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Title:Van Halen News Desk
Description:Your source for the latest Van Halen news.
Keywords:van halen,eddie van halen,alex van halen,michael anthony,sammy hagar,david lee roth,gary cherone,cabo wabo,ou812,5150
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Van Halen News Desk
#8220;Get It Up #8221; - Music Video
Friday, 8 January 2010
Longtime fan and Pipeline Studios Inc. team up to produce this fully animated music video for Chickenfoot #8217;s #8220;Get It Up #8221;. Check it out!
embed
Chickenfoot gives the story behind the video: A while ago, a dedicated fan who also happened to be an animator contacted the band about making a video. Here #8217;s the resulting video, and also the story of its creation from Darin Bristow. If anyone else out there is a huge fan and wants to make a video, go for it! It may not be as extreme as this, but we #8217;ve been blown away by all sorts of fan-created videos. If you make one, email support@chickenfoot.us and if we get a enough we #8217;ll create a special place for them here on the site!
#8220;The idea for an animated #8216;Chickenfoot #8217; video came to me while jogging along the beach vacationing in Cabo San Lucas. I never workout without something Sammy blasting on my Ipod, and the Chickenfoot CD had just come out. The energy of the CD really inspired me and got me thinking big. (Click the link below for the full story).
Read the rest #187;
Filed under: Chickenfoot #8226;
19 Comments
The Recording Of OU812, In Sammy Hagar #8217;s Words
Thursday, 7 January 2010
This interview with Martin Popoff, Sammy Hagar gives a thorough retrospective of Van Halen #8217;s OU812 album. The interview is from MartinPopoff.com. The photos are from the VHND archives. Enjoy!
Van Halen - OU812 (Warner #8216;88, 25732)
Kinda breaking my own rule here about really reserving this column for albums I think are sterling, fetching or otherwise a personal thrill. But hey, a lot of you out there think OU812 is a classic, and frankly as time wears on, it #8217;s sounding better all the time. I mean, I #8217;m starting to miss these guys. Anyway, there are a number of cool comments on the road ahead (some of which are now well-known apocryphal tales) so sit back while lead belter Sammy Hagar sheds some light (a lot of light!) on a big, big corporate rock album from 1988.
For starters, we all know Van Halen was coming off a triumph of a record with 5150, Sam splitting fans into three camps, those fer Dave, those fer Sam and those fer Van Halen, the latter two camps buying that album as well as OU812 in droves. Indeed, OU812 felt a bit more cohesive, a bit more produced, a bit more like a properly sequenced album.
#8220;Recording of that album, that #8217;s when things were still great, #8221; begins Sam, setting the mood. #8220;We could do no wrong. And we didn #8217;t stop getting along until the very end. So OU812 was the second record and it was still fantastic. We were coming off the first #1 record Van Halen ever had. We were very prolific and anxious to write and we went in with nothing. We just said, let #8217;s start recording today. We just made a date. We had come off a very lengthy tour for 5150 and Eddie had a bunch of riffs he was jamming around. I had a bunch of lyrics in notebooks that I had been thinking about and writing. And we just put them together and jammed in the studio. It was just complete, simple, magic. #8221;
#8220;A great story here. Ed and Al picked me up from the airport when I flew down to start the record. I flew into town, I got in the car, and Ed and Al go, #8216;you know, we kind of stayed up all night last night and we worked on this one little thing and we want to play it for you. #8217; And I #8217;m going, #8216;you fuckers started without me! #8217; just joking around, because we were all buddy buddies, and they played me it. It was just a piano and drums to the song #8216;When It #8217;s Love #8217;. Before the song was over, I was singing, #8216;how do I know when it #8217;s love. #8217; And by the time we played it over and over again, by the time we got to the studio, that song was written and done, lyrics, melody, everything. That #8217;s the kind of magic we had going. And that was the first song we wrote from OU812. #8221;
