Monday, 4 April 2011

The Evening's Anthem: Warren Zevon - Keep Me In Your Heart

Next we have a song from an artist who is not remembered quite as prominently as (in my eyes at least), he should. Back in 1970 Classic Rock placed him alongside Neil Young, Jackson Browne, and Bruce Springsteen as 'one of the four most important new artists to become well known during the decade'. Perhaps not fully living up to all of the early potential indicated with his sophomore effort 'Excitable Boy', he did still go on to write some incredible songs.

In 2002 after experiencing dizzy spells, Zevon went to see his physician - and ultimately was diagnosed with mesothelioma (a form of lung cancer). His diagnosis was that he had no more than a few month to live. Zevon refused further treatments to prolong his life in favor of putting all his remaining energy into what little time he had left. His ultimate goal was to survive long enough to write and see the release of his final album, 'The Wind'. Contributions on this album from Bruce Springsteen, Don Henley, Jackson Browne, Emmylou Harris and Tom Petty, showed Zevon's popularity amongst legends of the industry.

Although it's hard to judge an album objectively in these circumstances, I really do find this to be a truly special record. For me the stand out track is 'Keep Me In Your Heart'. On this song Zevon wear his heart fully on his sleeve, with some gut-wrenchingly honest lyrics. He hopes that during the every day tasks that his loved ones take part in, they keep him in their heart's for a while. The exquisitely executed guitar ballad puts across the last concerns and wishes of a very special talent, taken too early. Zevon posthumously received five Grammy nominations, including best song for 'Keep Me In Your Heart'.

Zevon survived long enough to see the birth of his twin grandsons and the release of this album on 26th August 2003. I'll leave you with some advice he gave on the Letterman show (who was a close friend of Zevon's) - when asked what advice he'd give from his current state on life, Zevon responded 'enjoy every sandwich'.

                                           'Shadows are falling and I'm running out of breath
                                                                    Keep me in your heart for a while'

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