"Werewolves of London" as written by Warren Zevon, Leroy Marinell and Waddy Wachtel....
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Werewolves of London song meanings
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  • +5
    General CommentSome of you guys need to get out more--or maybe stay in and watch a few old werewolf movies. You know, the ones with the genteel British guy, perfectly dressed and groomed who, in spite of Claude Raines' warning, turns into a howling monster, mutilating and devouring by the light of the full moon.

    As to the guy who thought this was ripped off from Sweet Home Alabama, can I use the word 'idiot' on this board? If you were serious, here's the sequence.

    1. Lynard Skynard has hit with Sweet Home Alabama
    2. Warren Zevon has a hit with this completely unrelated song
    3. Kid Rock, possibly the biggest doofus in the history of music, records a song about listening to the Skynard song and inexplicably uses the music from the Warren Zevon song.

    Got it? Good, because I don't want to have to come after you. ;)
    marcshoeon October 20, 2010   Link
  • +4
    General CommentIt's advice to everyone. Please, people, spay your werewolves.
    Letmeinon December 18, 2010   Link
  • +3
    General CommentI've seen bits and pieces here and there that get it straight, but let me combine it all...

    This is one of the few songs he wrote that Warren was very up front about where the meaning was concerned- the meaning being, it has none. It starts in 1974 long before he had even begun his first album. Phil Everly was working on a solo album after he and Don broke up their band. Warren, their former band leader and a close friend, was talking with him one evening after Don had been watching a old B-movie called Werewolf of London and mentioned the movie. They started joking about how it sounded like a good song title. Phil, probably in jest said, "Fine, make it a dance song 'The Werewolves of London,' and I'll put it on the album." In much the same fashion of Bruce Springsteen and "Jeanie Needs a Shooter," Warren took him at his word. Shortly after that Warren was song writing with his friend Roy Marinell and decided to take a crack at Werewolves. Marinell, a bassist, said he had just the riff for a dance song, and in turn played the famous bass line. It's not clear if this was a rip off Sweet Home Alabama which was released around the same time (Spring 1974) but if it is, that's Roy's look out. Waddy Wachetl happened to walk in and ask, "What are you to doing?"
    Warren said, "We doing the Werewolves of London," and Waddy replied, "Ah, you mean like- Awhooooooo?" And it went from there. They just started rattling off lyrics that they thought sounded funny and that fit together. Warren's wife, Crystal was there and started writing down the lyrics as they went. A few days later she and Warren went to visit Jackson Browne and he asked if Warren was working on anything new. Crystal said, "Do the new one," and Warren asked, "what new one?" She pulled out her notepad and read out the lyrics. Jackson loved it and asked if he use it in his set. Warren said he didn't care, and Jackson ended up getting bootlegged doing the song in concert. His producers asked when we was going to record it, and he said he didn't want to but he could put them in touch with the guy who wrote it.
    When they did the "Warren Zevon" album, Jackson urged that it be left off in favor of the deeper songs like "The French Inhaler" or "Hasten Down the Wind". He said those were too important to be left off in place of a normal pop song. Once the album established Warren with the critics though, he said it would be perfect for the second album, "Excitable Boy". In turn, it was chosen as the single from that LP, much to the chagrin of Warren and Waddy who felt jilted that a song they wrote in 15 minutes for kicks was being paid attention when deeper stuff like "Veracruz" or "Accidentally Like A Martyr" was overlooked. Of course, it was kind of insult to injury when the song became the only popular hit Warren ever had.
    Once he was established in his fanbase during the 90s he was asked in an interview if he ever thought about dropping it from his set list to add some of his more personal material. His response was, "Well, not really. I suppose it just wouldn't feel right without the obligatory 3 minutes of howling every night."
    FloydianWholiganon January 19, 2010   Link
  • +1
    General CommentRescramble "Lee Ho Fook" as "Ho Lee Fook". Also, Zevon was/is a friend of James Taylor: "rip your lungs out JIM... like to meet his TAILOR".
    aaron1728on September 13, 2002   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI know no ones around to read this but, here I go anyway.
    I think the songs about acceptance of what I don't know, but I feel it's a bad acceptance. Such as maybe rape or murder, Zeavon is trying to get us to realize it. Because he sings of how werewolves are acting like everyday folks and seem to be everywhere, and by now they are accepted. Thats why I think it is about forced acceptance, because even though there is rape murder everywhere, we a forced to live with it. And by now it is just a part of the world today and it is very accepted, which is very sad.
    Woodsy2569on March 28, 2003   Link
  • +1
    General CommentEven the most civilized veneer cannot fully cover up the beast inside. Isn't it obvious?
    ButtOfMalmseyon April 11, 2003   Link
  • +1
    General CommentWarren Zevon's black humour at work again. Possibly drug-fuelled?
    This came about 5 years before the classic John Landis movie with a similar name. Art imitating art?
    chrisb1on January 29, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General Commentanm712, q28401... I think you two hit the nail most squarely on the head. This song is not some political statement or any of that crap. Most of you are just reading way too far into this song. According to Warren Zevon's biography, he, Waddy Wachtel, and Roy Marinell sat down at Roy's house, got stoned and the three of them composed this song with a guitar riff Roy had written years before but never really used. Each of them wrote part of it. It took them somewhere between 10 and 15 minutes to write and Crystal Zevon (Warren's wife) kept saying that it was great and they said, "You think it's so great, why don't you write it down?" They were just dicking around. Even the great Warren Zevon just had fun every once in awhile.
    FlyByNighton November 04, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThe song IS about the then new punk movement. Warren had toured England in 1977 and took in all the young punks wandering the streets at night. Ala a werewolf terrorizing a city, people afraid to venture out at night. Punks slept all day and partied all night. The punk scene was biggest in NY and London, the 2 cities mentioned in the song. The famous "His hair was perfect" is a funny riff about how much time punks spent on their mohawks, blue hair, etc.
    davey101on May 28, 2008   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThis song is clearly about Zevon's struggle with homosexuality. The werewolf simply serves as a masculine image. In the first stanza Zevon discovers the werewolves, in the second his explores his disgust (better not let em in), the third forms a sort of tacit, tepid acceptance and admiration (I'd like to meet his tailor) and finally he ends the song by rejoicing in his attraction to other men (his hair was perfect).
    Sub-textually, the performance of the song is hyper-sexual, especially in the video: Zevon sneers and pouts in a hilariously over-sexualized parody of himself.
    The men Zevon finds himself attracted to are portrayed as werewolves simply because he's afraid of his potential homosexuality, thus they are painted as monsters. Towards the end of the song, as Zevon inches toward acceptance, the men cease to be werewolves and become Lon Chaney "doing" the werewolves of London (acting like a homosexual) with "The Queen" (a male cross-dresser).
    With the final line Zevon admits his attraction to these no-longer monstrous characters and comes to terms with the idea being mildly homosexual.
    After all, what subset of the male population dresses well, hangs out with queens, drinks pina coladas at Trader Vics and has perfect hair? Not gutter-punks.

    A brief aside: If you think in depth analysis for a song like this is pointless, more power to you. But I don't know why you feel the need to confess it here, repeatedly.
    EdgarOvereasyon July 20, 2008   Link

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