Cactus / Let Me Swim (In Your Ocean) / Oceanside / Eruption

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This topic has 6 voices, contains 5 replies, and was last updated by  Dave 1411 days ago.

September 7, 2014 at 5:55 pm Quote #38672


I was stunned the other day when I received a note from an old VHML (Van Halen Mailing List) acquaintance concerning the song “Let Me Swim In Your Ocean” (also known as Oceanside) found on several club days bootlegs. Most of those bootlegs identified the track as an unreleased original. In fact, it’s a cover of the 1970 tune from a band named Cactus called “Let Me Swim”. While this news isn’t all that stunning, it is curious that it’s taken this many years to identify the source of this track. If you already knew this, nevermind….but no-one (that I can tell) ever let me know so that I could update with the information.

But what truly stunned me was that the intro to “Let Me Swim” is the same as the intro to “Eruption”!! After all these years, to learn that intro was a direct copy just floored me.

Here’s an interview from 2006 talking about it.

…and the 1970 Cactus song “Let Me Swim”.

September 7, 2014 at 7:05 pm Quote #38673


I love Cactus! Never noticed that about the intro to Eruption, but you’re right.

September 7, 2014 at 10:05 pm Quote #38674


Yep. Ed and Al were heavily influenced by Cactus. I’ll have lots about that issue in Van Halen Rising when it comes out next year.

September 8, 2014 at 2:08 am Quote #38677


Ron – Yep & Yep.

Greg – Yep! Looking forward to reading what you’re digging up on what those four young kids thought of Cactus at the time…

Cactus has some great stuff! I sampled all their music and bought my favorite dozen songs, making my own ‘best of” Cactus. Several really good songs. I think “Le Me Swim” is my favorite, and one of VERY few examples where I think the Van Halenized version is inferior to the original version. (Albeit, VH’s versions aren’t studio recordings…)

Jeff –

September 8, 2014 at 1:21 pm Quote #38680


My buddy Pete from the old VHML days pointed this out to me when I went to see VH with him in Worcester, MA in 2004. I had never heard any of the Cactus stuff before that. I had forgotten all about this. Cool interview. Thanks for sharing, Higgy!

September 8, 2014 at 8:46 pm Quote #38689


The Van Hagar song that Carmine Appoce is referring to is part of the solo from “Amsterdam.” Yes they do sound similar but I think it’s just one of those things that sound alike. It’s a bunch of ascending notes – I don’t think it’s that uncommon. Then again, maybe Ed unconsciously swiped it.

Let Me Swim though – that’s an outright theft. When I first read that interview and listened to the Cactus version, I asked myself, how did I miss that on the Van Halen boots? Here’s why – cause Van Halen would play the song WITHOUT the intro, but then use the intro for Ed’s solo. Slick, huh?

Stay Frosty


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