Warren Zevon was a talented musician and songwriter who had a lot of friends in the business, but didn’t have the commercial success that his contemporaries had.
One day in 1975 he, along with guitarists Waddy Wachtell and LeRoy Marinell, are just goofing around with their guitars when someone asks them what they’re playing. Zevon, referring back to a joke he’d recently heard, told that person that they were writing “Werewolves of London”. The joke actually started to take shape, but was quickly abandoned.
That is, until other artists picked it up. According to Wachtel, it was one of the toughest recordings he’d ever done, but the appeal of the finished product—to practically everyone but Zevon—was undeniable.It became Zevon’s highest-charting single, and even at that, it wasn’t the monster (heh) hit people remember it being.
Holy Moley, kids. It’s another overstuffed episode of the show for you. But, I guess that’s what happens when you’re dealing with a song that goes clear back to 1933.
“Blue Moon” was written by Rodgers and Hart, and it was going to be used in a movie, then it wasn’t. Then it was going to be used in another movie, then it wasn’t. Then it was again, and the publisher at MGM thought the melody would make a pretty nice popular song, so he convinced Lorenz Hart to change the lyrics. And it did take some convincing, for reasons you’ll get to hear about during the show.
While you’re here, let me give extra thanks to Bill Tyres for his permission to use the audio from one of his YouTube videos. You can find his over at his main webpage, or through his YouTube channel. Tell him I sent you.
And finally, as a little bonus, here’s Elvy Yost, singing the first incarnation of the song. She appeared on an episode of The Catch singing a later version of it (and it looked like a YouTube video in the show), but it doesn’t appear that she actually made a video for YT consumption.
The Go-Go’s (somehow that always looks wrong) started out in the late 1970s as a punk band in Los Angeles, and they were a pretty solid presence in that city’s Punk scene. But as they started to grow in prominence, they moved away from that edgy sound and into more of the pop scene.
When IRS records finally signed them in 1980, they cut their first album, which included a re-recording of their first single. If you listened to college radio, you probably remember the original version of “We Got The Beat,” which was an import here in the US and was actually part of their demo record. You probably also found yourself wondering what happened to it when you finally heard the song released as a single in the early days of 1982, while “Our Lips Are Sealed” was making its slow climb back down the charts.
Well…wonder no more, because I’ve got that story for you right here.
Last week’s show was short, time-wise, and I promised I’d make up for it. And make up, I did, because this is one of my longer non-interview shows, clocking in at 20:30. If you listen to this show during your morning commute, you may have to circle the block a few times before going in to work.
But it’s so packed with stuff that I don’t think you’ll mind. This week we’re looking at songs that were inspired by books, a topic that’s turned out to be HUGE, and we’ll be visiting again in the future if you’re digging it.
First up: this should be the end of the oddball uploads. The show itself is completely migrated, and I’ve gotten a few personal issues out of the way, so I should be back to Sunday night releases beginning next week.
Are we good now? OK.
This week’s show is a little bit on the short side, largely because there wasn’t as much story to tell as I thought there’d be, but I’m definitely going to wind up making up for it with next week’s show. At any rate: Styx’s attempt at a rock opera kind of concept was both very successful and very confusing to a big chunk of their fan base, who stayed away in droves. It managed to fracture the band at the end of the tour, and for thirty-five years they refused to play it in concert.
For those of you who are interested, here’s a picture of the original Kilroy from the World War Two era:
This image, in fact, can be found etched into the World War II memorial in Washington, DC, and it’s a pretty typical version of the image. Sometimes the words appeared below the line, or at another point, but you get the idea. And Kilroy does have dots for eyes; they’re kind of tough to see here because of the granite surface.