Song of the Day – “Roland the Headless Thompson Gunner” – Warren Zevon

A fan favorite for Zevon’s followers, the story of a mercenary evening the score.

As much as I love the artist and the song, this is a tribute to the presenter of Mr. Zevon and countless other terrific musicians over the years. David Letterman signed off less than seven hours ago after 33 years of late-night television. He meant a lot to the way talk shows have changed, to comedians and musicians he presented; but personally, he meant a lot to me.

Much has been made of Letterman and his mentor, Johnny Carson, and how their cool personalities were a fit for the cool medium of television. So it’s not like I think I know the man. He’s not like a warm, caring friend. But he’s that goofy buddy that you always enjoy seeing, even when he’s obviously tired or cranky.

His comedic sensibilities are the same as mine, whether listening patiently to some blather before inserting a comment or saying “I’m a dumb guy; let me do some dumb stunt to make you happy.” (Regarding the first: when Justin Bieber stated that he didn’t want his tattoos to make him look like the “sixteenth chapel”, Dave just turned to the camera and said, “Canadian public education”.)

It is impossible for me to imagine television without him. Unlike Johnny, who was on for more than a decade before I could even watch late-night television, Dave arrived just as I became an adult. His morning show was a favorite when I was in college, and “Late Night” debuted just after I graduated. He was there as I wooed and married the woman of my dreams, and was always available when my daughter kept me awake – every night.

Dave, his writers, staff and the band will always be part of me. I imagine receiving a hot towel from them, with a tear in my eye.


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