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I'll Sleep When I'm Dead: The Dirty Life and…
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I'll Sleep When I'm Dead: The Dirty Life and Times of Warren Zevon (2007)

by Crystal Zevon

Other authors: Carl Hiaasen (Foreword)

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Showing 1-5 of 14 (next | show all)
ML420.Z475 Z58 2007
  ChrisPisarczyk | Mar 17, 2016 |
I enjoyed some of Warren Zevon's music but I didn't realize just how much of it and how many artists that I love, that he was connected with. But that's not why this book received five stars.

The book is written in a series of anecdotal paragraphs from different people in Zevon's life. In some cases, one story will be told from the different perspectives of all the people involved in a story. This more personal form of story telling makes you feel the more immediate impact of what was happening. This was a great time period in rock and roll in Los Angeles. It was the 1970's and the big players like Jackson Browne, Linda Ronstadt, Joni Mitchell, Neil Young etc. are all there making an appearance.

History is littered with tortured geniuses. Zevon is one of those. Rather than looking at someone through the long lens of time, this is a look at the immediate ramifications of someone who was brilliant but tortured. The impact of his behavior and actions was huge and left indelible marks on the people in his life: collaborators, children, wives and lovers and friends.

Zevon was a raging alcoholic and although he was able to write music and lyrics during these periods, he was ill equipped to handle almost any other aspect of his life. To that end, we see all the people in his life, although often damaged by his actions, creating a scenario in which they both enabled the alcoholism and enabled the work to continue.

To that end, this book isn't for everyone. The behavior of Zevon was at turns tragic, hilarious and selfish. Throughout the book I wondered why those who really cared and loved the man, allowed him to treat them the way that he did while rarely calling him on it. This might be the result of genius: one is afraid to touch any aspect of it for fear that changing one thing will change the nature of the work.

Readers will be surprised at how much of the work they recognize and realize that like many genius's throughout history, Zevon's work will most likely come to be appreciated more in death than it ever was in life. He was respected and revered by artists who reached greater commercial success and this made him frustrated. He was a mess but oh, what a gloriously talented mess.

Easily one of the best rock biographies I have read. Worth any amount of time and money spent on it and you will end up looking for Zevon's work and appreciating it more than you ever thought possible. ( )
  ozzieslim | Apr 20, 2015 |
Great subject, but mediocre writing and editing made it a chore to read. The pictures were the best part! ( )
  SharronA | Jan 18, 2014 |
I read this book in May of 2007.

This biography covers the late singer-songwriter's wild life, including his childhood and youth as the only child of a Jewish gangster father and a long-suffering Mormon mother, his alcohol-soaked days as a influential musician in the Los Angeles music scene, and his untimely death from lung cancer at the age of 56.

I don’t know much about his music, but Warren Zevon was a man with deep problems–a bad friend, negligent father, wife beater, hard-core porn addict and a very serious substance abuser. And yet, he had lots of well-known friends (Carl Hiaassen, Billy Bob Thornton, and Bruce Springsteen, among others) who vouch for what a great guy he was sometimes, what great parties they had back in the 1970s, etc. This oral history compiled by Zevon’s ex-wife kept me reading, but Zevon does not emerge as a admirable man. ( )
  akblanchard | Oct 10, 2013 |
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Crystal Zevonprimary authorall editionscalculated
Hiaasen, CarlForewordsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
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Wikipedia in English (1)

Book description
When Warren Zevon died in 2003, he left behind both a fanatical cult following and a rich catalog of dark, witty rock-n-roll classics that includes "Lawyers, Guns, and Money," "Excitable Boy," and the immortal "Werewolves of London." He also left a trove of misadventures and anecdotes, a veritable rock opera of drugs, women, celebrity, high times, and hard ways. As Warren once said, "I got to be Jim Morrison a lot longer than he did." This book is an intimate and unusual oral history of one of our most original and distinctive rock-and-roll antiheroes. Narrated by his former wife and longtime co-conspirator, Crystal Zevon, it book draws on over eighty interviews with the likes of Bruce Springsteen, Stephen King, Billy Bob Thornton, Jackson Browne, Bonnie Raitt, and countless others who came under his mischievous spell. The result is a raucous and moving tale of love and obsession, creative genius and epic bad behavior.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0060763450, Hardcover)

Told in the words of his musical accomplices, fellow-travelers, friends, and lovers, "I'll Sleep When I'm Dead" is an intimate and unusual biography of fabled singer-songwriter Warren Zevon, the musical force behind such dark, witty rock-and-roll classics as "Werewolves of London" and "Roland, the Headless Thompson Gunner." Narrated by Crystal Zevon, Zevon's former (and only) wife, it draws on interviews with Jackson Browne, Tom Petty, Emmylou Harris, Linda Rondstadt, Stevie Nicks, Lindsay Buckingham, the Everly Brothers, and a host of other denizens of Southern California's influential rock scene to tell the story of the original "Excitable Boy": literary hoodlum, OCD sufferer, brilliant songwriter, and rock-and-roll icon.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:13:28 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

"When Warren Zevon died in 2003, he left behind both a fanatical cult following and a rich catalog of dark, witty rock-n-roll classics that includes "Lawyers, Guns, and Money, " "Excitable Boy, " and the immortal "Werewolves of London." He also left a trove of misadventures and anecdotes, a veritable rock opera of drugs, women, celebrity, high times, and hard ways. As Warren once said, "I got to be Jim Morrison a lot longer than he did."" "I'll Sleep When I'm Dead is an unusual oral history of one of our most original and distinctive rock-and-roll antiheroes. Narrated by his former wife and longtime co-conspirator, Crystal Zevon, the book draws on over eighty interviews with the likes of Bruce Springsteen, Stephen King, Billy Bob Thornton, Jackson Browne, Bonnie Raitt, and countless others who came under his spell. The result is a tale of love and obsession, creative genius and epic bad behavior. Told in the words and images of the friends, lovers, and legends who knew him best, I'll Sleep When I'm Dead captures Warren Zevon in all his turbulent glory."--BOOK JACKET.… (more)

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