Van Halen 40th anniversary

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February 8, 2018 at 10:13 am Quote #58200


Van Halen 40th anniversary- Eddie & Alex Van Halen, David Lee Roth, Michael Anthony

The four original members of Van Halen, guitarist/songwriter Eddie Van Halen, big brother drummer Alex Van Halen, lead singer/lyricist David Lee Roth, and ex-bass player/backing vocalist Michael Anthony are all unanimous in this classic rock interview in their recollections of their unaided efforts before signing their record deal and releasing that now-legendary debut, Van Halen, in February 1978. The band members papered fliers on every public blank space from Pasadena California to Hollywood’s Sunset Strip, promoting themselves while humping their equipment for five years just like countless other bands before and since.

But once Warner Bros label president Mo Ostin and A&R head Ted Templeman signed Van Halen and recorded that first album, that all changed. Apparently there was an unprecedented commitment from the label to this untried baby band, a belief that Van Halen was going to break big right out of the box. The first indication of this appeared a full three months prior to the full album’s February 1978 release when Warner Bros distributed one of the coolest, most memorable promotional records ever to U.S. rock radio stations, a four song sampler of “Runnin’ With the Devil”, the band’s electrifying cover of The Kinks’ “Eruption/You Really Got Me”, “Jamie’s Cryin’ “, and an obscure blues song,”Ice Cream Man” in a shiny black 12″ sleeve pressed on bright red vinyl with a label on one side only of the classic Warner Bros film studio’s Looney Tunes cartoon logo with Elmer Fudd.

Then when the full Van Halen album followed in February 1978, again the label rejected the standard industry practice of skimping on debut album cover photography and artwork (labels had always made the bands pay for the album cover designs out of their production budgets, which is why so many first albums have such lackluster eye appeal). Instead Van Halen’s first volley looks way big time, sleek and sassy with pro photography and effects, and inside Ted Templeman’s crisp production announced that a new world class hard rock band had arrived. With more than ten million in U.S. sales, it would be another five albums and six years before Van Halen would equal that hard rock benchmark with 1984. — Redbeard

February 8, 2018 at 2:20 pm Quote #58202


Happy birthday ” VAN HALEN ” !

February 8, 2018 at 6:26 pm Quote #58203


Warner Bros distributed one of the coolest, most memorable promotional records ever to U.S. rock radio stations, a four song sampler of “Runnin’ With the Devil”, the band’s electrifying cover of The Kinks’ “Eruption/You Really Got Me”, “Jamie’s Cryin’ “, and an obscure blues song,”Ice Cream Man” in a shiny black 12″ sleeve pressed on bright red vinyl with a label on one side only of the classic Warner Bros film studio’s Looney Tunes cartoon logo with Elmer Fudd.

Anybody have one of these? That’d be pretty cool.

February 8, 2018 at 6:47 pm Quote #58204


Gilligan: Anybody have one of these?That’d be pretty cool.

I would have thought that everyone had one of these by now…

February 9, 2018 at 12:36 pm Quote #58213


Well I don’t! I guess pictures of them are just as good, however, since I don’t have a record player. :-|

February 10, 2018 at 10:16 am Quote #58223


40 Things To Love About Van Halen’s World-Shaking Debut Album
#Listen To This Eddie
Corbin Reiff
Senior Music Writer
Warner Bros.

Listen To This Eddie is a weekly column that examines the important people and events in the classic rock canon and how they continue to impact the world of popular music.

In 1977, after years and years toiling in obscurity in rough and tumble bars on the Sunset Strip, massive backyard parties around the San Fernando Valley, and a go-nowhere demo session with Kiss’s Gene Simmons, Van Halen finally secured a deal with a major label to release their first album. With three weeks of studio time and a $54,000 budget, guitar savant Eddie Van Halen, his bombastic drummer brother Alex, bassist Michael Anthony, and their over-the-top frontman David Lee Roth cooked up one of the most jaw-dropping debut albums in history.

Fueled by copious amounts of alcohol, the promise of carnal delight, a whole lot of angst, and some of the wildest guitar solos anyone had ever heard before, Van Halen captured the imaginations of pissed off teens from coast to coast when it dropped on February 10, 1978. At a time when rock was either taking itself too seriously with dense, intricately orchestrated prog-projects or not seriously enough, like so many flash-in-the-pan punk outfits, Van Halen showed up like saviors, ready and eager to get the party started. You can almost smell the quarter-filled cups of stale beer and cigarette butt-filled ashtrays as you pore through its 11 tracks.

On the occasion of Van Halen’s 40th anniversary, I thought I might run through the 40 different reasons why it remains one of the greatest albums ever made.

1. The logo. How many high school-aged kids defiled the covers of their notebooks or the insides of their textbooks with that iconic “VH?” Gotta be in the millions right?

2. The cover, which is vastly superior to their icy, initial choice. You can’t put the lead singer in the background with his eyes closed, c’mon!
Warner Bros.

3. Eddie’s “Frankenstrat” guitar, which he built himself with his own bare hands, because Eddie Van Halen is unf*ckwitable.

4. The haunted wail of car horns that opens “Runnin’ With The Devil,” which was a mishmash of Alex’s Opel, Eddie’s Volvo, a Mercedes Benz and a Volkswagen.

