Submitted by TheResurrection t3_yfqj4q in Music

On October 30, 2002, Warren Zevon appeared on the Late Show With David Letterman after being diagnosed with mesothelioma earlier in the year. With the knowledge that Zevon had just months to live, Letterman did something that he had never done before and dedicated the entire show to Zevon's music. Zevon was the only guest on the show that night and he played three songs: Mutineer, Genius, and Roland The Headless Thompson Gunner. Those three songs were Zevon's final public performance.

Letterman's YouTube channel just uploaded the full show from that night. I highly recommend giving it a watch this weekend. Enjoy every sandwich.



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TripleSecretSquirrel t1_iu55oe6 wrote

I love when Letterman is asking him about his health, and Zevon says "I may have made a tactical error by not going to a physician for 20 years."

His jocular attitude in the face of certain death is pretty inspiring.


Hannibal_Rex t1_iu5zg3q wrote

His song "My Shits Fucked Up" is a perfect reflection of his attitude while dying.


Taapacoyne5 t1_iu6z4y5 wrote

You know, I see this as his life-long kind of cynical self. Keep Me In Your Heart….written 3 months before he died. I think he let down his guard and showed his soft side and we are all better for it. I cry every time I hear that song.


battlelevel t1_iu7azx1 wrote

I really enjoy that song, but I don’t listen to it very often because it’s such a gut punch.


mrbadxampl t1_iu5ruwh wrote

> His jocular attitude in the face of certain death is pretty inspiring.

well, you know what they say: Life'll Kill Ya


ridemooses t1_iu4w4fm wrote

Keep him in your heart for a while


squiidward275 t1_iu51cyj wrote

My grandfather also died from mesothelioma and we used this song at the celebration of life it is a beautiful song especially given the circumstances of his illness


veryshortname t1_iu5w3za wrote

We played this song at my dads funeral. My dad was a huge Zevon fan and also played the piano.


RachelPalmer79 t1_iu6h5u0 wrote

My sister wanted to sing it at my wedding. I told her I was touched but absolutely not.


old-man243 t1_iu4uhlo wrote

Enjoy every sandwich people!


celtica t1_iu7gphz wrote

I had this as my email signature for years.

I wish I had kept track of all the folks who emailed back “Hi Warren,”


Jestinphish t1_iu4r12x wrote

Such an underrated songwriter and musician. I’ll upvote Warren anytime I see him.


yousyveshughs t1_iu4wo3m wrote

Everything that has ever happened is underrated


thegonzojoe t1_iu4xrxz wrote

Zevon is pretty much the definition of underrated. He has a massive catalog filled with classics and certified bangers. But all most people know is “aaaWOOOOOO WEREWOLVES OF LONDON!”


dancin-weasel t1_iu51wiy wrote

My uncle loved Zevon and about 30 years ago went to see him live. Zevon started the show with “let’s get this over with” then did Warewolves of London. After it was done, Zevon said “ok. I’ll give the people leaving a minute to go.” Waited a full minute then started in with the rest of the show.


mc1120 t1_iu59gmh wrote

Haha...that's great. His humor was always on point, even when he knew he was a goner. Beautifully flawed human being in all the right ways.


etojtwopif t1_iu59t5p wrote

I wish artists at festivals did this.


[deleted] t1_iu5bp8d wrote



BishopGrisha t1_iu5zdcg wrote

I saw her earlier this month and “Call Me Maybe” is like the dead center of the set list now. Her following is dedicated, though, so everyone around us knew all the songs.


uncle_stinky t1_iu50oil wrote

“All the salty margaritas in Los Angeles,

I’m gonna drink ‘em up.”


Middcore t1_iu6gqs4 wrote

Worse. They don't even know Werewolves of London, they know the wretched Kid Rock song that samples it.


william_shartner t1_iu8ihcy wrote

I especially hate that song because it makes me think I'm going to hear Werewolves and then just pulls the rug out.


oryes t1_iu5mm6y wrote

Not if you believe that words have definitions


Thomanonymous t1_iu58j18 wrote

"Desperados under the eaves" is a top 5 song for me. Love Warren Zevon, rest easy man!


sjhirons t1_iu5f0oc wrote

Don’t the sun look angry through the trees…


oryes t1_iu5mwib wrote

It's an incredible album. That and Carmelita are two of my favourite songs ever.