#8220;Then there was another classic thing that happened on the record. I mean, there #8217;s three great stories for you. We were almost done with the record, but I hadn #8217;t finished my lyrics and vocals. But we were kind of done all the music and I had all my melodies down. I would jam with the band every day, and if I didn #8217;t have lyrics I #8217;d just start humming melodies and stuff, right? So then I went to Cabo San Lucas, I said I #8217;m going to go down there for a couple of weeks. I had a house down there and I had lived there for a time and I #8217;m going to finish up my lyrics. I had all the basic tracks with me. And then I said I #8217;ll come back and we #8217;ll start vocals. So I go down there and I see a guy walking down the street bumping into a barbed wire fence about 4:00 in the morning. And I said to myself, #8216;this guy #8217;s doing the Cabo Wabo #8216;, right? So I went straight home, wrote the lyrics, wrote the melody, called Eddie on the phone. I was so excited, and said #8216;Eddie, listen to this, #8217; and I just said, #8216;just think about the song #8216;Make It Last #8217;, which is on the Montrose album, one of the first songs I ever wrote. I said think about #8216;Make It Last #8217; and think about this lyric, and I started going, #8216;Been to Rome #8230; #8217; (sings riff), and I wrote that song to #8216;Make It Last #8217;, and Eddie goes, #8216;oh man, listen to this! Listen to this! #8217; Me and Al have been working on this thing. He starts playing (sings the riff). So he was working on #8216;Make It Last #8217; as well, and when I came back, my lyrics fit perfectly with the music they had put down. It was another magical moment. #8221; Indeed, one can hear the slow monster strains of #8216;Make It Last #8217; all over that song, one of the record #8217;s casual music tracks as well as one of its more casual lyrics. On the live album it even gets more soupy, combined with #8216;You Really Got Me #8217;, stomping and jamming at once, opening up for a nice chorus which pours on Van Halen #8217;s penchant for sun and fun.
Next Sammy recounts the often-told #8216;Finish What Ya Started #8217; tale, that track becoming one of what would really be only two hits off the album, aforementioned oddly darkish non-ballad popster #8216;When It #8217;s Love #8217; being the other. #8216;Finish What Ya Started #8217; continues the live and casual theme to the album, essentially perking along as an unplugged, campfire-vibe track, especially come those arch-Halen vocal harmonies.
#8220;I lived next door to Eddie in Malibu, #8221; explains Hagar. #8220;We had finished all the songs on the record and basically, weren #8217;t looking for any more songs. So I hear Eddie, #8216;Sam! Sam. #8217; My bedroom had a balcony and I opened the window and looked out and I go #8216;man, Ed, what the fuck are you doing? It #8217;s 2:00 in the morning! #8217; He #8217;s got a guitar around his neck, cigarette in his mouth of course. And he #8217;s going #8216;listen, come on man I #8217;ve got this cool song idea. #8217; So, you know, any time anybody #8217;s got a good song idea or some good dope or some good tequila or some good pussy, I will be there, OK? So he had a good song and I had the tequila. And Eddie smokes, so he couldn #8217;t come in; I don #8217;t allow people to smoke in my house, so I said let #8217;s sit outside on the porch. So we #8217;re sitting outside on the porch, on the beach and I took my acoustic guitar and we wrote right on the spot #8216;Finish What Ya Started #8217;. I didn #8217;t have the lyrics quite done yet but I went back upstairs after we finished the whole musical idea, about four in the morning and I #8217;m laying there going in my head #8216;come on baby, finish what you started #8217;. Because fuck, the guy got me all wound up, takes me downstairs, all this shit, and I #8217;m sitting here in bed with the song running through my head and I jumped up and wrote those lyrics. So I think those are three magical moments on OU812. #8221;
You say you were finished with the album. Would it have been released then without #8216;Finish What Ya Started #8217;?
#8220;Yeah, we had the song #8216;A Apolitical Blues #8217; (an obscure Little Feat cover), which became an extra track for it, and we had another song called #8216;Numb To The Touch #8217;, which never ever was released, or finished really. If I had to speculate, that song would sound more like a traditional, almost Whitesnake, heavy metal type song. But yeah, it was pretty much a record. #8221;
Dark horse and creative centerpiece to the album however is crack-it-opener #8216;Mine All Mine #8217;, a dramatic metaphysical romp, ambitious, slammed by Alex #8217;s singular drum sound, his instinctual choices, a great Sam vocal and lyric, probably my favourite song from all of the Sam years.
