Rock and roll rhetoric: Werewolves of London

“Little old lady got mutilated late last night;

Werewolves of London again.”

Werewolves of London, Warren Zevon

Warren Zevon was such a talented songwriter. He was musical and he was literate. He was eloquent and he was deliciously dark. He was part of the West Coast scene in the 70s, along with the Eagles and Jackson Browne, but his inspiration seemed to come from a different place.

I suspect you could write a book on rock and roll rhetoric and never stray from his canon. His empathy and use of imagery were remarkable and no-one could torture a cliche or tired aphorism back into life like he could. This line,though, is all about the sound.

You get the relentless alliteration of Little Lady (muti) Lated Late Last.

And the assonance of LAdy mutilAted lAte.

Almost a throw-away song (although a huge hit), but such a great line.

From the 1978 album, Excitable Boy



I have also enjoyed a big dish of beef chow mein at Lee Ho Fook’s (on Gerrard Street). Ahoooooooo!



About Andrew Munro

An independent business consultant, interim manager and writer, Andrew operates through his company, Burning Pine Ltd (
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