Eight notes. Eight notes that were so laughingly simple that the creators almost didn’t make it into a song, let alone release it, and yet thirty years later it’s the signature song for one of the greatest songwriters of the last quarter century and an instant crowd motivating anthem.
And someone who has never touched a keyboard can figure out how to play the melody in…ohh…thirty seconds. And someone who has ony heard the song once – once – instantly remembers it for life.
And if that doesn’t define a hit record, catching lightning in a bottle, not only grabbing the brass ring but sticking your head in it and yelling ah-whooooo at the top of your lungs? Well…then nothing does.
The late great Warren Zevon wrote far better songs, and I’m sure there were nights where playing “Werewolves of London” and having it get the biggest cheer was not unlike Loudon Wainwright III having to pull “Dead Skunk” out of the bag for twenty years until he had enough of a genuine cult following to risk leaving it by the wayside.
Not that the song wasn’t filled with charm and wit. Who else would toss off alliteration like “little old lady got mutilated late last night” as an aside just for those who would appreciate the skill? But as I heard the song today for what probably was the billionth time, that wasn’t what I yelled out of the car window at the top of my lungs.
Nope. I yelled “ah whooooo, Werewolves of London….ah whoooooo!
Of course, the master did it best. God damn, I miss you, Warren Zevon.
Hearing this song today made me realize how it still knocks me out and no matter what I’m doing, it makes me stop and pay attention. This Friday’s TGIF will feature ten other songs that make you snap out of a coma and start singing along…if not engage in significantly worse behavior.
Yeah, I mean you.