#8220;That wasn #8217;t a magical moment but it was the first time in my life I ever beat myself up, hurt myself, punished myself, practically threw things through windows, trying to write the lyrics, #8221; recounts Hagar. #8220;I knew what I wanted and I had it called #8216;Mine All Mine #8217; from the first opening lick. And I was thinking #8216;what is mine all mine? #8217; I went through it, I rewrote that song lyrically seven times. And it was the last song I did vocals on for the record. I wouldn #8217;t sing it because I was unsure about my lyrics and wasn #8217;t really confident about what I was trying to say. Donn Landee, the engineer, kept saying - because I #8217;m kind of embarrassed singing in front of people when I don #8217;t really know what I #8217;m doing - Donn said, #8216;well let #8217;s just get everybody out of here and just you and I work this out. #8217; And I said, #8216;OK, let #8217;s try it #8217;, and I did it seven different times, ripping papers up, drinking tequila all night one night to where I had the worst hangover in the world and I couldn #8217;t even go into the studio to try and write those lyrics. And I #8217;m not like that; I don #8217;t hurt myself very often, only on my birthday. So Donn Landee and I locked ourselves in the studio and I sang the lyrics. And when I was finished, I had sung it for the first time all the way through, and the whole time he had his head down on the console not looking at me because he was trying to give me some space. When I finished, he jumped up came running in with fuckin #8217; eyes bugging out of his head and said #8216;that #8217;s the coolest song you ever wrote. #8217; And he gave me a big hug and said #8216;let me get Ed and everybody in here, they #8217;re going to shit #8217; and I said, #8216;are you sure Donn? Are you sure? #8217; I was insecure about it because it was kind of a new statement for Van Halen, and kind of for me too. I had never really said something quite that deep. And quite honestly, the band came in, and everybody was going #8216;fuck, yeah! #8217; and it was a winner. That #8217;s the vocal take that was done. It wasn #8217;t like #8216;let #8217;s try and do it better. #8217; The take was just magic. And before it, was a struggle. When I finished with all that I felt like the world was off my shoulders. But earlier on, trying to write that song, I was so hungover, I could even come in. It wasn #8217;t done, and I just didn #8217;t feel good. And I said look, no reason for me to come in. You guys go ahead, because all that was left to do was my vocal. It didn #8217;t really hold the album up necessarily, but it probably did take me 10 days to write those lyrics and to do the vocal. #8221;
#8220; #8216;Source Of Infection #8217;, that #8217;s the only one, #8221; answers Sam with regard to what tracks on the record he ultimately wasn #8217;t so happy with. #8220;We made a joke out of that song. Eddie and I got a little liquored up in the studio and started goofing off. Alex was down on it, the engineer Donn Landee was down on it, saying #8216;come on, you can #8217;t do that! #8217; All this #8216;baby bend over, #8217; and all this barking, and going #8216;Hey! Ow! Alright! #8217; It was like a spoof on James Brown. We were goofing. Because we were so high on the success of 5150, we knew we could get away with it. And we knew we had enough hits on the record to pretty much do anything. But it was very politically incorrect and personally, Eddie and I both kind of regret it. But it was a pretty bad-ass piece of music. But that #8217;s legal. #8221;
Any other cover versions you considered for this album?