5. When Roth says, “G*ddamnit baby, you know I ain’t lyin’ / I’m only gonna tell you one tiiiiiiiime.”

6. Every single one of Roth’s vocal ad-libs on this song. “A lot of that comes from old blues records,” he explained in his autobiography Crazy From The Heat. “You go, ‘Bopedy bop blah, baby, all night long.’”

7. The first 43-seconds of Eddie’s mind-melting instrumental showcase “Eruption.”

8. The three seconds of silence in the middle of “Eruption” when you think the song is over.

9. The last 54-seconds of “Eruption,” which introduced the blazing-fast finger-tapping technique to a wide audience for the first time, and defined the sound of metal guitar for the next decade.

10. Eddie’s casualness about how “Eruption” ended up on the album. “I just didn’t think it was something we’d put on a record,” he told journalist Steven Rosen. “I played it two or three times for the record, and we kept the one, which seemed to flow.”

11. The dedication it took to get that good. “I used to sit on the edge of my bed with a six-pack of Schlitz Malt tails,” he told Billy Corgan in an interview for Guitar World. “My brother would go out at 7 PM to party and get laid, and when he ‘d come back at 3 AM, I would still be sitting in the same place, playing guitar. I did that for years… I still do that.”

12. Michael Anthony’s high harmonies on their Kinks cover “You Really Got Me.”

13. Michael Anthony in general, who has been overlooked in recent years now that Eddie’s son Wolfgang has taken over on bass. As Roth told Rolling Stone, “What we have at our fingertips is arguably one of the greatest high tenor voices ever — that was in Michael Anthony. In our tiny little corner of the universe, that voice is as identifiable as the high voice in Earth, Wind & Fire, as identifiable as the high voice in the Beach Boys.” I totally concur Diamond Dave.

14. The fact that the band had to rush release “You Really Got Me” out to stores because Eddie played an advance copy for another LA band named Angel who tried to swipe their idea and put out their own version of the song.

15. Kinks founder Ray Davies’ review of “You Really Got Me,” “I… liked the Van Halen version of “You Really Got Me,” because it made me laugh… It was all done with good spirit and good humor, it made me smile.”

16. The music video for “Eruption/You Really Got Me” which is late-’70s/early ’80s cheese at its finest.

17. The fact that “Ain’t Talkin’ Bout Love” was meant to be a piss-take on punk rock. “[It] was originally supposed to be a punk rock parody,” Eddie told Guitar World. “It was a stupid thing to us, just two chords. It didn’t end up sounding punk, but that was the intention.”

18. The song’s melodramatic breakdown: “I been to the edge / And there I stood and looked down / You know I lost a lot of friends there baby / I got no time to mess around / Mmm, so if you want it, got to bleed for it baby.”

19. The “Hey, hey, hey!” ending.

20. When the band sings “Bop badda, shibby doo wah,” over and over in “I’m The One.”

21. That David Lee Roth was too healthy to record “Jamie’s Cryin’” initially. “I had taken special good care of myself,” he wrote in his autobiography Crazy From The Heat. “I’d watched what I was eating, watched what I was exercising, didn’t smoke any cigarettes, nothing. Walked in, started singing and Ted Templeman the producer said, ‘Dave, it doesn’t sound the same, it sounds like it’s not you… did you do something different?’ I said ‘Yeah, well, you know I didn’t smoke any cigarettes and really made sure what I had for breakfast.’ He said, ‘Well, go outside and smoke a joint, somebody order a cheeseburger.’” Dave obeyed his producer’s instructions and then, “Walked in, knocked out ‘Jamie’s Cryin” in 40-minutes.”

22. That Jamie held out for more than a “one night stand,” because love should mean a little more.

23. Actual postage. “She wants to send him a letter, uh yeah yeah / Uh just to try to make herself feel better.”

24. The scratchy guitar intro to “Atomic Punk.”

25. The idea of a black lycra-clad David Lee Roth ruling any streets at night. Or the netherworlds for that matter.

26. Roth describing a makeout session as “getting funny,” in “Feel Your Love Tonight.”

27. The wah-wah riff to “Little Dreamer,” which is secretly Eddie’s best.

28. The stacked vocal “Oohs” in the background while Dave is singing.

29. Both of Eddie’s guitar solos in “Little Dreamer.”

30. Actually, I like everything about “Little Dreamer.” It might be my favorite Van Halen song.

31. Okay, “Light Up The Sky,” is my favorite Van Halen song, but still!

32. That the band decided to chuck one acoustic song, “Ice Cream Man” into the mix.

33. That it takes them exactly one-minute and 11-seconds to ditch the acoustic guitars and crank the Marshall stacks again.

34. Dave’s hiccup/squeal between the line, “Puddin’ pie banana” and “Dixie cups.”

35. The way the windows in my house crack when Dave screams “I’m On Fire” over and over again through the last song.

36. The fact that it was ultimately certified diamond by the RIAA for sales exceeding 10 million copies.

37. That Van Halen blew Black Sabbath off the stage on a nightly basis during their subsequent tour behind this album. “From the very first minute I heard them I knew straight away that they were something special,” Sabbath guitarist Tony Iommi told Guitar World.

38. How Dave’s father is thanked as “Dr. Roth” in the liner notes.

39. Charles M. Young’s, catty contemporary review in Rolling Stone: “Mark my words: in three years, Van Halen is going to be fat and self-indulgent and disgusting, and they’ll follow Deep Purple and Led Zeppelin right into the toilet. In the meantime, they are likely to be a big deal.”

