36 ARTICLES EXAMINING THE AWESOME THAT IS WARREN ZEVON, PUBLISHED OVER 36 WEEKS. THIS IS

WEDNESDAY WARREN

Wednesday Warren – Turbulence

Continuing our tour through the dystopian future that is Warren Zevon’s 1989 Transverse City, this week turns out to be difficult. I can’t find the next song on the album — “Turbulence” — on YouTube or any of the usual places. If you’d like to sample it, check it out on iTunes:http://itunes.apple.com/us/album/turbulence/id15798798?i=15798739 .

“Turbulence” isn’t a great song (it’s one of the weaker ones on the album, actually), but it is a great example of Zevon’s creativity and ability to think and imagine beyond his own experiences and comfort zone. It’s a protest song, but one unlike most of Warren’s audience would have heard. This wasn’t a sixties/hippy protest song. No, it was protesting a war that — in 1989 — most of Warren’s audience wouldn’t have cared about. And it did so from the point of view of the guys who were at the time America’s enemies.

Turmoil back in Moscow brought this turbulence down on me

Well, we’ve been fightin’ with the mujahaddin
Down in Afghanistan
Comrade Gorbachev, can I
Go back to Vladivostok, man?

That’s right: In 1989, Warren Zevon penned, produced, and published a protest song about the war in Afghanistan — the war the Soviets were fighting. Pieces of the song are even sung in Russian! (A native speaker once told me that what he’s singing is pretty incomprehensible, though — a facility with the Slavic tongues was clearly not one of Warren’s many talents.)

In any event, when teenage Barry first heard this song, he was blown away by it. Taking a staple of the American counter-culture movement and applying it internationally — and to the “Evil Empire,” at that — seemed incredibly audacious and powerful.

Plus, it was just darn cool!

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