#8220;No, none of us are really cover people, and one song is always enough. The engineer, Donn Landee had been the engineer on the Little Feat song. Ted Templeman produced those songs. At this time we weren #8217;t using Ted Templeman any more, but Donn Landee, we were still using as engineer. And I had mentioned it one day in the studio, I said #8216;let #8217;s just get all sloppy and blues-out and try something like #8216;A Apolitical Blues #8217; which was a really underground Little Feat tune. And Donn is going, #8216;yeah man! I #8217;ll set up the same way they did it, which was two mikes in the corner of the room, everybody playing live, #8217; and it #8217;s basically a mono tune, the way we recorded it and the way they did it too, which is just a big room sound. And I sang live and played rhythm guitar on that song. So we played live and Eddie overdubbed the piano part on it. Nothing else was overdubbed. #8221;
#8220; #8216;A.F.U. (Naturally Wired) #8220;, I thought was just a bad-ass rock #8216;n #8217; roll tune, #8221; explains Hagar on what was one of the record #8217;s filler-ish though smeary and clearly rocking guitar-ish tracks, #8220;and when Eddie first started playing me that riff, I said, this is about walking out on stage. This is the opener for the OU812 tour. It reminded me of a song you would open a show with. Curtain opens and boom. I can picture Eddie playing the harmonic guitar, walking out on stage, into the fire. I think it #8217;s a cool song, just kind of a typical rock #8216;n #8217; roll-on-10 type song, but I think it #8217;s cool. #8221;
Curiously there was no production credit on the album. Sam says this was #8220;because the band pretty much produced the album ourselves. And we weren #8217;t producers, in the sense that we went in with an idea and told everybody what to do and took control. There just wasn #8217;t a producer. That was Van Halen with an engineer. The truth of the matter is, when you #8217;re truly a band, that #8217;s the way to do it. That way no one comes in and says, #8216;you know, the latest trend is this, and if you want to have a hit, you should try doing this. There #8217;s this song that was never as hit, but I think it #8217;s a hit, and you guys should cover it. #8217; That #8217;s what producers do. Most of them. There #8217;s very few great producers out there. Bruce Fairbairn was one of the great producers and he #8217;s not with us anymore. But I recommend bands just go out and do it yourselves. #8221;
The inner sleeve of the original OU812 vinyl version depicted a cryptic hand gesture that eventually became a bond between band and fan. What #8217;s the origin of that?
#8220;Alex Van Halen; this is always his little job, big job really, in the band, is to come up with the covers. Pretty much the whole time I was in the band, we left Alex with that job. Eddie and I got together and wrote the songs, but Alex did the covers. That was really his baby. I always came up with the album titles, except for Balance was not my title. That was the first time I didn #8217;t name a record but I named the rest of them. OU812 was going to be called Bone. But that hand thing, Mikey invented, because you know the old heavy metal sign. It #8217;s very cute, I think. So Mikey used to take his hand, and I would take my hand and put it up next his and we made that symbol at the end of shows, right? And the fans started doing it back to us, so we put it on OU812 record. But Alex came up with the rest. He hated the name Bone, but we were going to use it because we didn #8217;t have a title. But then I saw a delivery truck on the freeway, and its number, the real number of it, on the side of it, its truck number, serial number, was OU812, and I cracked up. And I came in and told the band about it, and they said that #8217;s fuckin #8217; great. So I thought it was hilarious and said let #8217;s call the record that. And I mean, it was in the 11th hour so that title didn #8217;t have any significance to the cover. Alex had already thought about the monkey, why I don #8217;t know, but we all thought it was funny. #8221;
Finally Sam rounds up the rest of the album tracks, songs that could only be called that because they sit embedded deep in the album, never becoming big Van Halen classics, although given the enormity of the band, nevertheless getting much dutiful radio play over the years.