40. Roth’s inhuman pose on the album’s back cover.

February 10, 2018 at 10:17 am Quote #58224


Is Van Halen’s First Album Their Best? Our Writers Answer Five Burning Questions
Ultimate Classic Rock Staff
February 9, 2018

To celebrate the 40th anniversary of Van Halen’s debut, we asked our writers to tackle five burning questions about this genre-redefining album. Is it their best album? What’s the best song on it — and, heaven forbid, if you had to take one track off from it, what would it be? Here’s what they said.

Is Van Halen Van Halen’s Best Album?

Nick DeRiso: Objectively, this is their best album. I don’t think, pound for pound, there’s any denying that. For most of its length, Van Halen plays like a greatest-hits album, just one great song followed by another followed by another — and so many of them are radio staples. But that doesn’t mean it’s my favorite. On a windows-down summer day, I’m going Diver Down, every time.

Michael Gallucci: Yeah, it’s their best album. From the very first song, it pretty much launched the direction hard rock headed for the next 10 years. It was a game changer as far as rock music goes. Few albums can take control of an entire genre and shake things up in ways that will be felt for years to come. Van Halen is one of those albums.

Annie Zaleski: Yes. Not only is it a marvel of sequencing — is there a better rock album opener than “Runnin’ With the Devil”? — but the album is unselfconscious and ferociously original. You can hear the nods to classic bands, styles and eras throughout, but these aren’t blatant ripoffs, and the energy is decidedly forward-thinking. They weren’t interested in being lumbering dinosaurs, but a killer party band soundtracking your debauched night out. The songwriting is strong and streamlined, and the confidence and charisma everyone exudes elevates the music. Van Halen is one of those records that’s completely its own thing.

Matthew Wilkening: For the world at large? Absolutely. Every nice thing everybody here or anywhere else says about Van Halen is 100 percent true. It completely redefined rock music’s vocabulary, setting a template the band and most of their peers would be working from for years. But truly great bands don’t peak with their first album. AC/DC didn’t, Led Zeppelin didn’t, the Beatles didn’t and neither did Van Halen. So once you’ve fully immersed yourself in their music, the correct answer is Fair Warning. It’s both their most consistent and most diverse batch of songs, and it’s fascinating to see them ditch their usual party vibe and explore more serious and sometimes even downright unsettling moods.

Matt Wardlaw: I’m not sure that it’s their best, but it’s an astounding piece of work. It’s hard to pick a favorite from that initial David Lee Roth era of Van Halen albums — Eddie Van Halen was blazing new trails at that time with every song and every riff. But, like so many people, I can remember hearing the album for the first time and right from the moment that “Runnin’ With the Devil” came on, I was blown away. The whole album is full of so many moments that you’re just scratching your head going, “How did they do that?” 40 years later, Van Halen is still just as impressive as the first time that I heard it.

Jed Gottlieb: It’s impossible to say with any certainty what the best Roth Van Halen album is. Sometimes I think even A Different Kind of Truth is their best (although I never think Diver Down is). If I’m at a party or BBQ or on a road trip and someone pops this album on, I often think it’s the best, and by that I mean the best album ever!

Michael Christopher: It’s hard to say it isn’t. Hardcore fans are obviously going to point to Fair Warning. Casual listeners will say 1984. Honestly, though, you can’t debate the debut. From the opening roar of “Runnin’ With the Devil” through the blistering salvo of closer “On Fire,” it never lets up. Name a bad track. You can’t — it doesn’t exist.

What is the best song on the album?

DeRiso: “Ain’t Talkin’ ‘Bout Love,” which serves as a microcosm of everything that made Van Halen such a lightning-bolt moment in the late ’70s. They were brash, but had a way with a hook, and they brought a badly needed bit of humor to hard rock. From Eddie Van Halen’s fleet riffs to David Lee Roth’s cocksure vocals, from the period-perfect rock-star Lothario storyline to Michael Anthony’s meteorologic background vocals, it’s all there. That faux-introspective spoken-word part is just an added bonus.

Gallucci: “Runnin’ With the Devil.” It’s one of the era’s great album openers.Those pulsating notes that kick off the song, as well as the album, are both exciting and a little bit scary. You’re not quite sure what’s coming next, but by the end of the next three and a half minutes, we’ve got a clue: the future of hard rock. “Ain’t Talkin’ ‘Bout Love” and “Eruption” are pretty damn good too.

Zaleski: “Ain’t Talkin’ ‘Bout Love,” because it exemplifies Van Halen’s strengths. First and foremost, there’s Eddie’s main riff, which somehow takes cues from blues, heavy metal, rock and punk, but doesn’t sound like any of those genres. The rest of his playing throughout the song is menacing and modern; it might be one of the best guitar clinics of all time, and certainly one of his best performances. Vocally, the song is also on point, between the classic stacked backing harmonies and David Lee Roth being flamboyant and charismatic, while not being too overly dramatic. The rhythm section of Michael Anthony and Alex Van Halen is locked in, which propels the tune. And the song has an interesting arrangement — it’s not your standard rock song approach — and that creates delicious tension. Close second I think is “Runnin’ With the Devil” or “Jamie’s Cryin’,” the latter of which proved that hard rock could be poppy and melodic.

