Letterman, Seriously: Dave's 10 Most Profound Moments

Sex scandals, heart attacks, 9/11 — when Letterman dropped the funny business and things got real

5. Warren Zevon's Final Appearance on Letterman (October 30, 2002)

Enjoy every sandwich. In the summer of 2002, singer-songwriter (and frequent Letterman guest) Warren Zevon was diagnosed with lung cancer. Right before Halloween, Dave devoted an entire show to Zevon, doing a brief interview with the man and then having him play three songs that demonstrated his range: the prickly sentimentality of "Mutineer," the orchestral snarl of "Genius" and the oddball storytelling of "Roland the Headless Thompson Gunner." Zevon would be dead in less than a year, but his acerbic humanity remains: both in his music and in the temperament of a friend like the host, who clearly saw in the musician a kindred spirit. (Near the end of Late Show's run, singer-songwriters Amanda Shires and Jason Isbell feted Dave with their rootsy cover of "Mutineer," which clearly touched the host.)

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