#8220; #8216;Black And Blue #8217; #8230; I #8217;m a very sexual type person. If I ever write something like that, it #8217;s usually a true experience. It #8217;s a true experience I happen to have had on the 5150 tour, where I was actually bruised up pretty bad, and in the wrong areas too, man. It took me out of commission for a week or so. But it was a good thing and I thought, what a great phrase: #8216;do it to me black and blue. #8217; It #8217;s kind of a typical, goofy, old-time #8217;80s rock #8216;n #8217; roll lyric. But my most proud thing about that lyric is the way it rhythmically phrases against the music. Because in Van Halen, when Eddie and Alex get together, there weren #8217;t many holes in the music to sing to. I like to sing in the holes. You don #8217;t sing over the lick; you should sing in holes. Well, there #8217;s never any holes in Van Halen. So lyrically, I was a master on that song and I sang completely #8230; you just listen to it some time. It was like #8216;boom, dat, oomph, dat, boom, uh #8217;. If you just took it and made drumbeats out of everything I sang and everything else that was on there, it would sound like a Latino song, it was so rhythmically correct. And lyrically, it #8217;s not easy to do that, to find a word that #8217;s going to fit with what you #8217;re trying to say, and rhymes and rhythms like that. So I think it #8217;s a masterpiece of phrasing if anything. #8221;
#8220; #8216;Feel So Good #8217; was kind of stepping out for us. It was in a pop Genesis style. I liked it a lot; nobody else in the band liked it, except maybe Eddie. #8216;Sucker In A 3-Piece #8217; is a little goofy, but I was at the Twin Dolphins in Cabo San Lucas and I saw one of the most beautiful women I #8217;ve ever seen in my life at poolside with one of the ugliest, fattest, old bald-headed fuckers I #8217;ve ever seen in my life. The point is, I wrote the song when I was down there at the same time I wrote the #8216;Cabo Wabo #8217;. But I went to this hotel for lunch, which is a great lunch spot and I #8217;m looking at the pool and I went #8216;damn, I wish my wife would look like this chick. She #8217;s got to be the most gorgeous woman on the planet. #8217; She #8217;s about 23 years old, this guy #8217;s about 60, weighs about 260, smoking cigars, his breath probably smelled like horseshit, and you #8217;re going, #8216;how could this be!? #8217; Well I bet you, this guy is pretty much a suit, probably has a lot of money. And I #8217;m thinking, how can this guy think she #8217;s in love with him? So I wrote that song. It #8217;s a little goofy, but at the end of it, I said in the original version, #8216;now swallow it #8217;. And no one would let me do it. I said it, it #8217;s on the tape. If we ever remix it #8230; at the very end there #8217;s this gargle sound, and then I say, #8216;now swallow it #8217;. But politically incorrect again, the record company made us take it off. #8221;
#8220;There #8217;s OU812 in a fuckin #8217; nutshell, #8221; laughs Sam in summary, turning in what has obviously been a hell of a retrospective. #8220;It #8217;s really my pleasure, I don #8217;t mind talking about it, a great record #8230; #8221;
Filed under: Sammy Hagar, Van Halen #8226;
81 Comments
A trip down memory lane
Tuesday, 5 January 2010
From the thread, #8220;Some Bass ass dude from the past #8221; posted by WBraun on Supertopo.com. Wbraun was hired by David Lee Roth in 1987 do shoot Roth #8217;s Skyscraper album cover in Yosemite:
I remember this guy.
A trip down the memory lane ……for anyone who even cares ………
David Lee Roth hired Ron Kauk and me to help Galen Rowell do this album cover. His production people got him a horse to ride to half dome along with all of the other equipment for this shoot. David decided he wanted to walk and not ride his horse so I asked if I could ride it. “Sure go ahead” he says, “I want to walk”. Cool, I hop on and away we go.
Now Kauk was lagging behind somewhere else during this time sorting out his last minute details telling me earlier he’ll catch up to us. He catches up to the crew and asks where I am? They tell him I’m riding David’s horse. He jogs up the mist trail and catches up to me at the top of Nevada Falls. Ron tells me I’m not riding that thing by myself and he then hops on too. Shit! Two of us on that thing now. We approach towards the saddle the horse became more and more tired, somehow it made it. We make camp at the saddle for tomorrows shoot.
The next day we all troop up to the top for the cover shot shoot.
Galen is running around with his camera trying to figure out the best location. He spots his ace in the hole and tells Ron and me to set up David at the spot you see on that cover. Now we didn’t even have a bolt kit with us, and Galen wants David out in some no mans land with very little features for anything that’ll hold worth sh-it. I go WTF Galen there’s nothing out there and he tells us to do the best we can. Ok man, whatever.
Kauk goes down and places a bunch of A4 sh-it. The final piton where David is supposed to hang off is this pin Kuak puts in (a long med. Lost arrow) sticking more than ¾ of the way out. Ron tells me he hopes it holds David’s ass. Ha ha ha ha
Ron tells me to go to David’s position and set him up when he gets there. I’m on a separate rope and David rappels down to the last pin Ron placed. He takes one look at that thing and says “fu-ck! I’m not hanging off that thing, It’ll pull out and I’ll die”. He is now visibly shaking real bad and scared shitless.