Wilkening: My personal favorite is probably “I’m on Fire,” but under oath and forced to be even the slightest bit objective the answer is “I’m the One.” It’s the clearest example that the band wasn’t relying solely on Eddie’s flash and technique — that Roth in particular was bringing something special to the table too.

Wardlaw: “Runnin’ With the Devil.” The opening sound of that intro is so cool, and the swagger that the whole band puts forth is undeniable. You instantly know that you’ve discovered the coolest band on Earth. The runner-up for me would be “Feel Your Love Tonight.” Love the energy and the attitude and the power of that song. “Jamie’s Cryin’” is a close second in that vein for me, as well.

Gottlieb: “I’m the One” certainly shows off what Van Halen does best. It’s fast, loose, fun. It features both Roth and Eddie Van Halen unique voices and swagger. But the tops is that between it all they pop in a perfect doo-wop breakdown. Runner-up: the first 30 seconds of “Atomic Punk,” because I’ve heard it a hundred times and still can’t my mind around that sound.

Christopher: “I’m the One.” Underrated, yet played by the band every time in concert with Roth, and when Gary Cherone joined it was a staple in the set. So there’s obviously a fondness from the creators. The song is the perfect juxtaposition of the tastes of Roth and the musical leanings of the Van Halen brothers. It’s got that fiery rock ‘n’ roll drive and then a blast of funk and shimmy. The harmonies are spot on, the breakdown a thing of beauty — it’s brilliant all around.

If you had to cut one song from the album what would it be?

DeRiso: Many might say “Ice Cream Man,” but I think that’s more because Roth eventually took this song’s punny fun and turned it into a beat-to-death schtick. For me, it’s the album-closing “On Fire,” the only song here that feels slightly unfinished — in particular when paired with all that came before.

Gallucci: “Ice Cream Man.” I can’t think of anything more embarrassing than having the car polished, the windows down, the tunes cranked … and then David Lee Roth’s minstrel show comes on. By the time the song reaches its climax, the band manages to swing a little, but the blustering, hammy showoff bits that weighed down later Van Halen albums surface for the first time here.

Zaleski: “Ice Cream Man,” sad to say. Although live it transforms into a showcase for David Lee Roth storytime, on record it feels dispensable, and its double entendres grow old after a few spins.

Wilkening: “Little Dreamer,” and it’s not a case of “bad” by any means — just a matter of least great. The rest of the album instantly turns me into Beavis / Cornholio, and I don’t particularly need things to slow down like they do with this song.

Wardlaw: I don’t think it can be done — they all bring something important to the party and so much of it is driven by amazingly unique riffs from Eddie that I can’t imagine not hearing on a Van Halen album. But if I were going to pick one, I’d probably strike “You Really Got Me” from the mix.

Gottlieb: I often want to cut a cover on a Van Halen disc. I don’t need to hear “You Really Got Me” ever again.

Christopher: Guitar geeks will hate this, but “Eruption.” It’s become such a cliché at this point and ripped off so many times by lesser bands, it would be better if it didn’t exist outside of Eddie’s live solos. The fact that he makes a mistake at the top end of the track is a forgotten misstep in the annals of we’re-not-worthyism, so it’s not even a flawless number. Then again, this is hypothetical, and it’s hard to imagine the record without it.

Who did “You Really Got Me” better — the Kinks or Van Halen?

DeRiso: Different eras, different approaches, different measures of success. I think Van Halen’s is quintessentially of their time, and it wildly succeeds by that measure.

Gallucci: The Kinks — no question. They not only wrote it and got their first, it’s one of their signature songs, and a cornerstone record of the British Invasion, ’60s and garage-rock movements. The Van Halen version — even though it’s heavier and has way more tricks up its sleeve — is little more than a new-generation tribute with the volume turned up.

Zaleski: The Kinks, simply because that version has an innate rawness I think works better with the lyrics.

Wilkening: Listen, I can’t help when I was born, or what I heard first. I envy the people who knew what music was like before the Beatles were on Ed Sullivan. Both versions of “You Really Got Me” are awesome, but when you’re introduced to the song via Van Halen’s technicolor version, it’s hard not to see the original as a tad bit monochromatic.

Wardlaw: I’ll give the nod to Van Halen on this one. It’s anything but a straight retread of the Kinks version — and like so much of the album, it just sounds like it must have been a blast to record this song as a group. You can hear the chemistry and the enthusiasm for days.

Gottlieb: Kinks. The Van Halen cover is excellent, but listen back and you realize it doesn’t add much to the LP. Sure, the harmonies are great, but they do better harmonies on the album (see “Feel Your Love Tonight”), and while Ed doesn’t take bad solos, the “Got Me” solo may be the least awesome thing he’s ever done with Roth.

Christopher: The easiest argument would be if the Kinks hadn’t done it, Van Halen’s version would never exist. The thing is, when retooled by VH, “You Really Got Me” turns into a completely different beast. It might piss off Ray Davies to no end, but Van Halen bettered the song by giving it a harder, more dangerous edge.

Was Van Halen the official start of the ’80s for rock music?

DeRiso: Yes. ‘Van Halen’ came out on Feb. 10, 1978, opening the door for one of the decade’s signature sounds. The rest was quickly filled out: The Cars’ first album followed in June, then the Police and Gary Numan issued debut records that November. By early 1979, Joe Jackson and Joy Division had arrived. It took a few more years (and the birth of MTV) to make it official, but the ’70s were already over.

