Song of the Day #4,505: ‘Keep Me in Your Heart’ – Warren Zevon

My awareness of Warren Zevon begins and ends with his classic ‘Werewolves of London,’ released on the 1978 album Excitable Boy. That song got a lot of airplay when I was young, and really got a boost when Martin Scorsese had Tom Cruise peacock around a pool table to it in 1986’s The Color of Money.

That was Zevon’s third of 12 studio albums, in a career that spanned 24 years and saw him collaborate with the likes of Linda Ronstadt, David Letterman and R.E.M.

In 2003, Zevon released his final album, The Wind. He recorded the album after being diagnosed with inoperable mesothelioma, knowing full well it would likely be the last music he’d ever release.

I don’t know if I’ve ever heard an album that is essentially the artist’s dying confession, and this one hits hard. Try not to let lines like this one, in a song written about his wife, hit you in the gut: “I want her to be happy / I want her to be free / I want her to be everything / She couldn’t be with me.”

Zevon saved his most poignant track for the end, closing out the album with a plea for his loved ones (including a wife, two children and two grandchildren) to hold on to his memory.

“Sometimes when you’re doing simple things around the house / Maybe you’ll think of me and smile / You know I’m tied to you like the buttons on your blouse / Keep me in your heart for a while”

What a powerful and compassionate way to stare down your own mortality and turn it into art.

[Verse 1]
Shadows are falling and I’m running out of breath
Keep me in your heart for awhile
If I leave you it doesn’t mean I love you any less:
Keep me in your heart for a while

[Verse 2]
When you get up in the morning and you see that crazy sun
Keep me in your heart for awhile
There’s a train leaving nightly called
“When All-is-Said-and-Done”
Keep me in your heart for a while

[Chorus]
Sha-la-la-la-la-la-la-li-li-lo
Keep me in your heart for a while
Sha-la-la-la-la-la-la-li-li-lo
Keep me in your heart for a while

[Verse 3]
Sometimes when you’re doing simple things around the house
Maybe you’ll think of me and smile
You know I’m tied to you like the buttons on your blouse:
Keep me in your heart for a while

[Bridge]
Hold me in your thoughts, take me to your dreams
Touch me as I fall into view
When the winter comes keep the fires lit
And I will be right next to you

[Verse 4]
Engine driver’s headed north to Pleasant Stream
Keep me in your heart for a while
These wheels keep turning but they’re running out of steam
Keep me in your heart for a while

[Chorus]
Sha-la-la-la-la-la-la-li-li-lo
Keep me in your heart for a while
Sha-la-la-la-la-la-la-li-li-lo
Keep me in your heart for a while

[Chorus]
Sha-la-la-la-la-la-la-li-li-lo
Keep me in your heart for a while
Sha-la-la-la-la-la-la-li-li-lo
Keep me in your heart for a while

3 thoughts on “Song of the Day #4,505: ‘Keep Me in Your Heart’ – Warren Zevon

  1. Dana Gallup says:

    I just heard this song being covered yesterday by Eddie Vedder on Howard Stern. Here is an article about it, and how Vedder opened up about losing Chris Cornell.

    https://www.howardstern.com/news/2020/11/02/eddie-vedder-covers-warren-zevon-remembers-chris-cornell-and-reveals-the-sage-advice-he-gave-bradley-cooper-before-filming-a-star-is-born/

  2. Peg says:

    Powerful and so sad 😢

  3. I guess this could be called the ultimate farewell song. So sad.

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