I tell David that I’m the rigger and that he has to have faith in the rigger and the rigger will never lie to you. Now David has probably heard every bullshit line but then he’s never really aid climbed. I tell him that piton is one foot long! And that 7” of that sucker he’s looking at is buried in that horizontal crack to his total disbelief. Ron hears the whole dialog and starts to roll his eyes and hint to me keep it going all while Galen is starting to get impatient with our scared mans delay. Finally after more bullshit lines David buys them and gently as hell gets on that thing shaking like sh-it until Galen shoots the camera.
The shoot is on! David does his Hollywood mode. smiles and all in between bouts of shakes and deep breaths. Galen shoots off his 20 or so rolls in record time and David gets his rope back from above and jugs out. I clean the piton he was on with one jerk of my hand. Kauks eyes roll again and we’re out of there after cleaning the rest of that sh-ity mess.
And David Lee Roth becomes the “Skyscraper”
He gave me and Ron a gold plated carabinier engraved #8220;Diamond Dave #8221; on it after the shoot.
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Filed under: David Lee Roth #8226;
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Classic Rock magazine #8217;s Van Halen Buyer #8217;s Guide
Sunday, 3 January 2010
From ClassicRockMagazine:
With a consummate showman, the guitarist of a generation and some classic tracks, they revolutionized hard rock.
If ever a rock band epitomized the American Dream, it’s Van Halen.
Formed in Pasadena, California in 1974 by four teenage kids from families that had migrated across the Atlantic in the pursuit of a better life, Van Halen were loud, brash, shamelessly ambitious, larger-than-life: classically all-American. And so was their pioneering spirit.
Van Halen revolutionized hard rock music. When the band’s debut album was released in 1978, punk had unsettled rock’s old order; giants such as Zeppelin and Sabbath were on their last legs. But VH had seen the future. “This is the 1980s!” declared singer David Lee Roth, boldly if prematurely. “And this is the new sound – it’s hyper, it’s energy, it’s urgent.”
The key to that new sound was Eddie Van Halen, whose innovative two-handed ‘tapping’ technique made him the most influential guitarist since Jimi Hendrix. But VH wasn’t a one-man show. Eddie’s brother Alex went at his drum kit like a prizefighter. Bassist Michael Anthony underpinned Eddie’s histrionics and provided killer backing vocals that had him rightly described as the band’s “secret weapon”. And then, of course, there was ‘Diamond Dave’, a wisecracking, split-jumping, super-toned blond Adonis, son of second-generation Jewish immigrants, and hard rock’s greatest showman. As Roth stated: “I once heard somebody say to the Van Halens: ‘You guys play the music, the Jew sells it.’ Well, you’re fucking right!”
With Roth as cheerleader, Van Halen were America’s favourite party band, their high-octane turbo-pop songs the soundtrack to the ‘me’ decade. But when Roth left the band in 1985 amid mutual hostility, much of the magic went with him, even if his replacement, Sammy Hagar, was a better singer.
Nevertheless, the new-look ‘Van Hagar’ proved just as successful as the former model, while Roth’s solo career stalled in the 90s.
Hagar lasted 10 years. His successor, former Extreme vocalist Gary Cherone, was out after one album. Hagar returned for a chaotic reunion tour in 2004, and two years later came the announcement that Roth was rejoining the band with, shockingly, Eddie’s 15-year-old son Wolfgang replacing Michael Anthony.
Whatever happens next, Van Halen’s place in the pantheon of classic rock acts is secure. With 56 million albums sold, they are 19th on the list of biggest-selling acts in the US. And at their best (with Roth) Van Halen ruled.
ESSENTIAL: CLASSICS
VAN HALEN
Warner Brothers, 1978
As one of the classic debut albums, this 10-million seller is up there with Zeppelin’s and Sabbath’s and Appetite For Destruction. Van Halen was like a bomb going off. With its short, punchy songs, technical flash, testosterone-charged swagger and sense of daring, it kick-started the 80s two years early. “We were not afraid of defying convention,” said DLR. “Everybody was ascending.”