Gallucci: You can certainly make a case for it. By the end of the ’70s, rock music had swerved into so many different directions, thanks to the excesses of the bands that helped shape it. Punk undoubtedly had a hand in how rock music changed course in the ’80s, and there were plenty of milestone records in that genre before Van Halen came out. But as far as hard rock music of the ’80s? This album is ground zero.

Zaleski: If you look at the charts, 1978 itself felt like the start of the ’80s, between the Stones’ disco hit (“Miss You”) and the Cars breaking out. I do think Van Halen was part of this trend, as it felt fresh and had punk rock’s revolutionary spirit, without actually being a punk rock record.

Wilkening: Absolutely, it’s where the decade’s mix of pop and hard rock was established. And then five years later they redefined the genre’s sound all over again with the keyboards on “Jump” — although the net effect of that move, as interpreted and regurgitated by their peers, was more of a mixed bag.

Wardlaw: It’s certainly the moment that gave any band making music going forward a huge mountain to climb.

Gottlieb: Yes. There is no Journey or Bon Jovi, no Ratt or Poison without this album. They took the extremes of the ’70s — Led Zeppelin and ABBA — and made them work all at once. Don’t believe it? Go spin “Feel Your Love Tonight.” It’s “Black Dog” and “Dancing Queen.”

Christopher: Only in an image sense. The acrobatic, spandex-clad lead singer and guitarist who is right at the forefront, sharing the spotlight with him changed the visuals of rock ‘n’ roll. Was it for the better? Probably not. The imitators came from far and wide around the world, but none ever held a candle to the mighty Van Halen.

February 10, 2018 at 10:17 am Quote #58225


Van Halen’s Debut: A Look Back at the Album That Changed L.A.
Loudwire Staff
February 9, 2018
By Katherine Turman

West Los Angeles in the 1970s was a heady place to grow up. At 14, I’d take the bus – or hitchhike! – to the stables to ride horses in the hills. I’d hit the beach in Santa Monica, where my friends and I, slathered in baby oil, would broil on the sand – stoned, of course – cranking up KLOS or KMET, the great rock stations of the day. With allowance and babysitting money we’d buy albums at Licorice Pizza or the Odyssey (the upstairs arcade was where the stoners hung out, playing Asteroids).

I had no siblings to turn me on to music, no Almost Famous guidance, ala “Listen to Tommy with a candle burning, and you’ll see your entire future!” From my mom I got Pete Seeger and the Mason Williams Orchestra (“Classical Gas”). From my dad, his Cream and Rolling Stones vinyl. Ultimately, it was radio – and older friends – who tuned me in and turned me on. In 1977, at 13, I went to the Forum to see Queen – with my French class friend Anne’s mother Mrs. Blankenbaker driving and chaperoning (oh, the teenage humiliation!).

I was seriously into music, but was too young to drive and shy. And the storied rock clubs, six miles East of our safe West L.A. apartment, were a scary destination. Of course, cooler kids were hanging out in Hollywood by the age of 13. But I’d seen those cautionary After-School Specials and Sarah T. – Portrait of a Teenage Alcoholic. I was a good girl with bad girl fantasies.

Enter Van Halen’s first album. If East Coast radio stations were heavy on the Billy Joel and Springsteen, L.A. airwaves were laden with the Doors and Eagles. That is, until early 1978, when the L.A. band came along and wiped the Laurel Canyon sound clean with wailing guitar solos, fast-fingered guitar machinations and a tone that revolutionized rock ‘n’ roll. It was paired with an athletically animalistic frontman and a beefy rhythm section, and drums that at times sounded like a fast-idling Harley.

Hard to imagine, and with apologies to Sgt. Peppers: It was 40 years ago today that Eddie Van Halen showed the world what he could play… and how fast he could play. That first record blew everyone’s minds. I still own my original copy. I still know every word and nuance on the album. From the first seconds: The omnious, increasing volume of car horns, booming chug of Michael Anthony’s bass, the quick tinkle of piano then David Lee Roth’s screamed “Ah yaaaahhh” that kick off “Running with the Devil” – it’s perfection. “Running with the Devil” sounds as stellar in 2018 as it did in 1978.

Sure, my friends and I would air guitar to Eddie’s solos, but as a failed acoustic guitarist (my rendition of “Octopus Garden” was a show-stopper, according to my mom) I didn’t yet understand the two-handed tapping and innovative genius that was Eddie Van Halen. That came later. (Twenty years hence I’d have a column in Guitar One magazine. And I’d also listen, as Rick Derringer told me that Eddie stole the tapping from him! And I also became email buddies with Van Halen producer Ted Templeman!) But as a kid, an devourer of books, it was Van Halen’s lyrics, the energy and the instantly memorable sing-along songs that floated my teenage boat. Plus – and it’s embarrassing to admit it now – David Lee Roth’s long hair, spandex and swaggering charisma initially drew me in more than Eddie’s scorching playing.

