Van Halen

One of Sammy Hagar's many fine back-up bands.
*special introductory paragraph!
*'77 + Live
*Van Halen
*Demo Daze
*Women And Children First
*Fair Warning
*Diver Down
*For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge
*Live: Right Here, Right Now
*Best Of Volume One
Man, did they ever start off awesome. Total party-hearty rock and roll machine, with this crazy guitarist making all these dive-bomb noises and hammer-ons and whangy bar shakes and harmonics and stuff, elevating mere guitar rock to an intricate, innovative, and imminently intriguing itchycoo icicle. Plus, the singer was this wacky larger-than-life cartoon of a womanly man who was always doing gymnastics during concerts and talking between verses and wearing crazy colorful clothing and he had a really neat voice too! It was low and sorta dopey-sounding at times, but he could do these high-pitched Slayer-esque squeal things that just drove the kids wild, and he sounded like a real pal most of the time, albeit a really arrogant pal. And the melodies? Well, they were always good, and often great, especially when enhanced by Edward Van Halen's wildass creative lead guitar verve that you've probably heard lots about in your short life.

Unfortunately, singer David Lee Roth quit in 1984, the other guys replaced him with screamer Sammy Hagar, Eddie made his guitar tone really wussy and chorusy, and within a few years, their songwriting had deteriorated to the point that they were basically churning out dull adult pop along the lines of Survivor, but without that band's charm or charisma. Finally they replaced Mr. Hagar with some guy from Extreme, and.... Jeez. Just read on.

'77 + Live - Baby Face 1994.
Rating = 6

I bought this off ebay (that site KICKS ASS, by the way, especially if you're into bootlegs and porn). It's clearly a bootleg, but one worth my buying power, if only to get a glimpse of how the Han Valens used to operate. First of all, in '76, they sure played lots of covers! Here you'll find the Stones' "If You Can't Rock Me" (represented by about three minutes of stage patter and 12 seconds of actual song), Bowie's "Jean Genie" and 7-8-minute versions of both Bad Company's "Rock Steady" and that awful Derringer song "Rock N' Roll Hoochie Koo"! And heck poop but it took them forever to get their songs completely written! Experience here the grand entertainment of a hideously underwritten piece of shit called "Women In Love" that bears scant resemblance to a much better song they wrote with the same title a couple years later. Kiss your butt to TWO early renditions of "Mean Street," with lyrics about a "Voodoo Queen" and...hmm. I forgot the other one. "Get The Show On The Road," maybe? Snort some dope to an early rendition of "Hang 'Em High" called "Last Night." And urinate in your mouth to some nearly worthless early originals like "Put Out The Lights" and "She's The Woman"!!! If you thought these guys were invincible, try to find a copy of this. It'll help you appreciate the short length of the early VH albums. If they'd made them longer, they'd have THESE songs on them!!!! Bleah!

Reader Comments
"Put Out The Lights" is an awesome song to me. Great riffage and great fun, would of fit perfectally on the debut or even Van Halen II probably. Too bad it was abandoned. Never heard any of the other songs as of yet though.

Van Halen - Warner Brothers 1978.
Rating = 9

The album cover says it all: Eddie shakin' his guitar back in forth with scary red electricity something or other wavering in the breeze, Dave swaggerin' with a manly hairy chest, leather pants with chains, and a horseface, drummer Alex Van Halen barely visible behind evil fiery red demon drums, and bassist Michael Anthony grindin' his monster axe with spooky green electricity something or other wavering above like the hand of Lucifer. And they're all wearing elevator boots!!!!!!! THIS is ROCK AND ROLL!!!!!!

Unfortunately, the album itself (though groundbreaking and featuring tons of phenomenal tracks) seems a bit slow and sterile compared to the cover. At least, it's hard to imagine any other early Van Halen record featuring songs as poky and uneventful as "Little Dreamer" and "Feel Your Love Tonight," which aren't bad songs by any means, but they don't really have any energy. But yo! The tracks that cook really COOK! Eddie's famous solo "Eruption" introduces his exciting new guitar technique (that would soon influence thousands of imitators) with flying colors and numbers, although darn it, everyone claims that he was the founder of the "hammer-on" technique, and I know darn well that AC/DC's Angus Young used it in his band's cover of "Baby Please Don't Go" in 1974, and I hardly doubt that it was originally initiated by somebody like Hendrix or Townshend or somebody else who was just too blues-obsessed to bother to develop the style to its full potential.

So either way, whether Eddie invented it or not, he certainly exploited it for more cooler-than-shit noises than any other star had done before, so we can at least give him credit for that. Plus, didn't he BUILD his own guitar and speaker cabinet? I think I read that somewhere. That's amazing. So cool. What a dude! So anyway, about the other songs - you probably know the hits "Runnin' With The Devil," "Ain't Talkin' 'Bout Love" (which, regardless of the ridiculous number of apostrophes, is a seethingly bitter and rockin' little tune), "Jamie's Cryin'" (a rip-off of MC Hammer's classic "Wild Thing," but catchy nonetheless), and the cover tunes "You Really Got Me" and "Ice Cream Man" (which make it clear exactly why Van Halen were so much better than all those traditional blues-based rock and roll bands that were hoggin' up all the GD radio time), but if you axe me, the two tracks that really steal the rock and roll show are the speedy psychotic semi-punk tunes "On Fire" and "Atomic Punk," which feature some of the wickedest guitar lines ever shredded as well as some totally inhuman screams by.... well, Roth or somebody. Whoever shouts "I'm on FIIIIIIYYYYAAAARRRRRR!!!!" Anyway, so there you go. "I'm The One" has an adorable shooby-doo a capella break too. Great album!

Reader Comments (David Aurand)
Man, I was beginning to wonder if you were ever gonna review another band I like.....Well, with AC/DC and Metallica in there, you definitely caught my attention. Now, with turned my head again. Of course, anyone who grew up in the 70's and 80's has to be a fan of Eddie, Dave and the rest of the boys....The first VH album/ probably my favorite with Dave. Classic R&R tunes.....crunching guitar sounds....primal drumming and a thumping bass....and, of course....maniac Dave...You gotta love this....I haven't ever thought to myself......"I am bored with this"....won't happen....can't happen....this is a CLASSIC!!!! (Doug Swalen)
You missed the boat on this one I think. THIS is THE Van Halen album to buy if you have to have one. It was pretty much downhill for them after this one, though they came close with Fair Warning. Everything is right on this record; the guitars and the drums, which sounded more and more hollow with each subsequent record, are perfect. Dave hasn't yet started clowning around with his vocals like he did with Fair Warning (the stupid middle section of "Unchained" and the dumb sexual antics in the middle of "Everybody Wants Some". Besides the radio hits, this album boasts "Atomic Punk", "Fire", and "Show Your Love" (which for some reason reminds me of "Hot For Teacher" but don't ask me why).

I agree that Angus was doing Hammer Ons long before Eddie, but Angus used one hand; Eddie used two and was able to do more as is evidenced by "Eruption" and "You Really Got Me". Speaking of "You Really Got Me", I have to state that this was the first cover tune I ever heard that I felt was superior to the original. Not many bands can boast that, particularly Metallica.
Best ever Van Halen. There is nothing left to say.

Greg B.
Van Halen's early stuff is so fun to listen to. His playing is so creative and nimble, and rocking!!! Dave, but I prefer Dave being Dave than Hagar being Bolton. (Dave Weigel)
This is the greatest American metal album, but it's only Van Halen's second best. Now, I don't think that it's too slow like Mark (or apparently the rest of the world--anyone catch the promos for The Rock where they felt the need to play "Ain't Talkin' 'Bout Love" at double-speed?). Actually, it's pretty fuckin' seamless. I can't think of another single lp with so many great songs; "Runnin' With the Devil", "You Really Got Me", "Ain't Talkin'...", "Jamie's Cryin'", "I'm the One", "Ice Cream Man" and "On Fire" are all, in my mind, classics. And that Eddie solo--damn! The only problem is the pairing of the two wussy slow songs, "Feel Your Love Tonight" and "Little Dreamer". But none of this is BAD, per se. I'd give it a 10, but only after Fair Warning.
Eddie V revolutionizes the electric guitar with a smattering of riffs, solos, bends, and special effects on almost every tune. Michael Anthony's bass playing is solid here too. Some of the songs are a little weak, but overall a solid effort. (Craig Allen)
"Jamie's Cryin'" was ripped off by TONE LOC, not M.C. Hammer. If you are going to appoint yourself as a rock critic to the 'net, you should get your facts straight. However, I do quite enjoy most of your reviews.
It's a lot of fun AND a bag o' chips, too. Can't find much fault with it besides the fact that it's a little short, but wouldn't it have been much cooler to put "Eruption" first? "Runnin' with the Devil" loses all its impact after Mr. Van Halen lets 'er rip! Which leads me to another question: WHY did Eddie choose to keep his guitar playing limited to just ONE speaker for the first six albums? Is it because he REALLY wanted to show how superior he was to the bass player (who can be replaced with a three-chord bass machine for all I care!)? (Doug A. Jones)
Nope. This is must-stop-if-one-stop status for VH. American metal before America learned to pretend it liked it and VH began to grow more and more accomodating (hate that!). I was fourteen and my buddy and I took his Kenwood cassette deck to our Baptist church in Denver and, while no one was around, hooked it up to these six-foot speakers on wheels at the front of the sanctuary, and cranked up "Runnin' With the Devil" so loud it blew our hair back. Runnin' with the devil didn't turn out to be so cool but this album will always be a staple of rock music and the best of the Roth Halens, which or course were the best Halens.
People don't say that Eddie originated hammer-ons! EVERYBODY uses hammer-ons all the damn time...Angus isn't so special, because it's a standard guitar technique that is employed by Tony Iommi, Jimmy Page...etc., etc. Basically every cool guitarist ever! What our friend Eddie VH does that's so special is called "finger-tapping" which is hammer-ons with both hands. Hope I helped to set the record straight. (Daniel A. Brockman)
Regarding two-hand tapping, the earliest example I've heard is by Steve Hackett of Genesis on "The Musical Box" from their 71 album Nursery Cryme.

Don't know about that thing about Eddie building his own guitar and amp. Although the guys from Shellac did. What I'd like to see is a guitarist build his/her own effects! Now that would be far-out - actually creating your own sound!

Oh well... (Adam M. Burt)
This is the way rock and roll should sound, ya know? Aerosmith, AC/DC, Black Crowes - that stuff just doesn't rock like this. Undoubtedly, their best. This is coming from a guy who plays in an indie rock band (which plays, oh say, the exact opposite of this), but I love this. And yes, my friend, you are right about "On Fire" - undoubtedly the disc's highlight. The ideal rock and roll song. Gotta love it. (H.V.C.)
Clear up a few things: 2 Live Crew also borrowed two tunes from this album, but I forgot which ones. And Little Dreamer is probably the second best song, musically, on this whole album. Second to, of course, Eruption.

Anyway, this was my first Halen album, and I got it because it had Ice Cream Man on it. Up until now, the other songs either didn't make an impression or I had never heard them before. But I never noticed how hard rocking RWTD sounded. Every song on here is absolutely amazing and rocks like nothing I've heard before. I can't say enough good things about them all, so I just won't say anything, except "All these song kick extreme ass!" But for sheer melody, Little Dreamer still rules above the pack on this disc.

And Show Your Love sure has an odd name. I'm The One?

DLR's screaming is also very entertaining. Without the screams, this album would only be half as good.
Dude, at least you are not george sarostin, who COMPLETELY FORGOT to include this monster, great band ANYWHERE on his site..damn...anyway, this is not only one of the greatest albums in rock, but one of the greatest debuts in rock, ever.

from the opening backwards car horn intro of Runnin wih the devil, to the insane rockin of On fire, this was an instant classic. front to back, zero filler. although, jamies cryin was smapled by tone loc. how could you think it was van halen samplng mc hammer? are you 12 years old? lol....anyway, ERUPTION was the end all be all. period. not just all the sick, innovative stuff he does, but that guitar TONE. nothin else like it. also, what angus young and j page and others were doin was NOT hammer ons. it is know as open hand pull-offs...billy gibbons of zz top did hamer ONE NOTE at the end of a song. But eddie did invent his style. eddie created all that insane tapping, hammerin, palm mutin' madness...more extreme dive bombs than hendrix. bottom line, no guitar player had these chops and tone and style before him. I mean, Frank Zappa thanked eddie for reinventing electric guitar!! and if you know zappa, he was extremely difficult to impress and hardly ever gave compliments....

songs like aint talkin bout love, runnin with the devil, the amazing cover of you really got me(ray davies of the kinks said this version was better than theirs!) and ice cream man are anthems. On fire and I'm the one are two scorching, rock clinics. Alex van halen is insane. the gelling of his drums and eddies guitar is amazing. kick ass rythm without a doubt. and of course, the back ground harmonies of oft overlooked mike anthony. and the diamond one, who is, like it or not, one of the greatest frontmen in rock. Hey, this album didnt sell 10 MILLION COPIES by accident! if you don't own this, you should get therapy.....this IS rock. Amen (Alex R)
Some of my old reviews for this page really suck! I`m the guy who wrote that Van Halen died when Dave left. Dumb, Dumb Dumb! Not only do some of my reviews blow, the typing for those reviews suck too, all those punctuation and spelling errors ( Not only for the Van Halen section but also for AC/DC and Bad Religion ) I bet that a kindergarden kid can type better than I used to. But I`ll try my best to write some good and accurate reviews for one of my favorite bands. My typing has improved also so that`s an added bonus.

