The Hungry Wolf
by X

Album: Under The Big Black Sun (1982)
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Songfacts®:

  • The lead track from the third X album, Under the Big Black Sun, "The Hungry Wolf" has two main inspirations. One is a painting from around 1890 by the Polish artist Alfred Kowalski. Titled "The Lone Wolf," it depicts a wolf looking over a village in the winter. "He's looking down, and there is this little idyllic cabin house, and there's smoke coming out of the fireplace - it's a winter night. He's just looking at this house," Exene Cervenka of X explained in a Songfacts interview.

    The second inspiration, according to Exene, was the name the band and their tight-knit group of friends used to describe their pack: "The Wolves." Said Exene, "That all came about at that same time and it became this whole mental, cultural, overarching thing for a minute."
  • Lead vocalists John Doe and Exene Cervenka combine their voices on this track. They are the credited writers, but drummer DJ Bonebrake had a big hand in its construction. "DJ came up with the rhythms," Cervenka said. "'Hungry Wolf' is DJ."
  • X made a video for this song that got a bit of airplay on MTV, but the hungry wolf that ate up airtime on the network was Duran Duran's similarly titled lupine track, also released in 1982. X never broke through with a pop hit, but their music helped define the West Coast punk scene of the early '80s.

    "The Hungry Wolf" video was directed by the band's producer, Ray Manzarek, who before forming The Doors was a film student at UCLA (as was his bandmate Jim Morrison). Manzarek, who also directed the X video for "Motel Room In My Bed," made a new video for the Doors' classic "L.A. Woman" in 1985 that starred John Doe.

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