Poor Poor Pitiful Me

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"Poor Poor Pitiful Me"
Song by Warren Zevon
Released 1976
Genre Rock
Length 3:04
Label Asylum
Writer Warren Zevon
Producer Jackson Browne

"Poor Poor Pitiful Me" is a rock song written by Warren Zevon. It is best known as one of Linda Ronstadt's signature hits. It first appeared on Zevon's eponymous 1976 album Warren Zevon with backing vocals by Lindsey Buckingham. It was included on his greatest hits compilations A Quiet Normal Life (1986), I’ll Sleep When I’m Dead (1996), and Genius: The Best of Warren Zevon (2002). Live versions later appeared on 1980’s Stand in the Fire and 1993’s Learning to Flinch. Alternate studio versions were included in the 2008 reissue of Warren Zevon, as well as the posthumous 2007 compilation Preludes: Rare and Unreleased Recordings.

Content[edit]

In keeping with Zevon's sardonic lyrical style, the song's verses deal with a failed suicide, domestic abuse, and a brush with sadomasochism. The song appeared first on Zevon's 1976 self-titled solo album. It is reputed to be a friendly swipe at Jackson Browne, whose songs (such as "Here Come Those Tears Again" and "Sleeps Dark and Silent Gate" from The Pretender) could be quite dark.[citation needed]

Covers[edit]

Year Singer/Group Album or Single Comments
1977 Linda Ronstadt Simple Dreams
1986 SNFU It Came from the Pit compilation
1996 Terri Clark Just the Same
1997 Country Kickers The Best of Country ’96
1997 Mick Lloyd’s Nashville Sound Machine The Best of Country Line Dancing
2003 Anne Louise Blythe Nashville Star: The Finalists
2003 Vitamin String Quartet Dad Get Me Out of This: The String Quartet Tribute to Warren Zevon
2003 The Lonestar Ladies A Tribute to Terri Clarke
2004 Jackson Browne and Bonnie Raitt Enjoy Every Sandwich: The Songs of Warren Zevon
2005 Tim Crouch, Randy Kohrs, Larry Richardson, Kurt Mason and Bo Baseman Pickin’ to Kill: Pickin’ On Terri Clarke: A Bluegrass Tribute
2005 Roots 66 Play Back
2009 Patty Stone The Cowgirls of Country
2009 Trudy Andes World Tour Live
2010 Tamra Hayden I Believe in the Fire
2011 Kellie Witham Gone Country Part 2

Linda Ronstadt version[edit]

"Poor Poor Pitiful Me"
Single by Linda Ronstadt
from the album Simple Dreams
B-side Simple Man Simple Dream, or Blue Bayou
Released January 10, 1978
Genre Rock, Classic rock, Country Rock
Length 3:42
Label Asylum
Producer(s) Peter Asher
Linda Ronstadt singles chronology
"It's So Easy"
(1977)
"Poor Poor Pitiful Me"
(1978)
"I Never Will Marry"
(1978)

Linda Ronstadt recorded a gender-altered version of the song during 1977. Ronstadt would recall that her friend Jackson Browne had pitched "Poor Poor Pitiful Me" to her, teaching it to her in the living room of her Malibu home.[1] Ronstadt's interpretation was released on her multi-platinum album Simple Dreams. Released as a single (on the Asylum label, #45462) at the beginning of 1978, Linda's rocking version of the song was the week's highest debut on the charts the week of January 28, 1978. It reached #26 on the Cash Box Top 100 and #31 in Billboard.

It had already been a hugely popular radio hit as an album cut. Simple Dreams also contained another Zevon song, "Carmelita." Ronstadt’s live version appeared on the soundtrack album to the smash 1978 movie FM, while the studio version was included on her Platinum-plus album Greatest Hits, Volume Two.

Chart performance (Linda Ronstadt version)[edit]

Chart (1977–1978) Peak
position
U.S. Billboard Hot Country Singles 46
U.S. Billboard Easy Listening 27
U.S. Billboard Hot 100 31
Canadian RPM Adult Contemporary Tracks 9
Canadian RPM Country Tracks 36
Canadian RPM Top Singles 31

Terri Clark version[edit]

"Poor Poor Pitiful Me"
Single by Terri Clark
from the album Just the Same
B-side "Something You Should've Said"[2]
Released September 23, 1996
Format CD single
Genre Country
Length 3:10
Label Mercury
Producer(s) Keith Stegall
Chris Waters
Terri Clark
Terri Clark singles chronology
"Suddenly Single"
(1996)
"Poor Poor Pitiful Me"
(1996)
"Emotional Girl"
(1997)

Another country cover of the song was recorded by Canadian country singer Terri Clark. It was released in September 1996 as the lead single from her second album, 1996's Just the Same. Clark's version was a number one hit on the Canadian RPM country charts, and a number five hit on the country charts in the U.S.

Background[edit]

Clark told Billboard magazine that she heard Linda Ronstadt's version of the song in a local gymnasium while she was exercising. She said "and I thought, what a cool song. What a great country record that could make. I started doing it live, and it worked."[3]

Music video[edit]

The music video was directed by Deaton Flanigen and premiered in late 1996.

Chart performance (Terri Clark version)[edit]

"Poor Poor Pitiful Me" debuted at number 47 on the U.S. Billboard Hot Country Singles & Tracks for the week of October 12, 1996.

Chart (1996) Peak
position
Canada Country Tracks (RPM)[4] 1
US Bubbling Under Hot 100 Singles (Billboard)[5] 9
US Hot Country Songs (Billboard)[6] 5

Year-end charts[edit]

Chart (1996) Position
Canada Country Tracks (RPM)[7] 43
Preceded by
"The Fear of Being Alone"
by Reba McEntire
RPM Country Tracks
number-one single

December 9, 1996
Succeeded by
"Crank My Tractor"
by Michelle Wright

References[edit]

  1. ^ Ronstadt, Linda (2013). Simple Dreams: a musical memoir (1st hardcover edition ed.). New York: Simon & Schuster. p. 63. ISBN 978-1-4516-6872-8. 
  2. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2008). Hot Country Songs 1944 to 2008. Record Research, Inc. pp. 95–96. ISBN 0-89820-177-2. 
  3. ^ Billboard, October 5, 1996
  4. ^ "RPM Country Tracks." RPM. Library and Archives Canada. December 9, 1996. Retrieved July 20, 2013.
  5. ^ "Terri Clark Album & Song Chart History" Billboard Bubbling Under Hot 100 for Terri Clark.
  6. ^ "Terri Clark Album & Song Chart History" Billboard Hot Country Songs for Terri Clark.
  7. ^ "RPM Top 100 Country Tracks of 1996". RPM. December 16, 1996. Retrieved July 20, 2013.