Well, everybody knows that this album was a milestone in rock. All the songs rock, Eddie is really kicking some ass, Dave is putting on one hell of a performance and Michael Anthony has some cool stuff going on too. But the only thing that hurts this album ( and this goes for the second album also ) is that the production kind of sucks. I don`t know if anybody has mentioned this but Alex Van Halen`s drums sound really weak, Eddie even said it himself that the drums sound like crap and it could of sounded better. But everybody knows that the reason why this album kicks ass is because of the guitar playing! One of the most incredible 6 string performances I have ever heard in my life! This album and Fair Warning definitely belong in your collection. As Prindle will say: " Don`t delay, act now! ". (Ian Moss)
Wonderful. So consistent! I only have two VH albums, but if this one doesn't deserve the ten then call me Grover "Pete" Alexander, Hall of Fame pitcher for the Philadelphia Phillies. I love "Eruption," "You Really Got Me" (Van Halen probably did THE best covers in rock 'n' roll history), "Janie's Cryin'," "Ain't Talkin' Bout Love," "Ice Cream Man," "I'm The One," even "Little Dreamer"! "Ice Cream Man" gets me every time with the acoustic beginning and electric break; I can't get enough of Dave's "to satis-uh-fuhhaaiiiiyyyy" at the end. Only clunkers: unlike Mark, I don't dig the "punkers" ("Fire" and "Atomic Punk"), and I agree that "Runnin' With the Devil," although not a BAD song, lumbers along awkwardly like a sedated moose. But the rest of it is great! Great! Go get it today!
Sorry to go against the majority on this album, but th--wait a second, what the hell am I saying? This album is awesome! High nine city! The songs rock and crunch and every single one has some undeniable party-hearty hook that just pulls you in. "Ain't Talkin' Bout Love" just rocks the house down, as does the overplayed but still heavenly Kinks cover (which they just inject with so much energy that it's impossible to resist). And yeah, like others have said, "Janie's Cryin'" wasn't ripped off by MC Hammer, but Tone Loc. Remember him? He was in Blank Check!! Oh, the things you can do if you're a ten-year-old with a million dollars, like get chicks and hire a John Candy wannabe limo driver! Hey, you know that movie The Wizard? It rules too!! More power to hour-and-a-half long Nintendo infomercials!
This is it boys and girls, one of the best hard rock/metal albums of all time. There is an incredible raw energy in this album that just can't be beat; couple that with some great catchy tunes and you've got a classic. The weak link that I can hear on this monster album is 'Atomic Punk', my choice for a filler, but even 'Little Dreamer' is a good, catchy tune that stays with you. Rarely do you hear these days a 1-2-3 punch quite like 'Eruption'/'You Really Got Me', 'Ain't Talkin' 'Bout Love', and 'I'm The One'. This is power. This is hard rock at it's best. THIS IS FUN!!

As for the personnel, David Lee ain't much of a singer, but he's a good showman. Alex Van Halen and Michael Anthony are very underrated as a rhythm unit, and of course, the star of the show is Eddie VH. Yeah, maybe some other people tapped on the frets before Eddie (look at the end of 'Bohemian Rhapsody' where Brian May (!) is tapping the final notes), but no one had done it with the devastating effect that Eddie had. He said he learned a lot from listening to Eric Clapton, and you can tell by how melodic his solos are even at those awesome volumes. I still remember back in those days (1978) people were saying that he was the best rock guitarist since Hendrix, and even today I think that statement still stands.

Eddie has said in recent interviews that he doesn't much care for this album anymore, but I think every once in a while he should sit back, relax (with his alcohol-free beer, of course!), and listen to a masterpiece that he created, back when he still had the ENERGY, the DRIVE, but most of all, when it seemed that he really had FUN making music. Darn, even 23 years later this album kicks the shit out of 99.9 percent of the crap that is being made today! Now that is POWER!...
Awesome album. Total Kick ass rock and roll. "Aint Talkin Bout Love", "Jamies Cryin", "Runnin With The Devil", "Ice Cream Man", "Eruption", the Kinks cover "You Really Got Me", all fuckin classics. The production is awesome if you ask me, it sounds really live and Eddie has this awesome guitar tone on his geetar. A definate 9 on this one. (Robert Chaundy)
Well Fair Warning is nice enough, but seriously... this knocks it into a cocked hat. I'm The One, Ice Cream Man and Feel Your Love Tonight are a tad unimpressive, but everything else is incredible. Oh, but that man could play. Not Michael Anthony, Eddie Van Halen. Wow.

And you might have been thinking of Brian May, who built his own guitar out of a fireplace.
I heard an interesting interview with Jack Black on the radio the other day. He was promoting his new movie "School of Rock", and talking a bit about his past and how "rock" influenced his life. He made reference to one particular "rock" event that changed his life forever, and as I listened, I was flooded with memories of the same event as I experienced it:

It was 1979. Cable became available for the first time in our neck of the woods, and my folks promptly hooked it up, complete with HBO. One of the random movies on all the time was "Over the Edge", a tale of distraught teens trapped in a rapidly growing community that focused on growth and industry, and ignored the needs of the youth. It's a good movie, and it had an awesome soundtrack. One of my favorites songs was during a party scene, and I had to find out what it was, so during the ending credits, I would put my face right up to the screen, and read the names of the songs as they scrolled past. I eventually figured out that the song I was looking for was Van Halen playing "You Really Got Me".

A few months later, I begged my mom to let me join one of those "record clubs" where you got 7 albums for a penny. She eventually agreed, against her better judgment, and I placed the order. Among my choices were Kiss Alive II, Steve Martin's Wild & Crazy Guy, and of course Van Halen 1. I was still a little kid at this point, and couldn't stop listening to Kiss. They were the end-all be-all of rock music as far as I was concerned, and I believed they were some kind of superbeings that lived in a Kiss castle somewhere.

After eons of waiting impatiently, the box finally arrived. It was a cardboard package the size of an album and a couple inches thick. I ripped it open and pulled the albums out as I ran upstairs to the white and orange plastic record player that was my window to the world of rock. I peeled the plastic from Kiss Alive II, which was the one on top, and put it on the record player. I'd heard it many times, and seen the cover before, but being the owner of the mystical disk was new and exciting. While it played, I started opening the rest of the albums one at a time, looking at the covers, reading the lyrics, and feeling like a big kid.

Finally I picked up the last one, it was Van Halen I, with that super cool winged VH logo and pictures of each of the dudes in the band. They didn't look like aliens, devils or cats, but still.......they looked pretty cool. As I scoured the cover, I noticed "You Really Got Me" in the track listing, it was the 3rd song on side 1, and I was ready to hear it, so I took off Kiss Alive II and put the record on the turntable. The 1st song came on with some crazy sound that seemed to descend into madness....... then the bass......then the guitar crunched in.... its wide open gnarliness slithered down the middle of my back and I melted into my bunk bed to enjoy the smooth sounds of "Running with the Devil". It totally blew me away, or so I thought ...........

The next song started. It was Track #2, and it's called "Eruption". It started with a drum roll and then guitar.........ripping and tearing.......sliding and grinding in explosive flurries of musical mayhem. I sat bolt upright on the bottom bunk and busted my head on the top bunk as the sonic smelling salts opened my musical senses. I rose unphased, and stood there with my mouth wide open, staring at the record as it spun innocently on the same turntable that used to play my Pinnochio album. During the next minute, I succumbed to waves of elation as visions of fingers and guitars and stacks of amplifiers carried me to a realm where the Gods of music keep their secrets hidden from the uninitiated. As I shuddered with enlightenment, the gates opened wide, and I was invited to enter. I was in the presence of a greatness beyond my comprehension. I was witnessing something that was way beyond normal human experience. This is what Jack Black was talking about. I was in Rock heaven. (Al Moran)
Definitely one of the top 5 rock albums of all time. The ONLY problem that I have with it is the sound of the drums. I am a drummer and Alex VH is one of my all time favorites but the drums sound like tin cans. The bass drum is almost non existent. I don't know if different production techniques would have helped or hurt the overall sound but the drums definitely need a little more bottom end... (Louise Gagliardi)
man this album fukin rocks!!! Eddies insane hammer ons, dive bombs etc revolutionizes the way guitar is played and makes Page, Clapton, Iomma, Kiss look like shit amateurs, which they weren’t, but none of those guys even dreamed of doin insane shit like “on fire” or “eruption” in 1977!! add to that arguably the best front man ever and this album is an easy 10.
Have to agree with Jim K. How you could possibly say they ripped off Tone Loc is completely unforgettable, and unforgivable. This was 1977, Tone Loc was TEN YEATS LATER for chrissakes! If I knew Eddie's E-mail address I would let him catch sight of that ditty! I'm sure he would be none to impressed! Otherwise, fair review. "Ain't Talkin' Bout' Love" is the shit though! Best song on the album, bar none! (Eric D.)
Great debut with a lot of their best songs... less poppy than 1984 and as consistent for the most part as the equally acclaimed Fair Warning... 9/10 then.

I - 9
II - 8
Women n Children - 8
FW - 9
DD - 7
1984 - 9

Van Hagar:

5150 - 6.5
0u812 - 6
FUCK - 5.5
Balance - 6.5

III - dont care
Re: Van Halen's debut album, one of the posters said he doesn't care for "On Fire." I didn't like that song either, until I focused on the guitar part. Not surprising, given who's playing.

Me, on first getting my hands on Fair Warning (which some dumbass actually gave me, the dumbass): "Hmm, this is an okay album. I like the riff on that "Unchained" song."

Me, a year or so later, after trying my hand at a little guitar for a couple of months and then having a friend play "Eruption" for me. First, jaw hits floor, silence for several moments. Then: "Is that just one guy?"
This album helped save American hard rock because the decent American bands of the early to mid 70's like Aerosmith, Alice Cooper, Doobie Brothers, and even Kiss(ugh), were fadeing and with the Lynyrd Skynyrd plane crash, American Rock , was non-existant due mainly to the fad called "Disco". This album as well as the Ramones ,were all America had to offer in the harder edge catagory of rock during 1977-1978 period. When guitarist heard the song"Eruption", they traded in their Gibson Les Paul's made famous by Jimmy Page and other British guitarist , for the lighter Fender copies with the whammy-bar designed to "dive bomb". The album starts off with the metal sludge number "Runnin"with the Devil" followed by "Eruption" and the cover of the Kinks"You really got me",which is actually better than the original."Ain't talkin bout Love" and I'm the One" round out the first side in grand rockin' style. The highlights on side two are "Jamies Cryin', "Atomic Punk", Ice Cream Man", and "On Fire".

Overall I'll give this album a nine because with so much shitty music out before and during this period, this album was a breath of fresh air, but it's not their best.
This is most surely their second best album! It may even be their best, depending in what mood you are or from what angle you look at it.

Because it contains more classics, more accessible material and the same standard of heavyness as Fair Warning. It is however more light-hearted than that record and shows the elements of a band freshly emerging, with an almost immortal feeling of debutant energy! And the clearness of the production!! God damn! It sounds like a band playing in a collosal stadium and the sounds of the masses was faded out in the final recording. There's an impressive echo to Eddie's guitarwork which gives every chord he plays an enormous momentum. They really sound like some kind of high-powered group of rock-mutants from outta space! Or atomic punks like mr Lee Roth puts it!

My favorites here are (logically) running with the devil, ain't talking about love and i'm the one. The perfect debut, like perhaps no band has ever produced a debut, with the possible exceptions of black sabbath or the doors Also the perfect tension span. Every song is pecisely as long as is necessary!
This is one of my all time favorite, and their first album is absolutely the best album ever because I love every one of the songs and I never, ever, skip any one! I'm not so crazy about Eruption, honestly I find it kind of boring, but I don't skip it because I need it as a tease leading to You Really Got Me! Anyway, I had refused to listen to Van Halen after 1984, and reading your reviews, I thought I did a goddamn right thing! Very recently my friend burned every single post-DLR Van Halen CD, and every one of them sucked. The first song in 5150 was good, and I remembered I liked Finish What Ya Started, which I happened to see the video clip on MTV,. But still, please. I said Van Halen was my all time favorite, but the Van Halen I referred to is only with DLR.
"So either way, whether Eddie invented it or not, he certainly exploited it for more cooler-than-shit noises than any other star had done before, so we can at least give him credit for that."

