In 2000, Warren Zevon put out an album titled Life’ll Kill Ya. Two years later, he followed up with My Ride’s Here. True to their titles, both albums were extensive musings on death and living in its expectation. Shortly after the release of My Ride’s Here, Zevon was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer. Given but a few months left to live, he said that he hoped to put out one final album and live long enough to see the next James Bond movie.
He also did a full hour on David Letterman and when asked about any wisdom he had gained about life and death, he replied that he hadn’t learned anything special but to “enjoy every sandwich.” This oft-quoted bit of advice turned into the title to his tribute album, which featured the likes of Bob Dylan, Don Henley and Bruce Springsteen. My favorite track on the album, however, is Jill Sobule’s beautiful performance of “Don’t Let Us Get Sick” – one of the tracks from Life’ll Kill Ya that now seems eerily prescient.
In the end, the hard living that Warren Zevon did over the years caught up with him and he passed away on September 7, 2003. Before he did, he spit in the face of the grim reaper, outliving his diagnosis by something like six to nine months, seeing the birth of his twin grandchildren, finishing his album (which would posthumously win him his first two Grammys), and seeing that Bond film, Die Another Day.