This article is about the song. For the video game, see Werewolves of London (video game). Not to be confused with Werewolf of London.
"Werewolves of London" is a rock song composed by LeRoy Marinell, Waddy Wachtel, and Warren Zevon and performed by Zevon. Included on Zevon's 1978 album Excitable Boy, it featured accompaniment by drummer Mick Fleetwood and bassist John McVie of Fleetwood Mac.
The single was released by Asylum Records as catalog number 45472. It entered the American Top 40 charts on April 22, 1978, reaching number 21, and remained in the Top 40 for six weeks.
According to Wachtel, "Werewolves of London" was "the hardest song to get down in the studio I've ever worked on." However, Wachtel "laid down his solo in one take, before he'd even had a chance to partake of the bump of coke and drink he'd placed in front of him."
According to Jackson Browne (who was the producer for the recording), "Werewolves of London" along with "Excitable Boy" were written while work was being done on the album that preceded Excitable Boy but were not included on that album in favor of other songs.
The song is in the key of G major with a three-chord progression that runs through the entire song.
Jackson Browne performed the then-unreleased song on a September 7, 1975 live WMMR radio broadcast from The Main Point, which was located in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania.,
T-Bone Burnett and members of Bob Dylan's Rolling Thunder Revue played the then-unreleased song on several dates, including December 4, 1975 at the Montreal Forum. That version includes the Jack Nicholson reference, as well as Patty Hearst, Frank Sinatra, Rick Danko, Linda Lovelace, Marilyn Chambers, Lon Chaney, Sr., Lon Chaney, Jr., Sammy Davis, Jr. and Jimmy Hoffa, among others.,
The Flamin' Groovies released the song as a 7" vinyl single in June 1979 (Sire, SIR 4018).,
In 1988, David Lindley and El-Rayo X did a ska-flavored cover on their album Very Greasy.,
The Grateful Dead performed this song nine times between April 19 and July 8, 1978. They also played it at least twice subsequently, all on Halloween, in 1985 and 1990 (at London's Wembley Stadium).,
Adam Sandler recorded a version for the tribute album Enjoy Every Sandwich: The Songs of Warren Zevon in 2004.,
Kid Rock interpolated the song with "Sweet Home Alabama" on his 2008 single "All Summer Long". Zevon's own Play It All Night Long from Bad Luck Streak in Dancing School satirizes Lynyrd Skynyrd's "Sweet Home Alabama", with the line "Play that dead band's song".,
Magnolia Electric Co. covered the song on the 2005 EP, Hard To Love A Man.,
Sam Evans (Chord Overstreet) and Artie Abrams (Kevin McHale) covered the song in the 2014 Glee episode "Old Dog New Tricks." The song is heard in the season 3 episode of That '70s Show "Eric's Drunken Tattoo.",
Warren Zevon - piano, vocals,
Waddy Wachtel - guitar,
Mick Fleetwood - drums,
John McVie - bass,
BBC Radio 2 listeners rated it as having the best opening line in a song.
The Martin Scorsese film "Color of Money" features the song in an important scene. Tom Cruise is supposed to play a poor player but cannot resist showing off to this song. Cruise mouths the words "his hair was perfect" indicating that the song was playing at the pool hall.
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