You got a point here. Eddie Van Halen is one of the most inventive and influental guitar players, and maybe the last one who gave world a new approach to the electric guitar. Sure, Jimi Hendrix was the first to completly realize electric guitar's potential and Mr.Van Halen exploited almost everithing that has been left to be exploited. He had a totaly new 'brown' sound, achieved by lowering amp's voltage to get that special, dirty, fat and very responsive overdrive, and he spiced that sound up with various effects(sometimes, unlike other guitarists, he aded effects only for a note or two - check out flangin' on 'Aint talkin' 'bout love' and 'Unchained'). He built his guitar himself from scratch (so called 'Frankenstrat'), and his design was often copied by many guitar manufacturers. Together with guy named Floyd Rose he invented double-locking tremolo(although, he vas never officialy credited for that). In his time(1978), he could play much faster than many other players considered to be 'virtuosos', still, he was not a wanker, and yes, he allways knew how to produce some cool sounds and put them in a right place.

So, what about that infamous tapping technique? That stellar hammer-ons and pull-offs? I know many hardcore Van Halen fans want to believe that he is the one who invented all that stuff, but, well, there's a lot of 'buts' coming up...

You've noticed that Angus Young was using hammer-on technique on AC/DC's cover of 'Baby Please Don't Go'. Well, that's single handed tapping, where guitarist plays simple arpeggio patterns on open strings, using only his left hand and doing whatever with the right... Technique was actually pioneered by Jimmy Page, and he used it on live performances during his extended 'Heartbreaker' solo. It was more a show-off than a regular playing technique, because, when playing that way you are limited on playing only open string patterns, so you can apply it on limited number of keys and chord progressions. Eddie himself says that Jimmy Page's solo inspired him to try to use left hand index finger as a capo, and to add right hand. Moment of genius?

Actually, somebody else came to the same idea, but 7 years before Eddie. Steve Hackett of Genesis(As Daniel A. Brockman noticed). You can find some cool two-handed tapping solos on 'Nursery Crime', 'Foxtrot' and 'Selling England By The Pound' albums. Careful listener will notice similarity between some Steve's and many Eddie's licks. Also, Billy Gibons of ZZ Top has sometimes used bend-and-tap technique, which includes right hand tapping('Beer Drinkers And Hell Raisers' solo, for example). And, Jeff Beck has ocassionaly played tapped harmonics(also credited to EVH) on his mid 70's stuff. Eddie has allways noted Eric Clapton for his main influence. Maybe he was secretly listening to Genesis and ZZ Top(that would explain all those pinch harmonics too, he he), not to mention Beck, Blackmore and so on... That little scum, rippin' off other people's ideas and taking all the credits...

But, the question here is: Why all that famous musicians who came to that ideas before Eddie are not credited and, in the long run, praised, for invention of two-handed tapping? Well, Beck and Gibbons used it just as a little tricks. And, Genesis was never a band that was all about guitar. They were mostly keyboard driven band, with complex arrangement and clever lyrics, and their fans listened to them because they were 'artsy' and 'progressive', and haven't payed too mutch attention on guitar playing. On the other hand, Eddie was sure the first player who made tapping an insepparable part of his playing style. Together with absolutely new sound, crazy dive-bombs, pinch-harmonics and sheer virtuosity, most notable on 'Eruption', it was really a hard sonic assault when I first heard it. I mean, VH1 still sounds stunning, fresh and full of energy, despite production flaws and some weaker tracks. I can only imagine what a sensation it made in '78.

And, to conclude, Eddie Van Halen has maybe stolen some ideas from other people, and took credits for them, but he wasn't just a pale immitator, he actualy managed to blend all influences in one totally inovative playing style that inspired generations of guitarists, and I think that is his greatness.
My brother and I were in Havasu Records one day (I was 6; he was 14) when we heard "Feel Your Love" on the store stereo. He immediately ponied up the cash and bought the record. We listened to it for more than a week straight...and then he discovered Side 1! "Runnin' With The Devil"! "Eruption"! "Ain't 'Talkin' 'Bou't (Mike) L'ove'"! "I'm The One"! "EEEEEERUPTION"!!! We loved this album so much, we (my other brother) even bought the 8-track. Now, that's devotion!

This is one of the albums that changed me forever and cemented my conditional love of Van Halen. This was like the moment when the Beatles first played on The Ed Sullivan show but instead of the TV screen, I only had the record cover and those guys looked like rock gods. Try as we might, my brother (a guitar player) and I couldn't figure out what Eddie was doing that he played with so much kick-assedness. Well, he couldn't figure it out; I was 6, couldn't play guitar yet, and didn't care. All we knew was that Eddie was the best guitar player EVER!

Speaking of misheard Van Halen lyrics, here's a misheard lyric from my archives:
Actual - "Got no love you'd call real."
What I thought # 1 - "Got no love in Korea."
What I thought # 2 - "Got no love in Carillo."
I figured they were rock stars and had been around the Korea and Carillo (wherever that is). I eventually settled on " in Carillo" as the actual lyric because it just didn't sound like Dave said Korea. I was only a little schit. I didn't know! Leave me alone!

This album is a definite 10.

Add your thoughts?

II - Warner Brothers 1979.
Rating = 9

At first, this record seems totally inferior to the debut. For one thing, they're all making really dumb-looking "look at how hard we're rockin'!" faces on the back cover. Plus, aside from the gorgeous "Dance The Night Away" and the ironically dark "Light Up The Sky," most of the songs just don't seem to have much in the way of "hooks." After a couple of listens, howe'er, you discover that that very lack of hooks is somehow part of the album's strength. See, the first album was real herky-jerky, with all these slow songs and a couple of covers in between out and out rockers and, oh, I don't know how to put it. What am I, a WRITER???? HA HA HA HA HA!!!!!!!!

No, but seriously, this second record has a terrific flow to it all the way through. Most of the tracks are upbeat rock and roll party songs (and the ones that aren't at least have a spooky vibe to them - there are no "Feel Your Love Tonight"s on here), and Eddie keeps 'em interesting with his looseleaf finger constructions jigglin' around Mr. Neck all down and in the verse/chorus howdies. Not a single song blows, and "Spanish Fly" features Eddie's hammerin' in the unplugged acoustic realm!!! And let me tell you, John Calvin, them acoustics don't give themselves freely to experimentation! Last Train to Blisterville, anyone?

Reader Comments (Jim Hull)
Hmm. I have to say that I think this album is weaker than a 9. The production is fairly cruddy...especially the drum sound...and I don't see more than 3 or 4 songs worth more than a couple of listens... "Spanish Fly" really sounded awesome back when...Eddie's guitar and DLR's good-natured big-headed jerk persona carried this record...when I was 14, I loved songs like "Bottoms Up!" and "DOA"...and they still kinda rock, but I'd give this album a 6...not enough good stuff...less than mediocre sound... (Dave Weigel)
See Van Halen grow! While this is more like a 7 than a 9, I must admit that VH II is more of a departure from the debut than many would believe. How sneaky this is! The two singles "Dance the Night Away" and "Beautiful Girls" were happy as a Hogan (clap your hands if you get the reference), but the interior is much darker. The singles I mentioned are fantastic, as are "Light up the Sky" and "Bottoms Up". But nothing sticks to your brain like the songs on the first album did. Still, it begins with a freakin' Linda Rondstat cover! Wow! I ask you, would those metal hipsters KoRn cover Linda Rondstat? Hell no!

Greg B.
Buy It.
Not as much growth as I would've expected. Still, a good listen.
It really IS one of their crappiest recordings, and for most of the album even Dave seems restrained. Plus the album cover is a laff and a half! But it still beats the crapola out of 90% of the Sammy stuff, so anyone who wants to get into VH should snatch this sucka up...AFTER Van Halen, Fair Warning, 1984, Women and Children First, Diver Down, and Best of Volume 1, of course!
I saw a picture of Van Halen in a rehearsal studio during this period. The room was littered with Jack Daniels bottles, beer cans, and other garbage. When I hear this album I always think of that picture and how much fun those fuckers must have been having. It shows on the record, listen to "Bottom's Up", or "Beautiful Girls". This album also contains Alex's best drum lick--one kick, one ride on the break of "Outta Love Again". I've drank 1,000 beers to this album, and I'll drink 1,000 more!! (Joe)
One of the top three albums of the 6 David lee Roth V.H. albums.not a bad track on here except the 1 cover tune.Dance The Night Away is a classic Somebody Get Me A Doctor is a fun song ,Bottom's Up has nice singing Outta Love is the only downer side two is the better side Light up The Sky smokes ,DOA is one of the best VH songs ever I love that riff and Dave's vocals are great also,Women In Love is great playing by eddie and some nice harmony singing by Mike and Eddie the final song is a VH classic.A 8 rating
first of, hey Weigelda, your no good is NOT a linda rondstat song..hello? it was written by Clint Ballard Jr., way back in the day. she covered it, but it was not hers. dude, dont EVER mention Korn along side Van Halen.

please.....Anyway, this is one the best follow ups in rock, period, Screw the sophomore jinx!! The songs here groove. Dance the night away and Beautiful girls show their versatility...Light up the Sky is rockin, as is bottoms up and the oft overlokked Out of love Again!!!

Spanish Fly is a mindboggling, amazing display of virtuosity, Played on a nylon string classical guitar, this shut EVERYONE UP who thought ed couldnt do it on acoustic....Overall, another great album that kept them on top......must have.... (Ian Moss)
Well, when I first listened to this album I thought it was terrible--possibly even worse than Diver Down. But now that I think about it after having listened to it some more, there are really only two veritable suckjobs among the track listing: "Bottoms Up" and "Women In Love." Every other song is at least decent, but there aren't really any standouts like on the debut except for "Beautiful Girls." ("DOA" is pretty awesome too, I guess.) Like Aerosmith's Toys in the Attic and Rocks, and Yes's Close to the Edge and Relayer, there are some parallels between this album and the one that came before it. You've got "Spanish Fly," which is II's "Eruption" (but not as cool because it's acoustic and it's shorter); you've got "You're No Good" which is equivalent to "You Really Got Me" (but again not as cool); "Out of Love" and "Atomic Punk," I guess....okay, this isn't really going anywhere after all. But I do think, unlike Mark, that this is essentially a weaker version of the debut album. I dunno, I'd give it a 7 or so.
Good record, but slightly inferior to the debut IMHO. "Beautiful Girls", "Dance The Night Away" (favorite song on the record), and "Woman In Love" are the classics on this album, and "You're No Good", "Light Up the Sky" also rock major ass as well. "Spanish Fly" is amazing! How in fuck does Eddie go so fast like that on an acoustic!? Anyways, this gets a 8.5 from me. (Rob Raymer)
a great follow up partly because they didnt mimic the first album. eddies solo in outta love again is a monster he so easily came up with in those days its easy to overlook. the intro to women in love is nothing short of genious
With a little change in their pockets , due to the sales of their debut album, and some exposure to larger audiences in arenas and coliseums, as an opening act for Black Sabbath, Van Halen's second album is full of tracks that would sound the same when played live, with the one exception being the acoustic number "Spanish Fly". The opening two tracks "You're No Good" and the top 40 hit "Dance the Night Away" are ok, but the album picks up some steam with "Somebody Get Me A Doctor" and it's whoo-whoo chorus before eddie's guitar solo, followed by the track"Bottoms' Up", which is the old expression said before downing a full drink, and is also used as a sexual phrase by Mr. Roth in this song as he sings the line "I'm singing,I'm dancing, most every night" right before he say's Bottoms' up. Side one finishes with ""Out of Love" and the steady snare beat provided by Alex Van Halen carries this blistering cut throughout its duration. Side two begins with "Light up the Sky" with some screaming guitar work and nice harmony on the chorus that ends the song. The acoustic cut "Spanish Fly" is another solo by Eddie that leaves the listener speechless. The next song is titled "DOA", which means Dead on Arrival in the medical field, but the band sings Dead or Alive during the song. This is somewhat ironic because David Lee Roth has been an Emergency Medical Technician as one of his occupations.This cut "smokes" throughout and especially near the end when the tempo of the song gets faster and faster until David Lee does some yelling . "Women in Love" is an average filler, but the closer on the album "Beautiful Girls" is perfect especially as it's fading out and you hear the lines "I love em', I, need em', can"t live without em',.No!"Aahh Yeah Beautiful Girls" then you hear the sound of a kiss and it's over. After this release the whole world is aware of the power of Van Halen. I would like to give it a "10", but there's something lacking and I can't put my finger on it. It's definately a "9"though.
"DOA" really should have been the album opener here, but all of the songs have SOMETHING to offer. It's certainly the least essential of the six DLR era Van Halen albums, but it's still pretty damn good. Actually, on second thought, Eddie's greatest riffs are on here.

Add your thoughts?

Demo Daze - Bootleg.
Rating = 9

Another awesome bootleg! This includes a few of the tracks from that other one I mentioned, along with AWESOME early demos of "Fools," "Ice Cream Man," "Runnin' With The Devil," "Take Your Whiskey Home" (with harmony vocals!), "In A Simple Rhyme" and a song called "House Of Pain" that doesn't seem to bear much resemblance to the song on 1984, but fans will LOVE the fact that the song includes several breaks of weird backwards car horn noises that finally, when the song ends, segue directly into, YOU GUESSED IT!, "Runnin' With The Devil." I guess the two songs were originally meant to go together. Good stuff - find it, buy it, and burn that awful, awful picture of Eddie on the front.

