Roland The Headless Thompson Gunner Lyrics - Warren Zevon

Review The Song (3)

Written By Warren Zevon & David Lindell c. 1976 Zevon Music/BMI

Roland was a warrior from the Land of the Midnight Sun
With a Thompson gun for hire, fighting to be done
The deal was made in Denmark on a dark and stormy day
So he set out for Biafra to join the bloody fray

Through sixty-six and seven they fought the Congo war
With their fingers on their triggers, knee-deep in gore
For days and nights they battled the Bantu to their knees
They killed to earn their living and to help out the Congolese

Roland the Thompson gunner...

His comrades fought beside him - Van Owen and the rest
But of all the Thompson gunners, Roland was the best
So the CIA decided they wanted Roland dead
That son-of-a-bitch Van Owen blew off Roland's head

Roland the headless Thompson gunner
Norway's bravest son
Time, time, time
For another peaceful war
But time stands still for Roland
'Til he evens up the score
They can still see his headless body stalking through the night
In the muzzle flash of Roland's Thompson gun
In the muzzle flash of Roland's Thompson gun

Roland searched the continent for the man who'd done him in
He found him in Mombassa in a barroom drinking gin
Roland aimed his Thompson gun - he didn't say a word
But he blew Van Owen's body from there to Johannesburg

Roland the headless Thompson gunner...
The eternal Thompson gunner
Still wandering through the night
Now it's ten years later but he still keeps up the fight
In Ireland, in Lebanon, in Palestine and Berkeley
Patty Hearst heard the burst of Roland's Thompson gun and bought it

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Please Click Here to Print Roland The Headless Thompson Gunner Lyrics | Reviewer: Martin Duggan | 1/27/11

His music was intelligent, insightful and hilarious. His characters, even the one and only "Roland" are somehow charming and interesting. I'm 22 now, and although my only childhood exposure to Warren Zevon was through my mom's homemade Halloween mix-tape, I was lucky enough to have college friends who grew up listening to him. I was so happy that his last performance on David Letterman was "Roland the Headless Thompson Gunner." I think David knew the true man, and although his sentimental ballads are vastly under-rated, Warren will forever be remembered for his sense of humor and for his ability to be a good sport. But Warren, wherever you are, that friendly acceptance of your role as a semi-satyrical musician... The inventive and surprisingly compelling protagonists of your songs... The effortless music that accompanies your lyrics, that we don't seem to notice because were smiling about what you're saying... These things are what makes you the truly and uniquely great. Thank you for being a good sport about it. And rest in peace.

warren zevon- thank you | Reviewer: stephen foote | 4/17/10

my father first introduced me to this song when i was seven. I don't understant why but this song is one of the biggest inspirations of my life. I always wanted to meet Warren Zevon so I asked my father how I could do that. My father told me if i could call the dead I would have a pretty good chance at getting hold of him. This disappointed me because I could never tell the man that has given me so much through music how I felt. I am 17 years old and live in Iowa. I know that sounds odd that a kid from Iowa says he appreciates the music of Warren Zevon. but it's true. iv heard good things about the man and would like to know more about his life.

Thoughts on "Roland" | Reviewer: Carolyn Bongiorno | 11/17/07

I love this song, and others on "Excitable Boy". Zevon's most popular songs, though written in the 1970's, seem as though they were ripped from today's headlines. "Mohammed's Radio" was so prescient. (And what exactly is al-Jazeera? Some would say Mohammed's tv station.) "The Envoy" looks at int'l. diplomacy, and excitable boys are wreaking havoc all across our nation. Like many, I first learned Zevon's songs through Linda Ronstadt's interpretations, but later came to hear the originals. What a loss his passing has been. These songs will live on. Thank you, Warren.

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------ Performed by Warren Zevon

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------ 11/24/2014

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