Van Halen, from the front to back – because that’s how we listened to it – was flawless, with not an ounce of fat. There wasn’t a single song you lifted the needle to skip. As a young teenage girl, “Jamie’s Cryin’” – side two, song one! – was my song. When my friends and I would meet boys at the beach or the UCLA Mardi Gras, we’d give fake names. I, of course, was “Jamie,” after the tearful hard-luck heroine of the song, whose one-night-stand with a rock star was heartbreaking. I barely knew what a one-night stand was, but I also knew that I would be the hapless type of girl who “wants to send him a letter / Just to try to make herself feel better.” Paired with the amazing achievement that is “Ain’t Talkin’ ‘Bout Love,” they were the perfect paeans to young lust. “I been to the edge,” quoth Dave. “And there I stood and looked down / You know I lost a lot of friends there baby / I got no time to mess around!” You felt Roth had some gravitas under his grandstanding.

The songs on Van Halen are dangerous fun, full of sexy, devil-may-care bombast in the best way possible. In the pre-AIDS culture of sex without consequences, they speak of freedom-”I live my life like there’s no tomorrow, all I got I had to steal.” The album put my bad-girl fantasies into song. I wanted to have “nobody waiting at home,” instead of a mom who I’d see silhouetted in the window when I snuck home at 3 a.m., full of lies about running out of gas. Van Halen were my “Freedom Rock,” my daydreams of sex and partying and rock ‘n’ roll, purveyed in 11 songs and 35 minutes. (I’m listening to “Eruption” as I write this: there’s still no solo more iconic.) In retrospect, of course, songs like “Feel Your Love Tonight” would not fly in today’s #metoo world: “We’re gettin’ funny in the back of my car / I’m sorry honey if I took it just a little too far, yes” and “Better use it up before it gets old.” But in 1978, nobody gave it a second thought.

“I’m The One” was almost punk-like; its fluid, boogie mania with Roth’s bonkers jazz/scat breakdown, Alex Van Halen’s double-kick mania, Michael Anthony’s frantic bass and backing vocals and, of course, Eddie’s six-string excellence wiped away the Joni Mitchells and the James Taylors from our hearts. The beginning of “Atomic Punk” was mind-blowing: I couldn’t even be sure it was a guitar making those frenetic “wiki-wiki” noises. Roth’s cocky, always-on-10 vocals made you believe that, indeed, nobody ruled those streets at night like Roth did.

Before VH was ever on my radar, circa 1976 and ’77, Van Halen played the Starwood, a legendary club that also saw future members of Motley Crue grace its stage. But by 1981, while at University High in West L.A. (alumni include Kim Fowley and Tone Loc!), I got my license, and in my mom’s Buick Special station wagon, I headed east. Mostly to West Hollywood’s all-ages Troubadour, every week seeing both new wave and burgeoning metal bands: Berlin, W.A.S.P. Quiet Riot (post Randy Rhodes, sadly) and hundreds of others who saw less fame.

With my fake ID, Sonny, the bartender at the Troub’s front bar, served teenage me gin & tonics (I thought that seemed “adult”). It was one of those nights where David Lee Roth touched me. Me, the former “Jamie.” Of course, Roth didn’t notice, but wow, I did. He brushed by me at the bar, and I touched his elbow. On purpose. It was a big deal in my good-girl world. I skipped my high school prom in favor of nights and experiences like this.

I still didn’t know that rock ‘n’ roll would become both my obsession and my vocation. As my life and Van Halen’s career carried on, both VH and I enjoyed our successes. For me, though, nothing of VH’s ever captured the flawlessness and flow of the first album. Back then, I viewed “Ice Cream Man” as a bit of a throwaway; was that the reason it was the closing cut? The moodier, mid-tempo “Little Dreamer” was, likewise, not tops with me, but as it, and I, have gotten older, I appreciate its slightly more subtle approach.

Roth’s elbow was not my last Van Halen encounter. Interviewing David Lee Roth for his 1988 solo album Skyscraper – I may still have been in journalism school! – I was warned by the publicist not to bring up Van Halen. Within two minutes, he’d brought it up. Any journalist will tell you, Roth’s the easiest interview ever: turn on your tape recorder, and off he goes, bon mots spewing from his mouth.

Then, in the Van Hagar era came the thrill of seeing the band in a small club – the opening of Cabo Wabo in Mexico, no less. (Ah, the days of free journalist junkets. I recorded the show on my hand held cassette recorder. I still have the tape.) Thanks to my career as an editor at RIP magazine, I saw the Sammy Hagar-led version many times, and while they were great (I’d been a fan of Hagar’s from back when he was the lead singer of Montrose), Roth’s swaggering rock star presence was simply superior to Hagar’s every-man appeal.

My Van Halen story came full-circle on January 5, 2012. Van Halen played Café Wha?, a small, legendary club on New York City’s MacDougal Street, founded by Manny Roth, David’s uncle. As David said from stage that evening: “There is no hiding up here. There are no fake vocals. There is no fake anything.” There wasn’t, and even when it wasn’t perfect, it was perfection. The first four songs were “You Really Got Me,” “Runnin’ With the Devil,” “Somebody Get Me a Doctor” and “Everybody Wants Some!!” and seeing the interaction – admittedly not a lot, but still – between Roth and Eddie… it was nothing short of a dream come true.

There is no Van Halen other than the lineup with David Lee Roth, and, it must be said, Michael Anthony on bass. Just like is no other Black Sabbath than the version with Ozzy and Bill Ward. Much as I like – and I do – both Sammy Hagar (and Ronnie James Dio, by the way) Roth wins the VH crown. And Van Halen is the biggest jewel in it.