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Women And Children First - Warner Brothers 1980.
Rating = 9

Had this album been a retread of II, well then we'd be witnessing some depressing stagnation, but it haint. All eight of these tracks (I know they'd like you to think that it's NINE, but if that fifteen-second tape loop "Tora! Tora!" is a SONG, then I'm a man without a sixteen-inch penis) have individual personalities all their own!!!! They ebb, they flow, they rock and row!!!!

Okay, the classics are the keyboard-and-phaser-pedal-enhanced "And The Cradle Will Rock..." and the jungle-thumping sex orgy "Everybody Wants Some!!," but both "Loss Of Control" and "Romeo Delight" tear along at a headbangingly chugglin' tempo, "Fools" swings and grooves like a really pissed-off boogie dinosaur, "Take Your Whiskey Home" gives these guys the heads up on blooooooooooooooooooooooooozeboys ZZ Top, "In A Simple Rhyme" is a beautiful pop song (Eddie could WRITE a dang song when he wanted to!), and "Could This be Magic?" is, well, at least cute. For the first time, the homeys weren't afraid to go covertuneless, and thank goody for that, 'cuz I shudder at the thought of weaving through my unpredictable everydays lacking even a one of these fine youth anthems. Dave sounds superconfident as he pulls you into his sex and booze world of rock 'n' fashion, and those Van Halen siblings, mister, well, they won't let you down!!!! At least... not for another decade or so.... Party hearty! Surf's up! Welcome to our OOL!

Reader Comments

Greg B.
Another Halen classic. I prefer Fair Warning, but this one has a fair batch of songs cooking, and the playing...
Some interesting Eddie riffs and Diamond Dave vocal effects keep this record a bit above total mediocrity.
Don't be so hard on "Tora! Tora!" It's closer to FORTY SECONDS in length! But seriously, it's several times better than VHII, though it's too dang short! Eight original (and for the most part, short) songs and a side two tape loop opener makes you want more, y'know? Especially on "Fools", that song coulda been the PERFECT reverb wankfest if Dave and Eddie cared 'nuff too...I wish I coulda seen 'em live to see what heights they took that song before the split.
"I'm takin' whiskey to the party tonight and I'm lookin' for somebody to squeeze..." -- David Lee Roth---1980

"I'm takin' my hairpiece to the party tonight and I'm lookin' for somebody to recognize me" -- David Lee Roth----1998

Dave was cool, What happened??
Dont worry about Dave. Read his autobiography and you will realize who lost. Not him, but Van Halen. He does whatever he wants whenever he wants. Van Halen is nothing shy of a corporation now. They cant shake their dick without consulting with three different lawyers and managers.

viva 1979
A toss up between this and Best of Vol. 1. A hard choice. I didn't see this in the bin, so I grabbed BOV1 and went for the register. I asked if they had WACF, they did. Damn. After battling with myself and the track list to BOV1, I went back in and did an exchange, using the in-store credit to help afford the Kids Are Alright movie.


You know, listening to the lyrics to this and Diver Down made me realize. =VH= isn't really JUST a party hearty band, MTV videos and Sammy's ignorance helped solidify that =VH=ical stereotype. But these lyrics are actually pretty strong. I mean, the subjects are complex.

Anyway, music. The first two songs rock like a motherfuck. And The Cradle Will Rock is just awesome, and of course blasts all of Spammy's ballads and rock tunes to pieces, because it fits reality so well. Well they say it's kinda frightening how this younger generation swings, you know it's more than just some new sensation. The kid is into losing sleep, and he don't come home for half the week, y'know it's more than just an aggrivation. -screamingly scream-

Let's see Sammy come up with something like that. Sorry, but that's hard to do when you're some fucking adult contemporary act, churning out worthless Air Supply ballads thanks to the best guitar player on Earth, you fat fucking poodle haired pussy.

Er... 15 second Tora loop? I hear a 40 second intro to Loss of Control (which again destroys Sammy's rock songs). So I consider it a song. Could This Be Magic is indeed cute, and at least is better and more appitizing than So This Is Love. And HOLY SHIT ROMEO DELIGHT IS FASTER THAN A NEURON. And heavier than a grand piano.

Too bad Dave's just a fucking junkie who, when not attempting to scam his way into =VH= again, is busy writing more hilaious rape jokes for his horrible CT casino tour dates to interject during the show. Fuck that queertasm.

Yes, queertasm. An item of some type that works as a queerness modifier. It raises one's queernacity statistic by +1.

And yea, no covers. Neat. (Ian Moss)
See, I disagree with the decision on Mr. Prindle's part to recommend all of Van Halen's first six albums equally. In my mind, there are three truly great albums that are in the 9/10 range (I, Fair Warning, and 1984), and then three pretty good albums that I wouldn't give more than an 8 (II, this one, and Diver Down). Sure, the hits on W&CF are bodelicous (?), but they're a little lacking in comparison to "Beautiful Girls," "Panama" and the like. And then some of these other ones are pretty cruddy. "Romeo Delight" is okay, but I find "Fools" really annoying. "Loss of Control" is a lame half-assed take on an old song concept, and "Tora! Tora!" is barely worth mentioning. But the last three are very strong.

In conclusion I state that the bookends of the album are good but the middle is not so good. Thank you very much, Mrs. Zimmerman, I hope I get an A for this album review!!!
Great album, but in my mind is inferior to Fair Warning and Van Halen I. "Could This Be Magic" and "Everybody Wants Some" are probably my favorites on the album. The rest kick delightful ass in their own way, but Fair Warning kicks even more ass. Definatly a great record though. A very very high 8. (Rob Raymer)
im sure im in the minority on this but for me the the third album is the best. it simply has all the elements that made the original vh the best vh.its heavy of course but with a lighter feel to it and and its a snapshot of the group on top and enjoying its prime while still hungry.
After the first two Van Halen album,I could hardly wait for their next to come out.It came out in the spring of 1980 and I snatched it up as soon as it hit the shelf. What I like about this one is the fact that none of the songs were written as hit wannabees and Warner Brothers wasn't about to put the pressure on their current cash cow. Van Halen was fast becoming the biggest concert show in America, especially with the record buying youth. Their live shows were going to sell records, not just singles. This album seemed a little rushed because it is a little short in length, even the song "Fools", seems extended a couple of minutes by hitting the same chords over and over at the end, but the song kicks ass double-time.Van Halen was going to put out an album on their terms and they didn't give in as they had to on the previous two records.Their hit "And The Cradle will Rock" is a perfect teenage angst cut ,with memorable parts like David Lee saying"Have you seen juniors' grades?" right before Eddies solo. Another good line from David Lee "I kinda like the way the lines run up the back of the stockings, I kinda like those high heels too, no no no, don't take em' off, don't take em' off" appears in the following cut "EverybodyWants Some" This awesome cut is followed by "Fools" which begins with some impressive guitar work from Eddie. The next track "Romeo Delight", was their show opener for the next couple of tours as well as the Diver Down tour, all of which I witnessed."Loss of Control" is a pioneer of the term "Speed Metal", it is like being on a roller coaster."Take Your Whiskey Home" is another gem. I like to sing the title track when the moon is full "You got to get your head right, there's a full moon out tonight , baby let's begin""could this be majic? and so on..

I love this album, but the one complaint is the length, so it gets an "8"

Add your thoughts?

* Fair Warning - Warner Brothers 1981. *
Rating = 10

On this one, I proudly stand alone. Many a critic and fan have called this album a "misstep" or "goose egg" or "not a very good record," but it is easily my favorite of this band's many fine records. Every record they made with David Lee Roth should be considered a guitar rock classic, and I love them all, but I cannot deny that I find this underappreciated gem to be the tiniest bit more interesting than the others. And why? 'CAUSE IT'S SO FRIGGIN' DARK!!!!

Party hearty band? Why the hell would a party hearty band cover an album sleeve in grotesque drawings of child murders, street fights, and disturbing sculptures? Furthermore, why the corinthians would same such party hearty band envelop all of its formerly light-hearted sex and booze interests in song themes so ugly and distressing that the average listener can't help but feel...well, bad about life when the album's over! How adorable is it when mommy's little girl winds up starring in "Dirty Movies"? How can we whistle and leer along with the fellas in the song when that darned Dave keeps shouting, "GO SEE BABY NOW!!!!!!" And why are all of our good-time vices now being referred to as the "Sinner's Swing?" And what about all the angry fighting imagery of "Mean Street," "Push Comes To Shove," "Unchained," and "One Foot Out The Door?" I mean, for the sake of criminy, the first spoken words on the album are "At night I walk these stinkin' streets past the crazies on my block." Yeesh! Fair Warning indeed!

But see, it's not just the lyrics that are aggressive; the music paints a pretty darn dismal picture of the world, too. Aside from the questionable "Sinner's Swing!" and the straightforward (and godlike) pop anthem "So This Is Love?," not a one of these melodies is filled with glee. The opening guitar solo is an insanely speedy hammer-on that soon fades away into the funky Aerosmith-esque bitter pill to swallow that is "Mean Streets" and the mood don't much pick up from there. "Hear About It Later" may give you goosebumps, but they're gonna be melancholy goosebumps, not that sissy happy brand of goosebumps you've come to associate with Beatles VI. And "Push Comes To Shove" may be disco, but it's about the least uplifting disco this side of paradise, F. What else? Oh! The classic "Unchained" has the toughest opening riff of probably any Halen tune of all, thanks to some stutter chops and a sick phaser pedal, and finally, the two teensy closing tracks, "Sunday Afternoon In The Park" and "One Foot Out The Door" represent Eddie's growing fascination with keyboards, sure, but if you can find me an angrier pre-'82 keyboard song than these two fuzzy growlers, please inform me. I'd like to ask its hand in marriage.

Actually, now that I think about it, Throbbing Gristle might have had a couple of songs this disturbed - but probably none that kicked this much ass!!!! So go ahead, write off this album just like everybody else if you want to, but if you give it a chance, you might discover that it's one of the most totally Fuqdup hard rock albums youse'r gonna hear, rear.

Reader Comments (Jim Hull)
I'd pretty much agree with this, except for a couple of things...I think the VH guys were probably seeing a couple of rumblings in Cali of the harcore scene starting, and maybe got "more adventurous" with their subject matter...but I never bought David Lee "walk(ing) the city streets past the crazies on my block"...maybe in 1975...DLR didn't WALK anywhere by this time...he took a limo...that kind of turned on the affect-o-meter in me brain...but wow...some really cool sounding git-tar. And the keyboards do far as "angry keyboard" songs pre-82, I'm glad Mark made his addendum to the original review...sound-wise, these WERE the angriest, but almost anything lyrically on This Year's Model by E. Costello is the epitome of RAGE in a keyboard song...this is a good record, though...and it is VH's most adventurous... (Tim Eimiller)
You are not alone. Fair Warning is undoubtedly VH's best. It's actually a real ALBUM, not ear candy. But, sheesh, are you generous in sprinkling stars on this ear candy. Why so many nines? The Who's best records blow this stuff away, but you don't rank 'em that way. Boy, when am I going to stop, eh? Are you seeing the error of your ways yet? :)

Greg B.
This is a remarkably great album from start to finish. A must-have for anyone with 10 dollars. (James Vincent Debevec II)
Everybody I know loves this album and ranks it as #1 or #2 for VH.
Superb guitar tone and many creative arrangements make this collection stand out more than previous recordings.
Right on! The VH crew become mad, bad, and dangerous to know! And you can tell some thought went into the bass lines! My, what a lot of exclamation points! But this album is too damn good to get anything less. Buy it on LP. Buy it on cassette. Buy it on 8-track. Buy it on CD. Buy the frig outta this one, boys and girls. It'll KO the lowliest scummball Van Hagar-only fan...them 8-track tapes are pretty hard when applied with proper force to soft skulls.
Fair Warning is my favorie VH album...When I was listening to "'Dirty Movies'" in my dorm room my neighbors heard the guitar and screamed at me to "stop your whistling." Too bad they didn't know it was a guitar! An easy ten, but hurry up and review VAN HALEN III and every David Lee Roth record so you can see how good solo Dave is and how worthy of 1s the band formerly known as Van Halen is. As I've read off the web, VH should change their name to a of a guy getting stabbed in the back. (Joe)
one of VanHalen's most underated albums Hear about it later and Sinners Swing are great songs the first mentioned song has one of VH"s best melodies ever.Mean Streets has some of Dave's best lyrics ever Unchained and So this is love are great too.some of Dave's best singing and ed's playing ever a 10 so this album didn't have any hits big deal by this time VanHalen had already proved itself.I have an out of print Van Halen special magazine in 1982 where the band said they wanted to make an album as good as this or better to bad will never know why could'nt Dave and the band just put aside there problems and just make ass kicking music again something the Gary Cherone Van Halen can never prove. (H.V.C.)
I got it for about $13 a month or so ago. I think this was the very last album I've bought up until today.

