Zevon wrote this with guitarist Robert "Waddy" Wachtel. When Zevon was working with The Everly Brothers, he hired Wachtel to play in their backing band. At one point, Phil Everly asked them to write a dance song for the Everly Brothers called "Werewolves Of London." Wachtel and Zevon were good friends and were strumming guitars together when someone asked what they were playing. Zevon replied, "Werewolves Of London," and Wachtel started howling. Zevon came up with the line "I saw a werewolf with a Chinese menu in his hand," and they traded lyrics back and forth until they had their song.
Jackson Browne produced this track. It features the backing vocals of Mick Fleetwood and John McVie from Fleetwood Mac.
According to legend, a Werewolf is a man who turns into a wolf when there is a full moon. The only way to kill one is to shoot it through the heart with a silver bullet.
This was featured in the 1986 movie The Color Of Money, starring Paul Newman and Tom Cruise. Robbie Robertson from The Band put together the soundtrack.
The lyrics tell the story of "a hairy-handed gent who ran amok in Kent." He's well-dressed ("I'd like to meet his tailor"), well-groomed ("His hair was perfect"), and "preying on little old ladies."
The Chinese restaurant mentioned in the song, "Lee Ho Fook," is a real location. It is situated on Gerrard Street in London's Chinatown (the nearest Tube station is Piccadilly). The patron proudly displays Zevon's photo.
Geoff - Morecambe, England
When Zevon played this live, he sometimes replaced the line "I'd like to meet his tailor" with "And he's looking for James Taylor!"
john - Cheshire, England
In 1981, John Landis directed a movie called An American Werewolf In London
. He went on to direct Michael Jackson's "Thriller
" video, which featured Jackson as a Werewolf.
This was the only Top 40 hit for Zevon as a singer. His "Poor Poor Pitiful Me" was #31 for Linda Ronstadt in 1978.
Zevon filled in for bandleader/keyboardist/producer Paul Shaffer at Late Night With David Letterman
whenever Shaffer was unable to attend the taping of the show. Letterman was a big fan of Zevon, and did some very moving interviews with him before his death, including one in which Zevon gave this advice: "Enjoy every sandwich."
Brad Wind - Miami, FL
In 2000, a fight broke out while Zevon was performing this at the Bowery Ballroom in New York. Zevon stopped, waited for the fight to end, said "I bet this never happens at Sting concerts," and continued the song.
There was a minor league baseball team in London, Ontario (Canada) called the London Werewolves.
Jesse Ventura had this played at his inauguration party when he became governor of Minnesota.
Zevon died of lung cancer in 2003. He lived with the disease longer than doctors expected and made his last album, The Wind, while he was dying.
In some versions, Zevon mentioned the actor Jack Nicholson in the lyrics, often replacing the werewolf in the last verse.
Matt - Concord, NH
Kid Rock sampled this on his hit "All Summer Long
Lee - Chicago, IL