Loudwire contributor Katherine Turman is the co-author of Louder Than Hell: The Definitive Oral History of Metal, and the producer of “Nights with Alice Cooper” and is the former Editor-In-Chief of legendary metal magazine RIP. She has written for The Village Voice, The Los Angeles Times,, Rolling Stone, Noisey, Marie Claire, Billboard, Spin, New York Observer, Mother Jones, LiveNation TV, San Francisco Weekly, L.A Alternative Press, Guitar World,, ‘TEEN, Black Book, SOMA and many other outlets.

February 10, 2018 at 10:17 am Quote #58226


John 5 on Eddie Van Halen’s Legacy: ‘He’s Like Benjamin Franklin’
Brian Ives
February 9, 2018

“It changed my life forever.”

John 5 is talking about the effect that the first Van Halen album, released forty years ago, had on him. It sounds like it could be hyperbole, but the fact is, so many guitar players have said the same thing about the 1978 release in subsequent decades.

The six-stringer, who has played with David Lee Roth and Marilyn Manson, and who currently plays for Rob Zombie while leading his own band, was talking to Loudwire’s Gear Factor host Squiggy about the impact of Van Halen – the album, Van Halen – the band, and Eddie Van Halen as both a guitarist and an inventor.

John 5 tells Squiggy that he first heard the album when it was brand new: he was turned on to it by his guitar teacher. “When I heard it, I was blown away. I couldn’t believe it. I was just like, ‘Oh my God, that’s so incredible.’ It just moved me and it was totally an epiphany for me. I still listen to it all the time. It was a game-changer. It was something that changed music forever.”

“I don’t think any of us had ever heard a guitar sound like that before,” he added. “Everyone’s trying to get the sound, and the right amp and the right pedal and the right cord and the right pick and the right strings and I really do believe it’s just all in his hands. Because I’ve heard him play through a little practice amp, and it sounds just like Eddie Van Halen!”

He continues: “Not only was Eddie an unbelievable musician and songwriter, but think about this: what an inventor he was. Look at the design he came up with: the striped guitar. Dude, it’s unbelievable. That’s one of the most iconic symbols: you see that [guitar], and you’re like, ‘Oh! Van Halen!’ The black and white, and then the black and yellow, then the red, white and black one, it’s just totally iconic.”

Discussing Eddie Van Halen’s signature 5150 amps, he says, “There’s so many different versions of it, I’ve used it multiple times on records, absolutely. I’ve played through his rig and, oh my God, he is like Benjamin Franklin, he just knows where everything goes and it sounds unbelievable. He’s an inventor, on top of an amazing guitar player and an amazing songwriter!”

February 10, 2018 at 10:18 am Quote #58227


Celebrating the 40th anniversary of Van Halen’s debut album
by Brad Berreman
2018-02-10 8:07 am

Saturday is the 40th anniversary of the release of Van Halen’s debut album, so it’s a time to acknowledge and celebrate.

Whether you’re more a fan of the David Lee Roth or Sammy Hagar era of Van Halen, and there are people who say you can’t like both equally, there’s no doubt when the band hit the public eye. On Feb. 10, 1978, the band’s debut album, simply and obviously titled Van Halen, was released. So that means the 40th anniversary is upon us, and a look back is worthy.

Track 1, regardless of the full album format, is the Van Halen classic “Runnin’ with the Devil.” Track 2 served as the announcement of the guitar virtuoso that would become Eddie Van Halen with the instrumental “Eruption.”

Track 3 was Van Halen’s first hit single, a cover of The Kinks’ “You Really Got Me.” Following that is “Ain’t Talkin’ ‘Bout Love”, before favorites like “Jamie’s Cryin’,” “Feel Your Love Tonight” and the innuendo-laden “Ice Cream Man” that come later.

In retrospect, Van Halen has gotten plenty of love as a game-changing classic rock album. Rolling Stone ranked it No. 415 on a 2012 re-issue of its 500 Greatest Albums of All-Time, and in 2013, the magazine ranked Van Halen No. 27 on its list of the greatest debut albums of all time. In 2006, Guitar World put it No. 7 on its list of the greatest guitar albums of all time.

For those of you that like rock music but are too young to know anything about Van Halen, their debut album is a good start to quickly get familiar. It’s even pretty short, with a run time of just over 35 minutes (as evidenced by the video above), if your attention span happens to be short as well.

For those of you who are Van Halen fans and die-hards, wherever you may fall on the Roth-Hagar spectrum, where do you rank Van Halen in the band’s catalog? What’s your favorite track on the album? Give me “Running with the Devil,” by a nose.

February 10, 2018 at 10:18 am Quote #58228


Forty Years Ago on Saturday, An Eruption Out Of Pasadena: Van Halen Releases Its Debut LP
Published : Friday, February 9, 2018 | 7:29 PM

In the late ’70s, the writing seemed to be on the wall for hard rock. Punk had just exploded in the U.K., disco and soft rock reigned in the U.S. charts, and stadium bands like Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, and Aerosmith were being torn apart by tragedy and excess.

In 1977, Van Halen had already been together for some time. They were hometown boys who gigged at backyard parties and high school dances in the City of Roses before making their way to the Sunset Strip. They stuck out from the rest of the LA bands making the rounds at that time, but despite their obvious talents and demo with KISS frontman Gene Simmons, they had been unable to score a record deal.