Well, what else could tide me over? $13 for this shiny, multicolored 600+ meg collection of the greatest digital information ever. $13 is a bit cheap for this album, but I personally think our Government should make it regulated that along with a SS number, every newborn should get a prepackaged copy of Fair Warning, not to be opened until either (which ever comes first): They reach age 18 / their IQ reaches about 150 / whenever they can appreciate a recording of this magnitude.

I mean, it's on slightly higher par than VH 1 or 1984, but most retarded rock critics say that this album wasn't any good, plus the fact that it didn't sell very well. But rock critics love Britney Spears and the majority of the record buying public loves Korn. So us hard rock fans will have to remain underground, with our piped in Fair Warning and Powerage in our dug-in caves. Waiting to take hard rock to the masses. While Metallica, Megadeth, and AC/DC remain top-side to be trashed by metal-posers.

One Foot Out The Door sounds like DLR did all the vocals in one breath. Just one fast never-ending song. Awesome.

And at first, I was wondering.... "Dark? This album isn't dark. Sinner's Swing(!) and So This Is Love(?) are both very happy, dancy tunes." But looking at it now, those are the ONLY two happy tunes. Other than Dirty Movies, since "everything turns out alright."

Unchained is a big radio staple over in Detroit still. And it's really one of the VH classics, but it's not as good as Hear About It Later or Dirty Movies. The keyboards are still not poppy and swingy yet. They are indeed angry keyboards. They hate the world. The guitar on this album is obviously top-notch on the dial of all-time greatest guitar sounds. There's also a very nice production to this album. When I first bought it, I was a bit disappointed with Unchained's real production (the radio makes it sound different). It sounded a bit more hollow. The liner notes for my CD says that this album was produced with a "more open ended sound, like the live shows." And at first I figured that it was a bad thing. But now that I think about it, the unrehearsed sound it pretty enjoyable after several listens. Hearing DLR and the backup vocals simultaneously sing different lyrics to the Mean Street chorus is very interesting. The lyrics are also pretty crafty in their formation. There's long strings of vocals in certain parts (i.e., Push Comes To Shove) just after the chorus. I guess that's what musicians call "arrangement." I dunno. Primo album. Genius. Any band can only hope to make the Fair Warning of their career. And they can also hope it'll sell more.
Guys, that TONE....Lord strike that poor boy down!!!!!! this is the shit....the album opens with an insane hammer happy intro that almost dares you to try and keep then burst into the classic Mean Street...what a classic song. kicks much ass. other songs like Sinners Swing and dirty movies also slam hard, and it..the oft overlooked So this is love? is great. and push comes to shove, with a lil reggae type beat, style is very good. But goddamn, Unchained.....

I still get goosebumps hearing this album, and especially that song....Come on Dave, gimme a break!!! Anyhow, real music and van halen fans know this, along with the first album and 1984, completes the trilogy of classics.....i mean i love all their albums, but damn, Fair Warning is one of my must own this..even dweezil zappa says he still puts this one on nowadays when he wants to hear great rock!!!
I actually completely agree. I love this album. And largely because of it's dark undertones give it an "edge" that no other VH album has. And Eddie was in the fuckin' zone this album. The openings to "Unchained" and "Mean Street" are both unbelievable. Check out the KILLER riffs during the verses of "Dirty Movies". I've heard Eddie say in an interview that he gets chills up his spine when he listens to his guitar work on this album. And I agree. The darkness and Eddie's guitar makes this album an underappreciated gem and likely VH's finest hour. (Ed Strelecky)
Yes my favorite VH record of all time by far...

I think according to things I've seen over the years all of their albums were recorded pretty much live up until Fair Warning-definitely this one was with just a couple of overdubs. That explains why the guitar and bass were panned hard left and right. (I think that was Ted Templeman's idea) At the time Eddie was all in love with it but I saw that much later he decided it sucked. He decided that about a lot of things...

I actually always thought Michael Anthony was a good bass player-he just had to be really in the pocket and minimal when playing with the brothers Van Halen...I agree with whoever said "On Fire" and "Atomic Punk" are the stand-outs...Totally rippin' (Ian Moss)
Well, Meeester Mark Prindle and friends, you've really done it this time. I must pay homage to your site and your reeeeviews, because they have enriched my life as it exists today. There have been quite a few instances since I discovered your webpage in which I went out and bought albums at least partly on the recommendation of this site. Some of these ventures were successful (Aerosmith's Permanent Vacation, Yes's Keys to Ascension and Relayer, Radiohead's The Bends), some not so great (Pink Floyd's A Saucerful of Secrets, Jethro Tull's Living in the Past), as one would expect. However, this is the first time that I sallied forth and got an album that I NEVER would have touched had it not been for your glowing review and the enthusiastic seconds of your readership: namely, Van Halen's Fair Warning. And so help me God, I am so thoroughly blown away that I can hardly stand up.

It's not just the darkness of the album (although that does increase its allure). It's that for once (well, twice if you count the debut), Eddie and co. filled an album from start to end with actual SONGS rather than drunken attempts at outrageousness. Even when Dave goes nuts like on "'Dirty Movies,'" it has an air of legitimacy to it because a) it's ironic and b) the song has a lot going for it than just Dave acting like a dumbass. When I compare these songs to those on II, I can't help but laugh...I'm not sure quite how to explain except to say that there's a tightness of writing that is not at all present on II or Diver Down. No song goes on too long and more importantly, no song is allowed to drag at any point. Eddie doesn't settle for simplicity or anything ho-hum.

And yeah, the guitar. It's not just the tone, but it's the riffs, the SOLOS that distinguish this one. So relentlessly interesting, and above all INTENSE! This is thus far the best guitar work on a VH album that I've heard. I still think that the debut is a slightly superior album, only because it has an innocent infectiousness that Fair Warning lacks, but in terms of straight technical chops this is a towering monument to guitar fireworks. And the keyboards don't mess around, either! The only song that really sticks out like a sore thumb to me is "So This Is Love," precisely because it's way too happy for the rest of the album--it's really not that bad a song on any other album. "Sinner's Swing" is also a little bit below the level of the rest of the album. But there are so many standouts--"Mean Streets," "'Dirty Movies,'" "Push Comes to Shove," "Hear About it Later"....they're all great!

Well, thank you, Meeeeester Mark Prindle and friends, for showing me the DARK!!

Ha, I made a funny. (John Cable)

That pretty much describes the essence of this album. This is probably one of the greatest rock albums ever, not because it's overly bombastic, or reaching for some kind of bizarre level of "rock as art," but just because the rock and roll is so pure. The singer, screaming. The guitar, blasting. Drums... DRUMMING!!!!!!!1111232131

I have a friend who really hates Van Halen. My brother and I listened to I think Diver Down, or Wymuuyn and Children First in his car with him, and while we were rocking out, he was probably in his own personal hell. He said he hated the way DLR sings. My brother and I both lost respect for him in our own ways. Sure he's our friend, and we've known him for a long time, and we still like him, but come on. DLR is just a crazy screamy guy. No one should take rock that seriously. Besides, if you can't realize that what he does with his voice is some kind of gift, then you just can't see.

Also our friend loved Air Force One, and couldn't stand to watch Pi.

Anyway, Dave's screaming, especially on this album, is at some sort of peak. I don't know if it's even the best in his career, but it's some of the best shit I've heard, other than his screaming on all the other VH albums, or perhaps Slayer, or anything Devin Townsend ever does. (Chuck T)
Right on. A killer album. I'd go so far as to say that "Unchained" contains the most colossal opening riff in the history of music. I get goosebumps every time I hear it. (David Armstrong)
I agree with you, this has always been my favourite Van Halen album, a stonker and then some. (John)
A little known band named Talas, which like myself, hails from Buffalo NY, opened for VH on the Woman/Children Tour. They were so good, VH had to kick them off the bill. Talas's bass player, a guy named Billy Sheehan. Word is, Eddie and DLR were so anamoured with Billy's playing that there was serious discussions to drop the ballast bass player Mike Anthony in favor of Billy. Alex was the lone dissenter and the fat man stayed on board.

So in relation to Fair Warning being a dark, angry album, I chalk it up to possible tensions within the band about replacing MA. Also one thing I've noticed is that the bass playing on this album is Mike's best with the band. Coincidence? When Roth went solo, who was his 1st and only choice for bass guitar? Billy Sheehan.
I absolutely love this record! It ranks among the finest heavy metal albums of all time! Forget about boring metallica or predictable sepultura, this is why Van Halen in the Dave lee roth period rocked!!

And I mean rocked with a mean streak! For this, as Mark allready said in his review, is also their most dark record and least accessible for the people only listening to hit radio stations and only knowing van Halen for their "jump" single or the shameful period after Diamond Dave departed and clean-shaven Hagar stepped in. Thank god for that! Because for the people truely liking adventure and menancing gitar riffs at the sharpest of the edge, this is a must-buy record! My favorite track is i think the first right off! Mean streets has a killer riff, a brilliant intro (with typical Eddie Van Halen fingerwork) and some mean grunts and yells from mr Lee Roth, who sounds bitter and angry on this record and not like the friendly ol' partyhardy he became later on.

Freakin' masterpiece! Something America can be proud of!
Back when I was in the military, stationed in San Diego, I used to go visit friends in Yorba Linda, Ca. Now, I dont know if this story is bullshit or what, but I like it anyway. I had a friend WHO SWORE TO GOD, that his Mom went to the same high school as Eddie and Alex Van Halen. He said his mom used to go out with Eddie, either when she was in school or shortly after her high school years. This dude was telling me that she had sex with Eddie in a park and that his mom was the inspiration for the song, "Sunday afternoon in the park". True? I dont know, but he seemed to mean it. This album is my favorite Van Halen record for all the musical reasons other people mention.

Add your thoughts?

Diver Down - Warner Brothers 1982.
Rating = 9

Because everybody in the world besides me is stupid and thus Fair Warning was a commercial failure, Diamond Dave convinced the boys to mine the "cover tunes" emporium to a degree that would be darned near offensive if the band hadn't done such a great job with all the ol' tunes. The Kinks' "Where Have All The Good Times Gone," Roy Orbison's "(Oh) Pretty Woman," Martha And The Vandella's (or whoever the hell did it's) "Dancing In The Streets," Roy Rogers and Dale Evans's "Happy Trails," and that legendary Jack Yellen/Milton Ager smash hit "Big Bad Bill (Is Sweet William Now)" all get the VH workover on this party hearty release. What's that, like fifty covers?

Aaaah, why complain? The covers are fun and the few originals that there are are incredible! "The Full Bug" and Hang 'Em High" do that speedy punk-esque thing that the boys have proven themselves so adept at, "Secrets" and "Little Guitars" are darling pop songs (the latter featuring a totally bitchin' hammer-on goodtime riff), and the three instrumentals are just a bit more proof that Mr. Edward Van Halen is by far the greatest rock guitarist of our generation; the intro to "Little Guitars" is Spanish classical exxxtasy, "Intruder" is bonus ass psychedelic metal noise, and "Cathedral" is... well, is that in fact a guitar? If it IS a guitar, it's the most impressive speed-keyboard imitation I've ever heard. If it's a keyboard, then Eddie's becoming a fargin' virtuoso or some crap. Either way, the song is prettier than a lovely cinnamon smell.

The happy-faced mirror image of Fair Warning, this record will spruce up any party with beer and sex. Buy it, frigger.

Reader Comments (Jim Hull)
Yes, almost very offensive...and almost lazy...if it took more than a weekend and Eddie pilfering through old practice tapes to put this together, I'd be surprised...but what difference does *that* make? (he asks rhetorically)...they should be ashamed, but it's a guilty pleasure nonetheless..."...Good Times Gone?"...can't beat it!

Greg B.
A Step Down.
Normally an album with five covers tells me artistic creativity has hit a low. However, after receiving some VAN HALENIZATION, these tunes have a new fun life. Coupled with some new found creativity in "Cathedral", "Secrets", and "Little Guitars", this album stands very tall.
Y'know, the boys shoulda just added a few more covers to this thing, kept "Cathedral" on, and made it an EP. THEN they could have stuck the four original songs from here on 1984 (which came out one short year later), which I feel coulda made it the PERFECT VH listening experience, and also a way to push one of their albums past the "nine tracks @ 30+ minutes" mark. Anyone agree?
"Cathedral" is a guitar. The effect is created by adding an echo, and using the volume knob of the guitar to "swell" in the notes, masking the picking noise. The echo or "delay" time is set the same as David Gilmour's "Brick in the Wall". (Ian Moss)
Yeah, WAY overrated! First of all, although the idea of having half the album be covers is suspect at best, the covers are actually the best songs on here. I bought this album for "Intruder/Pretty Woman" and "Dancing in the Street," and was shocked to find that there's literally NOTHING else on this album that's even halfway decent. I'm not normally one to say, "I can't BELIEVE you gave this such-and-such a rating," but I'm sorry, I can't BELIEVE you gave this the same rating as VH1. I mean, here's a 31-minute album, half of which is filler. Jesus. Anyway, I give it a 6 on the strength of those two cover songs, which, admittedly, are awesome.