joe561 t1_iu5seqq wrote

When my daughter was very young, she knew the chorus to Carmelita. It drove my wife nuts to hear a six year old sing "And I'm all strung out on heroin" from the backseat of the car.


finneganfach t1_iu50d6b wrote

Anyone that can turn the hum of an air conditioning unit in to the most iconic climax of a song is a musical genius, let's be honest. Legend.


littleuniversalist t1_iu4wx90 wrote

“Don’t Let Us Get Sick” is one of the most amazing songs ever.


lgm22 t1_iu50i8y wrote

Knowing you are terminal and writing the song” my shits fucked up” shows more strength than I will ever have. RIP


TheResurrection OP t1_iu51jvh wrote

My Shit's Fucked Up was actually released two years before his cancer diagnosis on the album Life'll Kill Ya. Several of the songs on that album did end up being prophetic two years later though.


Axeman517 t1_iu5sl7b wrote

Are we sure it was before his diagnosis, or before it was made public?

I met Warren backstage on that tour. Somewhere there’s a photo of us together that I never got to see.


TheResurrection OP t1_iu60e8x wrote

It's documented that he went to the doctor in August 2002 at the urging of his dentist, which is when he was diagnosed with cancer. After the diagnosis, he instructed his PR person to generate as much publicity about his terminal illness as quickly as possible.



gwaydms t1_iu7fvzc wrote

He may have saved some lives, or at least bought them more time.


meatcheeseandbun t1_iu7o05d wrote

Jackson Browne does a fantastic cover as well. Zevon is amazing. His music....It's like with his song Studebaker. His son covered it later on. But Zevon sings it like the guy who actually had his car break down. His son sings it and the son's version has so much better production and it's a great song. But it's like a guy singing about a story, it's just not as real.


Jolly_Security_4771 t1_iu4u3u6 wrote

I still think about this, it was so gently powerful


Noname_Maddox t1_iu5935j wrote

I must think about this interview at least once a week.

I wasn’t a huge Warren fan. I just found his attitude to life and death fascinating. Dave handled it very well.


nich3play3r t1_iu73u4v wrote

Dave deserves a huge amount of credit for getting this interview on air.


confabulatrix t1_iu7izr0 wrote

I used to watch Dave frequently and saw this episode by chance when it originally aired. It really floored me how they discussed it so matter of factly. It was like nothing I’d ever seen before.


Noname_Maddox t1_iu7o9q0 wrote

Yup, I'm not american and watched it with no real connection to Dave or Warren. This interview really stays with you.

At least once a week it pops into my head.


Werewolf_Tailor t1_iu56kpb wrote

Excitable Boy is an album that is nearly perfect from start to finish. (I always thought Veracruz didn’t fit). I have a sandwich tattoo that says “Enjoy every sandwich” in tribute. One of the greats.


last-hits t1_iu5kc9q wrote

Funny enough for me it's Nighttime in the Switching Yard.

But Veracruz does feel a bit more like a song from his first album


BishopGrisha t1_iu5zlyt wrote

I was gonna say, “‘Veracruz’ is the sore thumb?” “Switching yard” is one of very few skips in his whole catalog for me.


Ikimasen t1_iu5czsl wrote

I love Warren Zevon, I don't love Jackson Browne's production. Sometimes it works, but for any of the rougher, punchier stuff I prefer the versions on Learning to Flinch.


MurderousLemur t1_iu7bf9u wrote

I just recently started loving Veracruz. The little tidbits of historical events remind me of Roland the headless Thompson gunner or even Cortez the killer.


RoboPerryComo t1_iu55fmd wrote

Excitable Boy is one of my favorites and "Lawyers, Guns, and Money" one of my favorite songs. Zevon was gem.


HillbillyHare t1_iu55uiu wrote

I sang Roland as a bedtime song for my son. Warren Zevon was someone I listened to personally. I didn’t care to share his music. I was selfish with it.


Ikimasen t1_iu5dohv wrote

Hah! I sang Roland to my daughters. There was a night that they asked me if I knew a "ghost song."

I was like "Boy do I!"


LuridofArabia t1_iu5b57e wrote

Does your son harbor murderous feelings towards Patty Hearst?


HillbillyHare t1_iu6sh6y wrote

Ha! He’s 20 now, and I will definitely run this by him.


