Songs with Earlier Histories Than the Hit Version

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Tagged: Warren Zevon

Hasten Down the Wind

Written and first recorded by Warren Zevon (1976).
Hit album version by Linda Ronstadt (1976).

From the wiki: “‘Hasten Down the Wind’ was song written and first recorded by Warren Zevon, featured on his eponymous major-label 1976 debut album. The track was produced by Jackson Browne, who had met Zevon in the mid-seventies. Their relationship played a significant role in Zevon’s career thereafter. It was with Browne’s assistance that Zevon got a major record contract. Zevon’s version of the song features Phil Everly singing harmony vocals, and also David Lindley playing slide guitar.

“During the early 1970s, Zevon toured regularly with The Everly Brothers as keyboard player, band leader, and musical coordinator. Later, he toured and recorded with Don Everly and Phil Everly separately, as they each attempted to launch solo careers after the breakup of their duo. Zevon’s own dissatisfaction with his career (and a lack of funds) led him to move to Spain in the summer of 1975, where he lived and played in the Dubliner Bar, a small tavern in Sitges, near Barcelona, owned by David Lindell, a former mercenary. (Together they composed ‘Roland the Headless Thompson Gunner’.)

“By September 1975, Zevon had returned to Los Angeles where he roomed with Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham, who had by now gained fame as members of Fleetwood Mac. There Zevon met and collaborated with Jackson Browne, who produced and promoted Zevon’s major-label debut album, Warren Zevon, in 1976. Contributors to the album included Nicks, Buckingham, Mick Fleetwood, John McVie, members of the Eagles, Carl Wilson, Linda Ronstadt, and Bonnie Raitt.

Poor Poor Pitiful Me

Written and first recorded by Warren Zevon (1976).
Hit version by Linda Ronstadt (US #31/C&W #46/CAN #9 1977), Terri Clark (C&W #5/CAN #1 1996).

From the wiki: “‘Poor Poor Pitiful Me’ was written and first recorded by Warren Zevon (with backing vocals by Lindsey Buckingham). In keeping with Zevon’s sardonic lyrical style, the song’s verses deal with a failed suicide, domestic abuse, and a brush with sadomasochism. (It is reputed to be a friendly swipe by Zevon at Jackson Browne, whose songs – such as ‘Here Come Those Tears Again'” and ‘Sleeps Dark and Silent Gate’ – could be dark and wallowing in pity.)