By the way, I forgot to mention something in my VH1 review: I took a class last year called "American Popular Music Since 1945" (ain't college great?), and my professor said that in "Eruption," Eddie quoted extensively from Bach violin etudes!!! I don't know if that's true (this guy was known to be rather, uh...."misinformed" on occasion), but if it is, that's SO UNBELIEVABLY COOL I can't even find words for it other than "SO UNBELIEVABLY COOL!" (Josh Cable)
Yes, another excellent album by VH, that happens to deserve a big fat 9.

These covers are all excellent. I remember the first time I heard Where (Have All the), I thought it was too bland and perhaps maybe even not a good song. But I love the lyrics.

That would be the only song I thought was perhaps not worth adding to the album. But now I don't mind. It's not a bad song.

The rest of this album is fucking awesome. And yea, that's a guitar on Cathedrul. Pretty fucking awesome.
Diver down is necessary to compliment the Van Halen character. It is the dill pickle in the club sandwich. Hard rocking get up and dance tunes. Good fun songs inbetween Ain't talkin' about love and Mean streets. (Rob Raymer)
great record and a good example of what made the original vh so enjoyable.they could always kick ass but the real magic was that they always seemed to be having fun.
A little correction on the "Cathedral" technique. Yes, guitar with echo, and swelling the volume in and out, but volume out doesn't mask picking sounds - he doesn't use a pick at all on this. He hammers everything, even the opening chord forms, then kicks on the echo and hammers individual notes. Interesting note - live, he also had a fold-out plexiglass stand on the back of his guitar that he propped on his hip so it was out in front of him like a keyboard - and fucking played it like that, without his hand wrapped around the neck! Kinda like Jeff Healey does on his lap. See him live if you can - he kicks ass too.

This album is just as kick ass as any other VH album - innovative guitar work! "The Full Bug" f'in' jams, and "Intruder" screams like a banshee with a red-hot poker up its ass! (John)
The boys didn't want to even put out a 1982 album. They wanted to take a break from touring and Eddie wanted to bang the shit out of then new wifey Valerie. Warner Brothers demanded an album. So this was their Fuck You to the record company. Hence the weak compositions and cover tunes.

However on the bright side, it did give contain Little Guitars- easily one the top 5 best Halen tunes in my book. (Matt)
I've been trying to find out for years what is causing the feedback/echo effect on Dancing in the streets. I think it is fantastic.
hi i like diver down because of the world beatish sounds and that pico,pico,pico street,carnival soundon keyboards is that a hamond b2 or b3 who is the back up singers its not dave or mike and eddie together it sounds like a session musician keyboards on dancing and that long drawn out note sound on intruder with the horse winowing sound and little guitars like pretty woman but needed - needs a more better solo they should of done ooby dooby to
This album sucks, in my opinion. For the main reason that the songwriting on here is really horrible, then again it's never been david lee roth's strongpoint. Good frontman, but horrible songwriter. Considering the amount of cover songs on this, it's obvious that their songwriting really started to slip here. I mean, for example the song little guitars: does that song make any kind of sense whatsoever? I really doubt it. By the way in regards to lazik's comment on this, thanks for your disgusting comment on diver down. If you don't have anything constructive to say , don't comment on stuff.

Add your thoughts?

1984 - Warner Brothers 1983.
Rating = 9

This is the one that made them MTV stars. The sound is HUGE - instant arena rock right there on your crappy pissant little record player. Big drums, big guitars, big vocals, big keyboards, big baby smoking a cigarette - this one's pretty thumbs up, if you ask my ass. The hits were "Jump," "Panama," "Hot For Teacher," and "I'll Wait," all of which make me break out in hives of whimsy every time I crank 'em up on the ol' Victrola. Dave's vocals are just lovely on "Jump" - I love when he goes "You've got to RO-WO-WOLL with the punches!" Still party hearty. Plus, Eddie's still impressin' the chicks with his cool hair, cute drunken smile, and lightning fingers. All is fine in the world. Sigh.

I almost gave this one the ten but then I realized that "Drop Dead Legs" sounds like a Sammy Hagar song. The rest of 'em, though, are "tubular," as the kids say. Let me specifically point out the cool harmonics-floopin' intros to "Girl Gone Bad" and "Top Jimmy." Let me also clap my hands at that ENORMOUS guitar riff that opens up "Panama." And finally, let me flip somebody the bird for allowing Dave to leave the band shortly after the album's release.

Plus, it really pisses me off how the band photo on the back is upside down!!! I mean, I have to flip the fucking thing over any time I wanna look at the band members!!!! It makes me SO FUCKING MAD!!!!!! I COULD FUCKING RIP YOUR FUCKING SKULL OUT OF YOUR HEAD AND CRUSH IT TO DUST BETWEEN MY FINGERTIPS!!!!!

Reader Comments (Jim Hull)
Great record. So catchy it's like torture to hear "Panama" for the 10,000th time on the radio, but it comes on and you just let it play...again...

Greg B.
Is this their best? It might be. The keyboards added something to the mix, and didn't yet drown it. (James Vincent Debevec II)
I remember buying this album on Jan 6 of 1984, the day it was released. I was very psyched for this album and listened to it 9 times in a row in a vain attempt to get into it. It didn't happen. This album is WAY overrated. Not a classic in the bunch. Stick to their first 4 albums.
Mark, you badly overrated this one. That filler piece at the beginning is slightly annoying and the last two numbers just reek. Turn the 9 upside down for the real grade. (Robert Linus Koehl)
I think I owned a copy of this when I was like 8 years old. It was ok, but now I can't stand listening to it.
Absolutely beautiful. I just wish there were a few more songs, and that the last track could have a little more meat to it. It's kind of depressing when you consider they churned this quality album out in less than a year, and then started taking their sweet time devoting their talents to the beck and call of Shitty Hagar a few short years later. But kudos for it since it's VH's most original and realistic album. (Daniel Schmidt)
I must agree totally with your reviews of the first 6 VH albulms. All the Van Halen albulms up to and including this kicked so much total ass. Fair Warning is the best albulm, followed by 1984. However, when Hagar came on the scene, IMHO they turned to absolute shit. The David Lee Roth solo albulms are also unreal, especially as they do not degrade in the guitar area with Steve Vai playing (one of the greatest guitarists ever). (H.V.C.)
Har har. If Drop Dead Legs sounds like a Sammy tune, then I'm gonna like the Sammy era. When I get to it. House of.... PAAAIIINNNN is pretty cool, too. You are an ass kiss.

Anyway, the only song that's kinda sorta good here is the title track. New age-y space keyboards that play the same few notes for almost two minutes. Then, a buzz sound and the intro to Jump starts up. Ugh... Jump. A song that just sucks now. I used to like this song when I was 4. Now, I can't stand it. It still has some good parts to itself, but I'm not gonna listen to it again. Man, they played this to death.

Actually, they did, and still are, playing the entire album to death on radio today. Understandable, since there's really nothing like most of the songs on this album. Kind of a medicine for the tired DJ's of today, right after they've played the latest Korn song and need to hear something that still sounds great. Hell, after Korn, I'd probably want to hear Jump.

And mom loves Top Jimmy. It's an incredible song. She liked the whole album, pretty much. I'd have to agree. Every damn tune, minus two small ones, are the best of the best in rock. And the drum fill thing that opens Hot For Teacher.... wow. Although, my drummer friend says it's easy to play. Well, it probably is if you've heard it as much as I have.

Funny story. At work, there's a totally useless sensor that used to be required to open the sliding door (now they just use a twisty lock thing). You had to step in it's path to activate it. However, if you step in front of it now, it simply clicks (the locking mechanism clicks, at least, letting you know that something is still there), since it's not only still running but still connected to something. Well, after first discovering this useless but fun sounding gadget, I ended up beating the fuck out of the locking mechanism by waving my hand in front of the sensor to what my memory recalls of the HFT drum fill thing opener. The red button that also was used to open that door (red button is also disconnected) made a dandy symbol sound. I also pissed off a few co-workers with my "noise." Ha ha (FUCKING) ha.
The album Steve Vai called a milestone for guitar playing...this is a classic...And to clear this up, david lee roth LEFT, ok, he LEFT van halen to do a movie, which fell through...eddie did NOT kick him out. ok, now, back to this classic...Jump, Panama. and the smokin Hot for teahcer are classics..damn, that drum intro to teacher is NOT easy..i heard one of the best rock drummers was hangin at 5150 and tried to play it and damn near had a heart lie....the oft overlooked I'll wait is awesome, as is girl gone of pain rocks hard, and inspired a rap outfit to use the name for their group! Top jimmy....jesus..this album is great..and though eddie was hyped in the media for playin keyboards, he had played a piano through a marshall stack as the intro for and the cradle will rock!!! this is another must would be unamerican if you deserves an 11.......
Great album. Probably their second best. The opening riffs to "Panama" and "Hot For Teacher" are massive. And Alex Van Halen shows just how talented a drummer he is with his double-bass bonanza in the latter. As good a guitarist as Eddie is, Alex is almost as good a drummer and doesn't get half the credit. Overall this is a fun and entertaining album that has stood the test of time. Too bad Dave left though (although unlike many, I do like Sammy).
Yeah, I like this album too. Too bad I almost never hear it past "Panama" because my friggin' dad always stops the album after it when he plays it, even though "Tom Jimmy" is a great song and he knows it. "I'll Wait" and "Hot For Teacher" are really good too. Plus, that keyboard onslaught that opens the album? I always thought it was part of "Jump"! I thought "Jump" had a really long keyboard intro and never realized that they were separate songs! Think about it-- the whole intro sounds a lot better if taken in that respect. Let's say an eight for the album - the high points are HIGH, but I can't give a nine to an album with "Drop Dead Legs" and "House Of Pain" on it because they suck. (O.Z. Hall III)
i just downloaded the HFT video, and i was in bliss...that is one of the most entertaining pieces of rock video seen since.....since....i guess it's the most entertaining video i've ever seen. wow. as for the whole DLR/SH/VH brothers thing, lemme clue everybody into what happened: DLR went off to do a solo album, and the VH brothers had, shall we say, "issues" with this. When DLR didn't really hear anything from the VH brothers about the next VH project, he decided to do the CFTH video project. The VH brothers, in the haze of drugs/booze that surrounds the whole affair, decide DLR has left the band and hire SH. Miscommunication + Egotisim + Drugs/Alchol Stupor = the walking abortion that is SH-period VH.

As of right now, VH fans (of whom i am sorta one, I own and LOVE 1984 and the debut album) should be carrying torches and battering rams to the VH castle demanding they bring DLR back for a last album and tour. Then they should QUIT. They really don't have anything to prove, as SOCIALDISTORTN@AOL.COM rightly says. This last VH project would be a fine capstone to a career that has been limping along for too long w/crap material and annoying singers. i've said my piece, see y'all around (Joe)
The last album with the great David Lee Roth ,maybe not since there are rumors that he is back in the studio with VH,lets cross our fingers.anyway I remember when I was 11 years old and this album was released I heard most of the songs on the radio or a friends vinyl copy oh the memories !unike a lot of 80's music which was considered a joke Van Halen gave us this masterpiece anyone of these songs could of been a single except House Of Pain which is to heavy and also pales next to a demo version I have, but of course the classic singles Jump what a great melodie ,Panama a great rocker ,Hot For Teacher the song is classic but I love the video more and I'll Wait Dave is great on that one, also Drop Dead Legs could of been a single I don't know If It was but It still gets a lot of airplay the other songs are Top Jimmy which has a great riff by Eddie and Girl Gone Bad is a favorite of mine great guitar drums and Dave vocals, after this album of course Dave left and he was replaced by Sammy Hagar Sammy wrote some great songs and may have more vocal range than Dave but Dave cannot be replaced.this album gets a 9
I know this isn't the best album in the 80's but i know you have agree 1984 by Van Halen just kicked ass! (Ian Moss)
Another winner from Eddie, Diamond Dave, and those two other guys. "Top Jimmy" is a little annoying but I don't agree that "House of Pain" is a total loss. "Drop Dead Legs" is catchy but sketchy. Sammy Hagar indeed. Two of these above sentences are missing a verb. Can you tell which ones?

"1894" is pretty sci-fiey for its time--I mean, the 1890s were not exactly known for angry keyboards and electric hammer-on madness. More like robber-baron capitalism and coon songs, and William Jennings Bryan's fiery brand of populism. What's that you say? It's "1984"?


Yes, that's right, based on the George Orwell novel of the same name. Or was it the retired numbers of the Red Sox legends in Fenway Park (Joe Cronin (1), Bobby Doerr (4), Yaz (8), and Teddy Ballgame (9)--let me know if I've mixed those up), before Carlton Fisk messed it up with his #27? Trust me, it's always about the Red Sox.

