What’s That Book? I’ll Sleep When I’m Dead by Crystal Zevon

I hope you enjoy this new feature of my blog.  Many thanks to “DD” for being the first contributor!

Whats That Book

I'll Sleep When I'm Dead

TitleI’ll Sleep When I’m Dead: The Dirty Life and Times of Warren Zevon

Author:  Crystal Zevon, Warren Zevon’s former wife and lifelong friend

Genre: Biography

Rating:  3 stars

What’s it about?  The structure of the book is a composite of quotations from friends, family, fellow musicians and music industry executives. It chronicles Zevon’s life starting with his relationship with Igor Stravinsky, through his ugly destructive alcoholic period, his relationships with friends, family, and children, his commercial success and ends with his life-ending battle with cancer.

The book includes quotations from family members, Jackson Browne, Bruce Springsteen, Dave Barry, Billy Bob Thorton, David Letterman and many more, all admirers of his song writing and wit.  It also includes excerpts from his personal diary providing insight into his perspective and a personality which varied from a sensitive and thoughtful friend, husband and father to a cold and distant figure to the very same people.            

What I liked the most about I’ll Sleep When I’m Dead was rediscovering his music, lyrics and wit. I was reminded of the many songs and lyrics I enjoyed and shared with family and friends, the concerts I attended and how for a period of my life his music very rarely left our turntable.  While reading this book I listened to his music nearly every day and downloaded many of his songs onto my iPad.  If you are or were a fan I recommend reading this book.

Closing comment:  Upon finishing the book I could not understand how a man who regularly destroyed relationships through his behaviour and distance could also have so many admirers and close friends. But being only a fan, the enjoyment of his music is what matters most to me. Whether you read the book or not, it is worthwhile to dust off those old albums, download his music onto your iPad or iPhone and fill your days with his music once again as I have done.

Contributor: DD

Have you read something you’d like to share?  Consider being a contributor!  Contact bvitelli2009@gmail.com for more information.

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7 thoughts on “What’s That Book? I’ll Sleep When I’m Dead by Crystal Zevon

  1. Based on DD’s review, I bought the Kindle version of this book to read on an overseas flight. Honestly, I didn’t remember Warren Zevon’s music, so it took awhile to get into the book. My first thought was that the story was completely disjointed and needed heavy editing. It was also irritating to read about Zevon’s dysfunctional life and relationships. The book went on and on so I started skimming it. I actually was looking for a quote from David Letterman who was greatly hyped throughout, but I never found it. But a couple of things kept me going. I really liked the comments from Bruce Springsteen and Dave Barry who regarded Zevon with great affection through a lens of normalcy. According to the author, Dave Barry cried during his interview, the only one to do so. I also liked the lyrics at the beginning of each chapter. Finally, after reading the book I googled him and listened to his top 10 songs. My favorite was “Keep Me In Your Heart,” one of the last songs Warren Zevon recorded. In the end I’d call the book haunting.

    1. Thanks for commenting, KJ! I just reserved the book from the library and I’ll jump in on the comments once I read it. I was a big Warren Zevon fan in the 70s, but I lost track of him as time passed.

  2. KJ, David Letterman dedicated an entire show to Warren Zevon just before he died. It’s available on YouTube. If you liked the song “Keep Me in Your Heart” you may also enjoy “The Indifference of Heaven” written several years before he died.

    1. Hello DD and KJ! I had 2 Warren Zevon albums in the 70s, Excitable Boy and his self-titled album. Loved them both and played them non-stop! My favorites from those albums are Tenderness on the Block from Excitable Boy and Mama Couldn’t Be Persuaded (a great work-out song, btw!) and The French Inhaler from his self-titled. I always loved how all the musicians I liked back then collaborated on each others’ albums. It was so fun to recognize Jackson Browne, the Eagles and Fleetwood Mac in Zevon’s music.

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