Producer Ted Templeman happened upon the band on a rainy Monday night in West Hollywood’s Starwood Club and was floored enough to make a return appearance the next night with Warner Bros. president Mo Ostin in tow. The duo pretty much offered the band a contract on the spot. Templeman helmed their debut, and with just three weeks of studio time at Sunset Sound and an unheard-of-for-the-70s reasonable budget of a little less than $50,000, they cooked up a legendary opening salvo on par with that of the Doors, Led Zeppelin, and the Stooges before them.

Van Halen harkened back to days of rock bombast, but with an eye clearly looking toward the future. The album included “Jamie’s Cryin,” “Runnin’ with the Devil,” “Ain’t Talkin’ ‘Bout Love” and their cover of the Kinks’ tune “You Really Got Me” which were all instant radio classics. The songs were hard rocking, yet accessible, and teens bought the record in droves — 17 million copies were moved, and Van Halen is still the best selling album of the band’s catalog.

Sure, many bands have legendary debuts, but how many save a genre in just one minute and forty-two seconds? The album’s first track, “Eruption,” revolutionized guitar playing, much in the way Hendrix’ set did at Woodstock almost a decade earlier. “Eruption” showcased Eddie Van Halen’s groundbreaking two-handed, finger-tapping technique that would challenge players around the globe, who have studied and mimicked it ever since with varying degrees of success. Surprisingly, however, it was not intended to be on the album. The song, which leads into “You Really Got Me,” was used as a warm-up exercise before the band hit the stage and even today, Eddie Van Halen–ever the perfectionist– still hears a flub.

“I showed up at the studio early one day and started to warm up because I had a gig on the weekend and I wanted to practice my solo-guitar spot,” he said. “Our producer, Ted Templeman, happened to walk by and he asked, ‘What’s that? Let’s put it on tape! I didn’t even play it right–there’s a mistake at the top end of it. Whenever I hear it, I always think, ‘Man, I could’ve played it better.’”

When it was released, Van Halen was slow to crawl up the charts, but its impact is still being felt forty years hence. Most every guitar-based band that came after has cited it as an influence. It’s not only a great debut, but it’s also a landmark record, and Pasadena’s priceless gift to rock n’ roll.

February 10, 2018 at 10:18 am Quote #58229


It’s been 40 years since Van Halen’s self-titled debut album erupted into stores
Posted on 2/10/2018 5:00 AM

Today, February 10, marks the 40th anniversary of the release of Van Halen’s self-titled debut album.

The 11-track collection helped introduce the world to the hard-rock legends: shrieking, high-kicking and irreverently funny singer David Lee Roth, fast-fingered and inventive guitarist Eddie Van Halen, hard-pounding drummer Alex Van Halen and fluid bassist Michael Anthony, who also provided soaring backing vocals.

While the album peaked at a modest #19 on the Billboard 200, and featured only one top 40 hit — an inspired cover of The Kinks’ “You Really Got Me” — it’s packed with songs that have become staples on classic-rock radio. They include “Runnin’ with the Devil,” “Ain’t Talkin’ ’bout Love,” “Jamie’s Cryin’,” “Ice Cream Man” and “Eruption.”

The latter track is an instrumental that features what many consider to be one of the greatest rock guitar solos ever, with Eddie Van Halen showcasing his trademark “finger-tapping” technique, which has influenced countless other guitar players.

In 1989, rapper Tone Loc scored a #2 hit with “Wild Thing,” which featured an uncredited sample of “Jamie’s Cryin’.” The band sued and settled out of court for $180,000.

The Van Halen album has gone on to earn a Diamond certification for selling more than 10 million copies in the U.S., making one of the 10 best-selling albums ever by a rock band.

Here’s the full track list of Van Halen:

“Runnin’ with the Devil”
“Eruption” (instrumental)
“You Really Got Me”
“Ain’t Talkin’ ’bout Love”
“I’m the One”
“Jamie’s Cryin’”
“Atomic Punk”
“Feel Your Love Tonight”
“Little Dreamer”
“Ice Cream Man”
“On Fire”

February 10, 2018 at 10:18 am Quote #58230


Van Halen’s Debut Album Turns 40
By: Ryan Castle
February 9, 2018

The Billboard Hot 100 in 1978 was dominated by disco. Sure you had the occasional Rolling Stones song run up the charts, but otherwise, it was all about The Bee Gees, Andy Gibb from the Bee Gees, Donna Summer, and oh look: Andy Gibb again.

How about Barbara Streisand and Neil Diamond? Yup, that too.

Little did the world know a dramatic swing in music was on the horizon in the form of 4 dudes from Pasadena.

While Van Halen’s first album never topped the charts—in fact “You Really Got Me” fizzled out at #36—the band would change the trajectory of music for decades.

This weekend, raise a glass, and wish a happy 40th to Van Halen!

February 10, 2018 at 4:14 pm Quote #58234


From Mike.

40 years ago today, four guys set out to rock the world!! I want to thank all of you for rocking and supporting us all these years!

EDDIE’S fingers aren’t fingers they are muscle-powered pistons that hammer guitar strings to the fretboard with the force of a rivet gun”.

February 10, 2018 at 4:23 pm Quote #58236


PT5150: From Mike.

Either Mike is shrinking or that’s the biggest patio chair set I’ve ever seen.


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