Eruption was Eddie’s volcanic showpiece. And the orthodox songs were equally explosive, from Runnin’ With The Devil through to frenetic closer On Fire. Classic Rock’s Geoff Barton, then reviewing for Sounds, called the album “senses-shattering”. Van Halen had arrived – with an almighty bang.
1984
Warner Brothers, 1984
The last of the definitive Roth-era albums was also the one that made Van Halen a household name on this side of the Atlantic when its lead single, Jump, hit No.7 on the UK chart. In playing this simple rock song on a keyboard, guitar hero Eddie beat all those airy-fairy synth-pop acts at their own game.
I’ll Wait, the album’s other big pop crossover hit, was also powered by a keyboard riff, but the hard rock crunch of Panama and Hot For Teacher ensured that the band’s hairy fan base wasn’t alienated.
On 1984, Van Halen could do no wrong… But by 1985 Roth was gone, and the band, in whatever guise, would never be as great again.
SUPERIOR: THE ONES THAT HELPED CEMENT THEIR REPUTATION
VAN HALEN II
Warner Brothers, 1979
How do you follow a belter of a debut album? Many have dropped the ball, from Montrose to The Darkness. But Van Halen walked it, banging out their brilliant second album in just six days. It sounds like it, too: fresh, a little loose, fizzing with energy, its air of beer-fuelled spontaneity encapsulated in Roth’s fumbled lyric and giggles on Bottoms Up!
Shrewdly, Van Halen didn’t try to top the fire-power of Van Halen, opting instead for a lighter, more playful vibe, running from the jammed intro to You’re No Good (such chutzpah!) to Roth’s farewell kiss on the closing Beautiful Girls. And in Dance The Night Away they delivered the perfect pop-metal song.
DIVER DOWN
Warner Brothers, 1982
Possibly the laziest album ever made. There are just 18 minutes of original material on Diver Down. But no matter: despite the whiff of contractual obligation, the album is a blast.
Back in the mid-70s, when they were still a bar band named Mammoth, the boys had a repertoire of 300 cover tunes. Diver Down recalls that era with a stinging rendition of The Kinks’ Where Have All The Good Times Gone!, plus covers of Roy Orbison’s (Oh) Pretty Woman, the Tamla Motown classic Dancing In The Street and a jazz number featuring dad Jan Van Halen on clarinet.
The original songs on the album are all great too, especially Secrets, the sweetest thing Van Halen ever recorded.
FAIR WARNING
Warner Brothers, 1981
The cover illustration – details from Canadian artist William Kurelek’s The Maze, portraying scenes of urban madness and violence – was befitting of the most left-field VH album.
Fair Warning is tough, edgy, dark, and in places plain weird. ZZ Top aside, no other mainstream, multi-platinum hard rock band would have dared to record such bizarre tracks as Dirty Movies (a funky porno satire), Sunday Afternoon In The Park (a sinister, new wave-inspired instrumental), and One Foot Out The Door (a punky, half-finished throwaway).
However, the meat of the album lies in two straight-up rock songs: the bruising Mean Street, and Unchained, featuring Eddie’s chunkiest riff.
WOMEN AND CHILDREN FIRST
Warner Brothers, 1980
Van Halen’s third album included a poster of Roth in classic beefcake pose, photographed by the legendary Helmut Newton. Roth was rock’s leading pin-up boy, but VH hadn’t gone soft. The album is a hard rock tour de force, typified by Tora! Tora!.
And The Cradle Will Rock…, is Roth’s homage to teenage drop-outs. Fools and Everybody Wants Some!! are fluid jams built around crushing riffs. Romeo Delight threatens to run right off the rails. The only light relief comes with the drunken sea shanty Could This Be Magic?
Women And Children First is Van Halen’s true cult classic album. In Roth parlance: “Pure fuckin’ rock.”
GOOD: WORTH EXPLORING
5150
Warner Brothers, 1986
For many people, Van Halen just wasn’t Van Halen without Diamond Dave. Eddie saw it differently. “We lost a frontman,” he said, “but we gained a singer.” And with Sammy Hagar on board, the band’s career arc continued upwards.
