Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, Jackson Browne, the Pixies, Steve Earle and Don Henley are among the artists who have covered songs by the late Warren Zevon for a tribute album due this fall on Artemis Records.
Several of the artists on the untitled collection were close friends of Zevon, who died of cancer last fall. Browne, who sings the classic “Poor Poor Pitiful Me” (a Top Forty hit for Linda Ronstadt in 1978), helped launch Zevon’s solo career, producing his self-titled second record. Springsteen (who covers “My Ride’s Here”), Henley (“Searching for a Heart”) and actor/singer Billy Bob Thornton (“The Wind”) all made appearances on Zevon’s final album, The Wind. The album, which Zevon began recording after learning of his terminal condition, was released in August 2003, just two weeks before he died. The Grammy-winning The Wind became his best-selling record in more than twenty years. Zevon’s chief collaborator on the record, multi-instrumentalist and co-writer Jorge Calderon, will contribute his rendition of that album’s poignant “Keep Me in Your Heart.”
Both Springsteen and Dylan’s contributions will be from live recordings. Zevon offered a tip to the latter, recording “Knocking on Heaven’s Door” for The Wind. While on tour last year, Dylan took to playing Zevon songs including “Accidentally Like a Martyr,” “Boom Boom Mancini” and “Mutineer” during his sets. A concert recording of “Mutineer” will be included on the new tribute.
In a winking nod to Zevon’s always-present wit, his biggest (and only charting) hit, “Werewolves of London,” will be covered by comedian Adam Sandler. It’s a choice that, according to those that know him, captures Zevon’s belief that his craft was never to be taken too seriously. “I asked him one time if he considered himself an entertainer,” Jackson Browne told Rolling Stone. “And he said, ‘Yeah, absolutely.’ He had no doubt. It surprised me, because I’ve always regarded the people whose work I love the most to be beyond that, above entertainment. He just gave me a funny smile: ‘If you’re not entertaining, you’re not doing anything.'”