I love songs that have their own mythology to them, songs that imply a rich backstory, but proceed in medias reslike great epics.
“Roland the Headless Thompson Gunner” from Warren Zevon’s brilliant album Excitable Boy is just such a song, recounting the story of a mercenary so hardcore and so tough that even after having his head blown off, he keeps roaming the earth. I used to dream of writing a story in which Roland shows up as a minor character and finally finds his damn head.
The eternal Thompson gunner, still wandering through the night
Now it’s ten years later but he still keeps up the fight
In Ireland, in Lebanon, in Palestine and Berkeley
Patty Hearst heard the burst of Roland’s Thompson gun
And bought it
And here’s the man himself, crooning about Roland at the behest of David Letterman…
iTunes album link: http://itunes.apple.com/us/album/excitable-boy-remastered/id256615448
The album version is great (of course), but the live version on Learning to Flinch is truly amazing:http://itunes.apple.com/us/album/learning-to-flinch-live/id294842868