Do you ever wonder if any of the band members actually read 1984?
Awesome record! "Panama" is my favorite on the record, and i never get sick of it. I love that divebomb guitar technique in the beginning. Also there are other great classic songs like "Jump", "Top Jimmy", "Girl Gone Bad", "Ill Wait" and "Hot For Teacher"! I agree "Drop Dead Legs" is pretty dumb, and "House Of Pain" is indeed kinda weak, but i enjoy them, nonetheless. The title track might as well have been an intro to "Jump"! As a intro track its just kinda pointless. A 9! (Scott Campbell)
Girl Gone Bad and House of Pain are the best VH songs period. (Rob Raymer)
if you dont love this record their might be something wrong with you lol more polished of course but still has the feel of classic vh. kind of sad to me cause i cant help but wonder what might have been had roth stayed but it seems eddie was determined to go with his vision only.its understandable that a man of eddies talents would want to explore further but losing roth who would no doubt have reminded him that hes a guitar hero first and foremost was not helpful to us original diehards. and while im at it eddie should apologize to brian may for lifting his stone cold crazy riff for house of pain lol
Just listening to this one now, for the first time in a couple of years. Good album!

I'll never be a hard-core Van Halen fan... I don't get the impression that there were ever that many hard-core Van Halen fans in the first place... more a band that you enjoy than one you love. Whatever though, they were unique - a shame they went to artistic hell in the 1990s..

It's amusing, the way this album is hyped as some sort of breakthrough synths-guitar hybrid - it doesn't feature synthesizers any more or any less than Fair Warning did three years earlier. This is a regular Van Halen album, in every way!

Except in my opinion it's a little stronger than most Van Halen albums. There are four or five genuinely great songs (you all know which ones) and the others come impressively close to joining them in greatness. The opening double whammy of '1984' and 'Jump' is one of the mightiest moments of their extremely-mighty early career. For some reason it's not too fashionable to praise this album, but nuts to that, I say - I think it's great.
The last two songs are the best, and they're quite good. They never get any airplay because they're not "nice" enough for radio and they're too guitar-oriented for the masses to get. Some of Eddie's runs on Girl Gone Bad make my eyes vibrate.

However, the problems that were to become obvious once Hagar joined the band are already present on this album in incipient form: I'll Wait is pure love ballad crap. Hot for Teacher is an excruciatingly boring song written by an AI progammed to emulate the VH style.

A vignette from the time this album came out: I was in 8th grade and I heard another 8th grade guy tell a friend "I don't really like that album, except for Girl Gone Bad and House of Pain." Now for an 8th grade male to suggest that a VH album could be anything other than God's gift to the world was heresy at the time. The acceptable variation of opinion among 8th grade males was about which VH album was the best rock album of all time. (If you were really out there, you might suggest that Fair Warning was better than VH 1, although that might earn you some funny looks.) If anyone had suggested anything else, we would have tried to have him committed...until this phoned-in lazy piece of synth-pop crap came out. Anyway, when I heard this other dude say it out loud, I was able to admit it to myself: the band was on the way down. In a funny way, Roth's lucky he left the band when he did; that allows people to attribute their subsequent nosedive to his absence, even though 1984 suggests it was happening anyway. (Luis Fernando Barbi)
I wont disagree even about some fool coments done. Like an interview i once read, sammy is a good singer, but dave is THE SINGER. Comparing Vai and Eddie is a blasphemy. Puting all Vai albuns and we get one "bad - if trere is one" Eddie Album. The rest is history. As a huge VHfan, all i can say ìs that's the biggest lost of music ever, 'cuz whe sure lost the best chemistry in rock'n roll ever, Eddie, Alex, Mike and Diamond Dave. I stiil hear all my VH records and DLR solo's albuns, but the four guys together nevermore, it's a shame.
The few guys that give it a 6 are right.

Others are drunk.
I gotta say heavy metal is probaby the genre I listen to the least, but man, VAN HALEN KICK COMPLETE ASS. Well........... until Dave left :P.

Madan Mohan
One thing that consistently distinguished Eddie Van Halen from his imitators is how responsive his playing was (Girl Gone Bad is a particularly good example of this on this album). Those hot shred/tap licks were generally used playfully and in way that only added more to the hard, driving rock appeal of Van Halen. He also didn't lose the lingering element of blues in his playing, unlike other shred guitarists (which I feel contributed hugely to their dryness and sterility). And of course, he came up with truckloads of crunchy, crushing riffs. Together with David Lee Roth's vocals, it made for an explosive combination. Given the era in which this album was made, an 8, if not a 9, seems fair though it is indeed not a consistent album.

Add your thoughts?

5150 - Warner Brothers 1986.
Rating = 7

Sammy's singin' and Eddie's amazing guitar tone is gone, leaving in its wake an irritatingly wimpy chorusy little piece of crap. Luckily, Ed's songwriting is still pretty srong, so hot tracks like "Good Enough," "Dreams," and the title cut aren't totally shot to hell by shitty sound. It doesn't blow me away like the Dave-era stuff, and Sammy has all the charisma of a lamp, but if you listen really closely, you can tell that Ed's still totally on top of his game. His whangy-whippin' in "Good Enough," his little flippy-glings in the "Good Enough" chorus - heck, dude, all over! Easy nine with Dave and the old guitar sound, but this record SOUNDS LIKE SHIT. Wispy, wimpy little guitar tone drowned out by Sammy "Raspy All-American Asshole" Hagar. Shame.

Now see, maybe you can help me with this. Did Eddie totally revamp his speaker system to create this hideous new sound? Or was it just a result of the loss of producer Ted Templemann? Anyone? The guitar just doesn't have any POWER anymore!

Reader Comments (David Aurand)
Have to tell Sammy and love Van, at the time, I was really psyched to hear they were together. When 5150 came out, 'cept for those or-gan-ized, electric piano,, I liked it. "Good Enough" really choked me......and "Best of Both Worlds" sounded good on the radio. So....hey, I was very satisfied....... (Doug Swalen)
Why, oh why, ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh WHYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY? Sammy had a decent solo career going. His tunes packed butt kicking Cock Rock. Now he's hamstrung himself with this shit. And since you don't have a Hagar review or a Montrose review, I'll just add that if you really want to hear great Sammy Hagar, go buy the self titled album from Montrose. It was released in 1973 but sounds like it was done in 1980. It was way ahead of its time....
Sammy Hagar echoes in a new more pop oriented Van Halen. The overall guitar/synthesizer tone is different in a good way (not that the old way was bad), but you have to keep changing in the world of rock n roll. On this album, the songs are more developed especially lyrical. Overall a big improvement from 1984.'s quite a diffrent SOUND, I'll give ya that. Side one's decent, but most of side two just bores the hell outta me. This disc has a "give-and-take" approach: Some of the songs are a lot more mature and melodic (thanks to Spammy), but on the other hand, the rest are unbelievably generic and non-VH sounding. And where's Ed's token gee-tar solo on this one? Sadly, it was all downhill from here... (Scott)
With this record VH changed from a band you felt a kinship with - they understood gettin' loaded, rockin' out - to a record company product. Everyone knows Warner got Eddie to bring in Shammy. An entire genre of American Metal died with this release. Dave always got the joke. Shammy is a joke. (Elizabeth Litscher)
Van Halen Died (RIP) when DLRoth left. its a proven scientific fact. (Daniel Streb)
You're right, of course. Van Halen died when Dave quit, and NO Sammy Hagar nor Gary Cherone Van Halen stuff can compare to solo Dave's "Just A Gigolo/I Ain't Got Nobody". God that song kicks ass. Especially the horns. (Josh Cable)
I love this album!!! Sammy rules!

Just kidding Mark, I don't even own this thing. I just wanted to say in response to the guy above:

Indeed, there was a time when I was a small child when I thought "Just a Gigolo" was a song Dave penned. I have seince grown up to realize two things:

1) Sammy's solo stuff is terrible, especially without Eddie
2) Dave's solo stuff is at least fun since Steve Vai appears on a few of the solo projects.

And now Dave is still fucked up, having to milk his =VH= career for more money while Sammy continues to sing about pussy and drugs, badly. And his songs still blow harder than anything offered up since Def Leppard or Poison (even though he predates them). Reminds me of a quote from Eddie =VH=, "Rock stars come and go, but musicians last forever." Too true, and here's to VH3. (Alex R)
I actually like this album better than the last 2. The songs actually work. But I have to disagree with you about Eddie losing the " old " guitar sound. If you listen to tracks such as " Good Enough " , " Get Up " , and the title track, it shows that it's still there. But it's definitely goes away on 0U812. But this record deserves a 9/10. And " Dreams " is one hell of a song. (Sean Harris)
I'll say it here (because I can): Def Leppard rocks.

What I hate seeing is people group them with hair bands like Poisen and Motley Crue. They are not that--I'm sorry. If that's what you think, you've missed them entirely.

My favorite Helen record is 1984. I think it kicks arse--and when David left it was a travesty. I hate Sammy's voice. That's it.
The opening riff to "Summer Nights" is more Eddie genius. He just smokes. (Jeff Pittillo)
Your right on about this album. The reason that it sucks, and the reason it has SOME good points, are because of the same man...DAVID LEE ROTH! It sucks because he left the band! The parts that are good are because he and Ed had already worked on a lot of the music together before he left the band. Dave does not get the credit he deserves for the sound of the real Van Halen. Sure is funny how Van Halen stopped rocking after he left and "Eat em and Smile", "Skyscraper", "A Little Ain't Enough", rocked harder. Dave is rumored to be back now, I hope so, but until its official and they turn out some real Van Halen, check out Dave's 1998 effort "DLR BAND" it smokes! As one reviewer wrote, "This is the best Van Halen album since 1984!" (Josh Cable)
Listened to mp3s, read lyrics. Before that, I figured that this album was just bullshit. Obviously, Sammy wasn't worth paying attention to.

After reading the lyrics, I am filled with overwhelming hatred. This is easily the worst VH album up until Van Hagar's next album. Because hey, at least Eddie still knew how to write good music.

Dave's ballads on the former VH albums were all incredible in comparison. Complex, beautiful, extremely catchy, and just plain nice. Also gotta hand it to Mr. Party, he's got some really nice lyrics for a party-type human being.

Sammy's shit on this whole fucking album is like child's play. The ballads are sappy Pepsi commercials with no fucking soul. The rock songs try way too hard to be cool. Nothing of Sammy's shit on this album is worth mention.

Fuck these sellouts.

I love reading bad reviews of shitty albums/movies. (Robert Chaundy)
Is it just me, or do some people take things a bit too seriously? This is a pretty darned good album, and if Hagar doesn't have all the gallantry and dignity of Roth then forgive me while I don't lose any sleep over it.

The bad stuff here, i.e. the 'riff rockers', is pretty bad, but Dreams, Why Can't This Be Love, Summer Nights, the title track and Love Walks In are brilliant, a match for anything they ever recorded. That's a ridiculously high percentage of great songs for any album and don't anyone go disagreeing now.

Even if you don't like 5150, you've got to see that it wasn't Hagar who ruined Van Halen - they would have gone exactly the same way with DLR on board and if anything it probably would have been even more unsavoury. This band basically ran off one thing - Eddie's guitar playing. There was plenty in the tank to start with, but eventually he dried up, as any one-man band would. Not his fault, not Hagar's, not anyone's. All good things must come to an end.

P.S. E5150 by Black Sabbath? 5150 by Van Halen?? Answers please??? Is the department for the criminally insane at the LAPD called 5150 or is it not? (John Priscilla)
I happen to like Van Halen with Roth or Hagar. I noticed much more dislike for Hagar from most posters. As for that Hagar had a much better solo career than Roth. As for breaking up the band blame that on Eddie's ego.

5150 was as good as any Van Halen album, but it was all downhill after that. As soon as something sells many diehard fans see it as(a copout or commercial crap). For the most part it is widespread appeal. 5150 had that. (starpunk)
Van Halen smokes on 5150! Get Up is a wicked slice of speed metal, the pop metal and synthesizers are a continuing track from where they were going in 1984. Granted, Van Hagar would never reach this peak again - it would go downhill from then on, but 5150 (California police code for escaped lunatic criminal) showed that the Van Halen brothers and Marc Anthony could still deliver the goods without David Lee Roth. His Vegas antics looked like yesterday's papers. (Rob Raymer)
this wouldve been a good record if someone other than van halen had made it
Dave rules sammy drooooooools
I find it very strange that no one is actually mentioning the main thing about this album, which is the riff to one of the songs. You know which one. It's the one that makes you go "That is So! Fucking! Awesome!" every time you hear it. That's right, the riff to 5150. This riff is, dare I say it, comparable to the main riff of Unchained. Let me tell you about two moments from the time this album came out.

One was before I heard the album was out. I turned on the radio right at the beginning of this song, and of course, I instantly knew. As soon as it was over the DJ said "Unmistakable guitar work from Edward Vaaaaaaaaaan Halen." Unmistakable, no kidding! Only he could play that.

