respect the classics

The Piano Man Campaigned for Warren Zevon’s Rock Hall Nomination

Photo-Illustration: Vulture. Photos: Getty Images

Send your lawyers, guns, money, and letters of recommendation. Warren Zevon has received his first nomination for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, a much-belated honor that places him in a potential induction class with the likes of Willie Nelson, Cyndi Lauper, and the White Stripes. (The man has been eligible since 1994. To borrow one of his quotes: That shit’s fucked up.) While many of Zevon’s musical peers have advocated for his Rock Hall induction through the years, perhaps most prominently Jackson Browne, the Los Angeles Times reports that a major wave of support this year came from none other than Billy Joel, who wrote a screed to the nominating committee in favor of his fellow piano man. “I just wanted to put in my two cents of supporting Warren Zevon to be included,” he explained. “If anyone deserves to be, he does. He was a real original, and I don’t know if that’s appreciated enough. The first minute I saw him, I was knocked out. He was like the crazy brother I never had. He was fearless, and it stuck with me. I never thought he got the attention he deserved.” Despite perhaps not being an obvious pair of friends, Joel has covered Zevon’s work in the past and recalled a story where the two of them “downed a lot of vodka” after a show in their early years.

“He was a piano player, and we all tend to get lumped into this thing of ‘they’re not real rock guys’ — which I don’t think is fair, but I understand why it happens,” Joel said about why Zevon might still be overlooked. “Piano is perceived to be this middle-of-the-road instrument only played by dorks. But when I saw Warren, he was kind of breaking the piano to pieces, little by little, which I thought was an interesting style.” Also interesting? Walking through the streets of Soho in the rain. Just try to be careful. Ah-hooooo!

Billy Joel Campaigned for Warren Zevon’s Rock Hall Nom