Laelawright t1_iu5t5f8 wrote

My great uncle Roland Thompson fought with Canadian troops in WWl. He died decades later from after spending many years in an institution suffering from "shell shock."


lennon818 t1_iu5bmjs wrote

His last album is a work of heartbreaking and staggering genius. Warren Zevon is one of those music nerd secret handshakes. If you meet anyone who loves him you know they have great taste in music.


sykokiller11 t1_iu5td7x wrote

I used to work with this guy who was quiet and somewhat antisocial. He was a fighter. I could tell by how he walked. People were intimidated by him, myself included. One morning Werewolves of London came on the radio and I commented to everyone what a great songwriter Warren Zevon was. It was as if a switch had been thrown. After that we just had plenty to talk about!


lennon818 t1_iu5tnhs wrote

Zevon is a perfect test because as far as obscure musicians he is mainstream. My personal super music nerd test is Chris Bell


Cold_Canadian t1_iu6e1fy wrote

I’m always angry when kid rock starts playing and not werewolves of London.


Laelawright t1_iu5soiq wrote

I can hardly believe that it's been two decades since Zevon's death. He was a genius musician and lyricist and nobody did ballads better than he did. It still hurts me to think of his passing.


Baidon t1_iu5c10d wrote

I love the love for Warren here. Not even speaking tongue and cheek, he's been my favorite artist ever since I heard his self titled.

To know folks like you and I, plus the people in these comments are some of the few left that recognize his talent makes me feel awesome. Since he'll never make the Rock Hall, and he only won a Grammy (okay, two Grammies) once he passed, I feel like he never got to see the love his music deserves.


tacknosaddle t1_iu5mtgm wrote

A tangentially related anecdote:

I know a woman who told me about the time a guy asked her out on a date and took her to a Warren Zevon concert.

She didn't know anything about Zevon or his music, but she said that when he played Excitable Boy she knew that she wasn't going on another date with him but was worried that she'd make it home.


Malthus1 t1_iu668al wrote

Even more tangential anecdote: whoever mixed the music for the one high school dance I attended put “Excitable Boy” on the playlist … and I think I was the only one who noticed how inappropriate that was! 😄


tacknosaddle t1_iu6mdbs wrote

>the one high school dance I attended

Please, please, please tell me it was the junior prom!


Malthus1 t1_iu6mndm wrote

I was a junior, so I guess it was!


tacknosaddle t1_iu6pn1g wrote


(don't even care if you're lying, I just needed to hear that)


toomanytomatoes t1_iu52jx0 wrote

Even though it was just McDonald's I truly did just enjoy the sandwich I just ate. Thanks Warren.


missionbeach t1_iu55kwx wrote

I've been an excitable boy since the early 80s.


nebdarski t1_iu6h2s9 wrote

Relevant, and amazing. Dawes pay tribute to Zevon for Dave after the show finished taping. Ps. If you don’t know Dawes start with the early records, you’re in for a treat.


PattyIceNY t1_iu5n4ol wrote

Lawyers, Guns and Money is masterful songwriting and storytelling


MikeoftheLiving t1_iu7z5wb wrote

I was gambling in Havana/ I took a little risk/ Send lawyers, guns and money/ Dad, get me outta this, HA

The way the band kicks in on that yell is a moment of pure musical perfection.


paulymtl t1_iu6gpi6 wrote


Songwriting right there


Objective-Ad4009 t1_iu6the7 wrote

Thank you so much for posting this. Warren Zevon was a goddamned genius.


2nd2last t1_iu4u5i8 wrote

Someone saw the ringer article.


thataryanguy t1_iu60bx5 wrote

Excitable Boy is one of my favourite ever albums and I've always admired Warren for his light-hearted pessimism


Stashmouth t1_iu50djr wrote

Holy shit I remember this. I was young and hadn't heard of him yet. I looked up all of his stuff after watching, though


DryTown t1_iu5bzan wrote

If you haven’t listened to an album of his called “preludes: Rare and Released” check it out. Some incredible outtakes and alternate versions.

He was one of the best. Amazing how funny he is here in the face of death.

“They certainly don’t discourage you from doing whatever you want…”


DpvReno t1_iu5cqh3 wrote

my god has it been that long :( i still watch it on youtube once a year or so.

One of the best shows I saw was Warren at the theater of living art in Philly

RIP Warren


jjjaaammm t1_iu5dwk7 wrote

Watched that night. I can’t believe it’s been 20 years.


