Deep Dive: Warren Zevon, BAD LUCK STREAK IN DANCING SCHOOL
There are precious few songs in the pantheon of rock music which include in their lyrics the word “brucellosis.” In fact, as far as we know, there’s still only one, and it features on this album.
BAD LUCK STREAK IN DANCING SCHOOL was Warren Zevon’s fourth studio album, and it took a full-fledged intervention to get it made, so deep was Zevon in the throes of his oft-documented alcoholism. The intervention didn’t take, unfortunately, but the album managed to get made nonetheless, albeit in a sporadic, haphazard fashion.
Interestingly, the album’s cover proved to be more controversial than any of the material contained therein, due to the back cover art featuring a ballerina’s pointe shoes along with an Uzi machine gun and bullet casing. According to Jimmy Wachtel in Crystal Zevon’s book I’ll Sleep When I’m Dead: The Dirty Life and Times of Warren Zevon, “This woman’s group got up in arms that it was saying that we were going to mow down these ballerinas with a gun, and I had to go to Asylum Records, to (label chairman) Joe Smith’s office, to defend the album cover.”
Despite its difficult birthing, BAD LUCK STREAK featured some true Zevon classics, including “Play It All Night Long” (the aforementioned song which includes “brucellosis” in its lyrics), “Gorilla, You’re a Desperado,” and “Jeannie Needs a Shooter,” which was co-written with Bruce Springsteen. It also provided Zevon with a minor hit single in the form of “A Certain Girl,” a Naomi Neville composition which had previously been recorded by Ernie K-Doe. Although the song only climbed to #57 on the Billboard Hot 100, for a Zevon single, that was a phenomenal showing.
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