Top Ten Warren Zevon Songs: Accidentally Like a Martyr (#2)

@FourWalls (12915)
United States
April 16, 2016 8:23pm CST
Tomorrow I'll reveal my favorite song from both Merle Haggard and Warren Zevon. Here is the number two song on my Zevon list, and it's one that comes with quite a story. #2: Accidentally Like a Martyr This song, musically speaking, changed my life forever. I was 17, and the radio station in Orlando (which I could pick up in Daytona Beach) played a lot of songs in a row. By the time they got around to announcing the eight or nine songs they had played I had lost track. In February 1978 I was at my favorite record store, and we were discussing new releases. I had mentioned that I had read nothing but good things about Excitable Boy, the new album by Warren Zevon. My friend, who managed the store, was a little hesitant to play the record for me because of "all the violence" on the record. I promised him I'd tell him to stop if it was too much for my sensitive 17-year-old ears (remember, this was 1978, when 17 year olds hadn't done a lot, not like today when 17-year-olds have done more than 77-year-olds). When side one came to the last song, it was "Accidentally Like a Martyr." I discovered that was the song I'd been hearing on the radio. I rode my bicycle home, got six bucks, and biked back to the store to get the album. I also told him to order Zevon's first album for me. I've never been the same since that song struck me like a thunderbolt. All of this non-commercial music I listen to today is because this marvelous song ended up being removed from FM radio in favor of the same 100 songs by the same 28 acts. (That's for another discussion, though.) This incredible song is a tender ballad, the total antithesis of those "violent songs" on side one. It is Zevon, yet again pouring out his heart and soul (such as in the #3 song, "Bed of Coals") about the agony over love that has died. He mourned the things that could have been but now cannot be undone ("should've done, should've done, we all sigh") and the consequences ("never thought I'd ever be so lonely after such a long, long time, time out of mind"). When Preludes was released four years after Zevon's death I discovered he had an early song called "Accidentally Like a Martyr," but the only thing he kept from that song for this one was the chorus of "mad love, shadow love, random love, and abandoned love, accidentally like a martyr the hurt gets worse and the heart gets harder." That early version is pretty good, too, but it's this song that will be in my heart for all time. I love this song both for what it says and what it did to me. Accidentally Like a Martyr Written by Warren Zevon From Excitable Boy, 1978
Warren Zevon - Accidentally Like A Martyr Recorded Live: 10/1/1982 - Capitol Theatre - Passaic, NJ More Warren Zevon at Music Vault: http://www.musicvault.co...
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4 responses
@JolietJake (49936)
• United States
17 Apr 16
I missed you posting this yesterday...this is the one.
1 person likes this
@FourWalls (12915)
• United States
17 Apr 16
You have good taste, if I do say so myself.
1 person likes this
@JolietJake (49936)
• United States
17 Apr 16
@FourWalls The song is flawless...been known to bring a tear a time or two... "The hurt gets worse, and the heart gets harder..."
1 person likes this
@JohnRoberts (52178)
• Los Angeles, California
18 Apr 16
I missed this entry. I don't know this song so thanks for the intro.
1 person likes this
@teamfreak16 (40502)
• Colorado Springs, Colorado
17 Apr 16
Another pretty song. If someone would just be willing to listen, they'd come to realize that there was more to Warren Zevon than "Werewolves of London."
1 person likes this
@CRK109 (14420)
• United States
17 Apr 16
Musical memories are my favorites, by far. I've loved music as far back as I can remember and music has danced around my best and worst memories. It never ceases to amaze me how a single song can bring me 40 years back in time! :)
1 person likes this