JaiRenae t1_iu5fjxq wrote

One of my favorite musicians. it really doesn't feel like it was that long ago.


detective_bigfoot t1_iu5h5dc wrote

Zevon is the ultimate rock star. He had four masterpiece albums and three of them were his final three albums.


logans_run7 t1_iu5uzpr wrote

Thank you for sharing this.


AVLPedalPunk t1_iu5wt8p wrote

I remember watching it live. It was so different from anything else you would see on TV at that time.


myleftone t1_iu56wqy wrote

A couple of his tunes are staples for my campfire & divebar gigs, but as soon as I get my Supertramp medley nailed down I’ll get working on more Warren Zevon.


smegmaroni t1_iu59207 wrote

"Transverse City" is a ridiculously underrated album. Lyrically way ahead of its time and featuring David Gilmour, Jerry Garcia, and Chick Corea among others. Give it a listen


Chewyboognish t1_iu5cprn wrote

This makes his appearance on The Larry Sanders Show all the more interesting.


sykokiller11 t1_iu5u9g0 wrote

I remember exactly where I was when I heard on the radio he was terminally Ill. The DJ said Warren hoped to live long enough to see the next James Bond movie. He didn’t. I think about that quite often.


PartyPrimary4144 t1_iu5ucyy wrote

We're going to need Lawyers, guns, and money✌️


Older-not-wiser77 t1_iu6a3f0 wrote

He definitely made his mark. He was like nobody else. He lived his life with vigor and earnestly, although it was often tongue in cheek. He is missed.


SmellyPillows t1_iu6mrdl wrote

My first concert (1991) featured him as the opener. It was Steve Winwood as the headliner and was supposed to be Joe Cocker as the opening act. Sadly, Mr. Cocker started getting sick and we got Zevon instead. Pretty cool to see his name come up, it's not very common lately.


stevenharms t1_iu73w2d wrote

I think about “enjoy every sandwich” weekly


stang7089 t1_iu7cyz7 wrote

“Accidentally Like a Martyr” gets me right in the feels every time…


WonderWaage t1_iu5aq2s wrote

Roland is one of my all time favorite songs. What an artist.


bushwickrik t1_iu693k8 wrote

Thanks so much for providing the link. Wonderful to see Warren Zevon perform. Brought several tears to my eyes. Rest easy Mr Zevon.


Offthepoint t1_iu6e3l0 wrote

I saw that show when it happened. Letterman was so nice to him.


Minute-Courage6955 t1_iu7bvu3 wrote

Anyone seeking good background information on Warren should check out the book,Bumping into Geniuses by Danny Goldberg. He ran a record label and released The Wind album. A whole chapter on last part of Zevon's life and late career.


mazurzapt t1_iu7it2k wrote

I watched this that night. Hated to see him lose his life.


AlabamaPostTurtle t1_iu7m5ir wrote

One of the best ever. Excitable boy is a masterpiece


Decabet t1_iu857o0 wrote

Saw this on the day. Liked Zevon well enough but mostly knew him thru R.E.M. and his Hindu Love Gods project with the band. Im not much of an outwardly expressive person emotionally, but his performance that night especially “Mutineer” absolutely wrecked me and I was crying my eyes out harder than I maybe ever have. Over a person I never met. And was only sort of a fan of. The whole night felt personal in a way that gave it universality and I really think you felt Dave giving his friend a soapbox to make a valiant last stand on. Still get a lump thinking about it.


Rtg327gej t1_iu8iy1x wrote

“Enjoy every sandwich.” I think about this quote often.


ripyourlungsdave t1_iu8qhk8 wrote

Ah. The namesake of my account.

I absolutely adored this guy's music growing up. Love to see that he's still in the conversation.


Rhindressduo t1_iu9s650 wrote

Amazing performance considering he died three months after his diagnosis. What a beautiful gift Letterman gave to him to say goodbye. Love the honest vulnerability in his vocal... you can't teach that!


TheResurrection OP t1_iu9ymic wrote

He actually lived another ten months after this performance, well past the period of time to live that the doctors had originally given him.


FrostedDonutHole t1_iub2mfj wrote

If you haven’t watched him sing “My Shits Fucked Up” after he was diagnosed…I highly recommend it. Funny, moving, poetic, and just real fuckin good.


sawbladex t1_iu556wz wrote

The Late Show with David Letterman?

I didn't even know it was dead.

Couldn't help myself.

Norm posting on a DL thread, what kind of jerk am I?


mc1120 t1_iu58zwj wrote

We're not ones for jokes, kid...