, folks, is some grade-A storytelling, and it’s whyWarren Zevon is one of the best there ever was.