5150, the first ‘Van Hagar’ album, was also the band’s first US No.1. With trusted producer Ted Templeman having defected to the now solo Roth camp, VH enlisted Foreigner’s Mick Jones to put a fine gloss on what became the album’s three keyboard-driven hit singles: Why Can’t This Be Love, Dreams and Love Walks In.
And yes, Sammy was a better singer than Dave. But 5150 didn’t have the spark of classic VH. And we all knew why.
FOR UNLAWFUL CARNAL KNOWLEDGE
Warner Brothers, 1991
All four studio albums that Van Halen recorded with Sammy Hagar topped the US chart, although the third of them might not have sold so well if it had been titled according to the singer’s wishes. “I wanted to name the album just Fuck,” Hagar said. Instead, they chose something more oblique.
The album – co-produced by an exonerated Ted Templeman – is patchy, but it has three songs as good as any from the Hagar era: Poundcake – heavy, grungy, with Eddie applying an electric drill to his fretboard; Top Of The World – vintage feelgood VH; and the piano-led Right Now – and arguably the best song the band have ever written.
OU812
Warner Brothers, 1988
Having proved with 5150 that there was life after Dave, Van Halen couldn’t resist a little dig at their former singer with the title of their eighth album, a cheeky reference to Roth’s Eat ‘Em And Smile.
OU812 did good business (current US sales: four million), but it’s a hit-and-miss affair. Lacking Dave’s levity, the heavier tracks are all bluster, but a lighter touch on the three hit singles works beautifully. Black And Blue is a funky boogie lit up by Michael Anthony’s doo-wop-influenced vocal harmonies, When It’s Love is a deluxe rock ballad, Finish What Ya Started is a genuine surprise, with Eddie twanging country-funk guitar licks and Hagar croaking soulfully.
AVOID
VAN HALEN III
Warner Brothers, 1998
Even the most partisan of Roth loyalists had to admit that Hagar could sing. What’s more, Hagar had starred on one of the greatest rock records of all time: Montrose’s legendary self-titled debut. But the same could not be said of Sammy’s replacement. Gary Cherone was the wuss who sang in Extreme – wearing a leotard.
Van Halen and Cherone was a disastrous mismatch, and produced just one album – that sold only 500,000 copies, when every other VH album had shifted at least two million. The reason is that Van Halen III stinks like a wet dog. Every song sucks, and Cherone sings them like a drowning man. It’s an album so bad, in fact, that Van Halen have never made another since.
Filed under: Van Halen #8226;
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Top 50 Concert Tours of Decade
Saturday, 2 January 2010
By The Associated Press (AP)
The Top 50 Concert Tours of Decade ranks artists by total box office gross and includes the total tickets sold for shows in North America. The list is based on data provided to the trade publication Pollstar by concert promoters and venue managers.
TOP 50 CONCERT TOURS OF DECADE
1. Dave Matthews Band; $529.1 million; 11.6 million.
2. Celine Dion; $522.2; 4.
3. Kenny Chesney; $455.6; 8.6.
4. Bruce Springsteen; $444.3; 5.7.
5. The Rolling Stones; $426.9; 3.2.
6. U2; $391; 4.4.
7. Madonna; $325.3; 2.1.
8. Eagles; $313.4; 2.8.
9. Elton John; $286.4; 2.5.
10. Jimmy Buffett; $285.8; 4.5.
#8230;.
32. Van Halen; $147.8; 1.6.
Filed under: Van Halen #8226;
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Happy New Year From Van Halen
Friday, 1 January 2010
Los Angeles, CA #8212; December 29, 2009
Happy New Year to our fans, friends and family.
May 2010 bring health, happiness, peace and love to you and yours.
Keep Rockin #8217;
Dave, Eddie, Alex and Wolfgang
Filed under: Van Halen #8226;
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Van Halen isolated tracks
Sunday, 27 December 2009
More Van Halen isolated tracks from MasterTracks18! #8220;Atomic Punk #8221; guitar, #8220;Hang #8216;Em High #8221; guitar, #8220;Jump #8221; keyboard amp; guitar, #8220;Jump #8221; lead vocals, #8220;Jamie #8217;s Cryin #8221; drums, amp; #8220;Ice Cream Man #8221; bass.
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Filed under: Van Halen #8226;
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