Keep me in your heart

[ You may be interested in my post-Grammy update to this page. ]

I have to admit that my familiarity with Warren Zevon begins and ends with “Werewolves of London,” so I can’t claim to have been shaped by what I hear are many albums full of wit and honest rock-and-roll. However, I can say with authority that “Werewolves” does kick plenty of ass. I’ve always loved the juxtaposition of the song’s supernatural-feeling characters with the relatively humdrum locations they inhabit: Zevon’s werewolves were conscientious of their appearance, lurked in the same bars as the rest of us, and ate takeout.

With little but this one enjoyable song as background, I nonetheless find some lyrics from Zevon’s new album The Wind utterly captivating.

shadows have fallen and I’m running out of breath
keep me in your heart for a while

If I leave you it doesn’t mean I love you any less
Keep me in your heart for a while

when you get up in the morning and you see that crazy sun
keep me in your heart for a while

there’s a train leaving nightly called when all is said and done
keep me in your heart for a while

It’s a simple song, with quiet accompaniment behind Zevon’s slightly wavering voice, but the thought that Zevon wrote it in anticipation of his own death is heartbreaking. Author Michael Swanwick has a nice short story remembering Zevon. Salon has a good review of The Wind. Patrick Nielsen Hayden is collecting some favorite lyrics.

UPDATE: Wow, I’m getting a hailstorm of search engine hits for those lyrics. Sorry that’s all I’ve got; I just jotted them down when I heard a radio segment on Zevon’s death. You may be interested in Ken Tucker’s tribute to Warren Zevon (realaudio or windows media required to listen to the audio clip).

UPDATE II: Wow, the google hits are coming in like wildfire. I bought the album this weekend. It’s very good, but very easy to see the spectre of Zevon’s death in every song. Even the bluesy, rocking songs (with guest voices and guitars from the likes of Bruce Springsteen, Tom Petty) are tinged with a sense of it. Songs like “Please Stay” and “Keep me in your Heart” remain absolutely heartbreaking. I’ve corrected a couple of lyrics in the lines excerpted above. I recommend you check out the album for more.

Update III (Feb 9, 2004): So Zevon apparently won himself a posthumous Grammy last night, and this page is again getting lots of traffic. Welcome (stick around and enjoy our fine selection of, well, other stuff)! Since my original post on The Wind, I have become a big fan of Zevon, and have lately really been enjoying Genius, an excellent compilation of his work. Genius isn’t a cheap best-of but a great assortment of songs that show off Zevon’s musicianship and sharp lyrical sensibilities. It’s really excellent stuff.