The other moment was a few weeks later. I walked into one of the music rooms at my high school. Some other kid had his guitar out and plugged in and was playing one of the riffs from this album. Can you guess which one? That's right, the keyboard motif to "Love Walks In." No, you fuckhead, that's a joke. It was, of course, the riff that any self-respecting guitar player would be COMPELLED to try to learn as soon as he heard that song, the one to 5150. God that riff ROCKS!
Why buy a friggen VH album without the clatter of D Daves goofin. HE is one of the best front man to come along in years and they blew it...who ever casued it!

Sammy can go binge out on tequila for all I care. He comes on and it sounds like somebody nailin the cat. No better place for Dave to be front and center with the original band doing what they do naturally...ROCK. You can tell it was all too easy to make it happen with the original group the songs were simple and flowed. Any professional musician knows when there is magic in a group it comes together without any real effort. When you lose a member that was a part of that you can never re-gain that momentum.

Hagar with Halen sounds so overdone it is ridiculous. Diamond Dave is just that, a rough friggen Diamond...attitude is enough for me I guess. I never left a show disappointed whether he was on key or not. I go for the show not to sit and pinkfloyd out. You got it man!
I'm pretty sure that there is a guitar amp named 5150; not sure if that's where the title came from, or if it was invented by Eddie Van Halen, or if it has anything to do with why you don't like the guitar tone on this album. The man on the front cover is also wearing a "5150" tag, and I always took the meaning of this cover as symbolizing society's idea of the perfect man trying lift up a manufactured image of the world on his shoulders while being labeled crazy. And it kills him! I've had the 5150 label before for trying to kill myself - not something you want to try, people, unless you like shaking hands with the devil (not just runnin' with him, HA!), who I must say has a pretty firm grip. As for the album, I'd say it's fully deserving of the 7 you gave it, even if labels are subjective. Nothing against David Lee Roth, but I like the Sammy Hagar stuff better, mainly because I think they started writing better songs after he joined the band. (better love songs, anyway...) "Dreams" would be my favorite here, as well as being one of my favorite Van Halen songs. Did anyone catch the beginning of "Good Enough" in that movie Spaceballs? I thought that was pretty cool, although it would have been funnier if the alien in that restaurant would have sang the chorus to "Inside" after jumping out of the guy's stomach.

Add your thoughts?

OU812 - Warner Brothers 1988.
Rating = 7

The title is a wacky joke making fun of David Lee Roth's solo album Eat 'Em And Smile, but the album itself is actually much weaker than that Dave rockathon. See, the songwriting seems to be deteriorating already. "When It's Love" is a keyboard pop song that ranks up there with any from 5150, but "Feels So Good" sounds like Phil Collins. "Finish What Ya Started" is a cool-ass Spanish guitar plank, but "Source Of Infection" sounds like somebody trying to sound like Eddie Van Halen. "Black And Blue" is a sick swaggering drunken sex fantasy, but "Mine All Mine" has Sammy Hagar singing. Plus, the band doesn't sound like a band anymore, especially in lengthy empty tracks like "Cabo Wabo" and "Sucker In A 3 Piece," where the rhythm section sounds like it doesn' even give a crap how the song's supposed to go.

Aww, let's blame Sammy. Damn that Sammy!

Reader Comments (Dave Weigel)
Man, this one blows. Possibly Van Halen's all time nadir. The ONLY worthwhile song is "When it's Love". That's it. Even For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge had two good songs. Now, I don't mind "Mine All Mine" or "Feels So Good" in their dumb wussy Bon Jovi way, and "Finish What You Started" comes close to actual quality (probably because it's so out of place on the record!). But the rockers that Mark mentioned are overlong and awful and "Black and Blue" is VH's worst song ever. I think Andrew Dice Clay is funny sometimes, but that song offends me. It's putrid.

Now, I could say that the album as a whole isn't that bad, but why settle for this shit from Van Halen? This is a band that used to toss off great rock songs without even trying. As bad as OU812 is, it is literally PAINFUL after you realise that these guys did 1984 four short years before. It's a 2 out of 10 at best. Mark, you should be ashamed of yourself for rating this equal to AC/DC's High Voltage.
Here the new sounding Van Halen takes a step back. Too much synthesizer, not enough bass, and a lack of good tunes. Add it up and you have a mediocre record. (Robert Linus Koehl)
Ohh . . . I'm sorry, I thought this was a Van Halen album. I must have been mistaken. "Finish What You Started" was ok, but can anyone give me a reason why I should own this cd, other than that song? Didn't think so.
Boy, this is unbelievably bad. I got this for three bucks at a record store and to this day STILL feel ripped off. "When it's Love" is passable, and "Mine All Mine" has some nice vocals (if nothing else) to it, but the rest is like some big joke. When I looked at the lyrics for "Source of Infection" I thought to myself, "Hey! Dave left the band three years ago, didn't he???" There's just no creativity to be found on here, and I'd like to blame it all on Sammy just for the hella it.
Not quite as bad as you say but a cool album. Personally I loved "Black & Blue" Sammy ain't as bad as you say. I think he holds his own, however any deterioration of the band falls squarely in the Van Halen brothers' lap. Eddie wussed out! (Alex R)
To be perfectly honest with you, when I was really hooked on these guys a while back I thought that this was the best one, but I don't know what the hell I was thinking back then. The main problem with this album is the production, it's an absolute mess, by far their worst production job. Like you said on Sabbath's Technical Ecstasy review : " There's not one bad song, but there are no great ones either ". So as a big VH fan, I consider this to be the most dissapointing. 6/10.
Why do some people say such crap about this album. I think this was a great album and out of maybe 10 stars I would give it 9. I was not even born when this album came out but still this is a great album.
OU812 was the license plate number on Cheech's car from Cheech and Chong's Next Movie. Or was that Up In Smoke? I dunno, can't remember, but that's where the title comes from
For what it's worth, OU812 is a good VH album. Throw out "Sucker in a 3 Piece" and "A.F.U." and this is good stuff. VH was getting causual and just chillin' like the greatest band in the world should have been doing at that point in time. If you live close to the beach, like I do, you just throw on "Cabo Wabo" and relax. Actually, the boys were hurried in the studio due to having committed to the "Monsters of Rock" tour and this led to some down moments (see the above mentioned songs.)

Add your thoughts?

For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge - Warner Brothers 1991.
Rating = 4

This was supposed to be the big rock and roll comeback after the poppy OUsuckedmyass, but the melodies are shit, for the most part. The band really is beginning to sound like Sammy's back-up band, churning out worthless boring three-chord riff after wbt-cr after wbt-cr. Only the poppy "The Dream Is Over," "Right Now," and "Top Of The World" have any reason to exist, and even those only barely. Very depressing. Eddie has turned into Steve Vai - all flash, no substance. Total drag. Can't even blame Sammy for this one!

But damn that Sammy anyway!

Reader Comments

Greg B.
I can bear Sammy on this one because he sings of his inadequacies in "the pleasure dome". He was always paranoid, and now he lets it hang out. The *Red Rocker* is an embarrassment to himself, his family, his God, and his country. Bring back that other self-conscious twit, Dave. At least Dave had balls. And wit.
I only listened to this CD once and boy did it SUCK ALL KINDS OF ASS! Only the song used in the Pepsi Commercial has any tune to it. The rest of it was over synthesized 80's pop garbage devoid of any memorable riffs and hooks. (Robert Linus Koehl)
An anachronism for the F-word? Nice. I started out liking it. The drill thing at the beginning was cool. I liked "Pound Cake" and "Judgement Day", but the rest of side one and much of side two all sounds the same. Really, "Man on a Mission" and "In and Out" are the SAME SONG, they only have different lyrics. But just when I'm ready to pop it out of my cd player and sell it at the used shop . . . "The Dream is Over"!!! That song has one of the best riffs I've heard in a long time. Then there's that pop/MTV "Right Now" thing that makes me just want to scream in pain every time I hear it, and the incredibly BORING "316". Fortunately the album ends on a good note with "Top of the World". Overall, a better album than 5150 or OU812, but not as good as the first few albums. I did, however like the live album that came out the next year. It was called Right Here Right Now.
Just do what I did: Get the live album instead of this drink coaster disguised as a Van Halen album. It has ALL the songs from this one (except "The Dream is Over," which I've yet to hear), plus Sammy's take on a few (VERY FEW) of the DLR-era tunes, plus a few from his solo career and Who covers thrown into the mix. Quite a deal compared this album, if you ask me.
Better than the last. Sammy sounds good and Eddie and company are stronger. Seven out of ten. Hey they're no AC/DC!
I'm actually REALLY glad that so few people like this album - I was starting to think I was all alone in that department, as everyone treated it like the Second Coming back when it was released in '91. It's too bad that so much of thi sucks, because Poundcake is probably one of the best VH songs ever - be they with Dave, Sammy, Gary or freakin' Wayne Newton. Otherwise, the thing is literally depressing - riffs that go nowhere and a big, dumb overrated piano ballad with about as much substance as the Crystal Pepsi it was eventually used to hawk. (Josh Cable)
F.U.C.K. this watered down Crystal Pepsi swill of an album.

I don't even own it, and I'm not gonna. One ballad and I knew that I was finished with listening to Sammy. He's got no talent.

The only song here that I like was Poundcake, the wife-beater's anthem. Make no mistake about it, Sammy is snorting a tornado of cocaine while punching out his 13 year old mistress while penning the lyrics to more queer ballads and faceless rock anthems. (TomDude)
I have one thing to say to all of you who are slagging Eddie for this album: Listen to the guitar solo on Pleasure Dome.

Add your thoughts?

Live: Right Here, Right Now - Warner Brothers 1993.
Rating = 6

For about seventy-five zillion years, there sat on my web site a review of this double-CD by a Mr. "Anonymous Reviewer." For some reason, even though I bought this (leaning tower of) pisa shit for like a dollar out in somebody's yard about four years ago, I neglected to review it on this, Mark Prindle's Record Review Site and Grain Distillery. So this year (November), I decided to make a change in my life and correct this horrible, horrible error that has cost so many lives. (as opposed to my adorable, adorable Terror that has balled so many wives. BAMM! I'm talkin' 'bout my Rod Stewart, noogielips! BAMM! WAMM SLAMM THANK YOUR MOM!)

Thanks, that was my Sammy Hagar. That's right, I own one. And now you can too, thanks to Yorktown Technologies' genetically modified Sammy Hagar Fish! It swims around, eats its own shit and sings "I Can't Swim 55" until you stomp on the little piece of shit right there in the aquarium! Getting your boot and pant wet in the process. Nobody ever thinks about their boot and pant when attempting to step on something in an aquarium, and it's really too bad because I think a lot of people would change their mind if they realized that a wet boot and pant generally lead to full-blown AIDS.

I also see in the news today that "Turkey Vows To Catch Bombers' Accomplices." What does he plan to do, grind 'em up with his gizzard? Heh heh - I don't think so! Fuck you, Turkey! You're an asshole!

So the interesting thing about all this is that I listened to the Eddie SHAM HATE'EM live double-CD here, sat down to write some intelligent insight for generations to debate, and realized that Anonymous Reviewer had already said EVERYTHING that I was going to say in his original review! So I've posted that below, as the first reader comment. All I have to add is that Sammy Hagar is a genius with tremendous charisma, like when he uses the phrases "blue balls" and "I need some pussy!" during "Finish What Ya Started," a little-noted bit of humorous light-hearted commentary that totally got Sammy all up in Catherine McKinnon's white-hot snatch that night. But don't feign disgust or disinterest - God himself couldn't resist the Red Pud of the Red RoKKKer.

And DIDN'T! Check out the remastered version of Ecclesiastes for a really hot passage describing some bed-burning anal sex between Sammy Hagar and Our Heavenly Creator. Who'da thunk God took it up the Smelly Canal?

You know what I don't understand? The argument that I just make gross jokes and don't discuss the albums at all. I CLEARLY said that thing about "blue balls" above, and that's a MAJOR part of this album. Also -- another piece of insight for all the nose-chewers out there in Televisionville: Did you ever notice that the Hagar version of Van Halen was nothing more or less than a POP METAL band? For some reason, this had escaped me until listening closely to two and a half hours of shit like "Love Walks In" and "When It's Love" and even the harder rockin' tunes. This stuff sounds like Bon Jovi! I'm DEAD. Serious! The guitar tone is way too high, there is no bottom end, Sammy sounds like a big-haired moron and the riffs are TOTAL Bon Jovi! Def Leppard, Warrant - just POP METAL shit! That's why we need David Lee Roth out there keeping rock and roll music ALIVE!!!!! With a bunch of really bad covers of Savoy Brown songs.

Reader Comments

Anonymous Reviewer
Grade = 7. Well what do you know, Van Halen puts out a live album. The only real downer to this situation is that they did not release a live album when they were at their absolute peak with Dave. I'm not saying that the Sammy era sucked, but it would of been nice to hear Dave and a raw and heavy guitar sound courtesy of Mr. Edward Van Halen live. But who cares, it's too late now, or is it??

Anyways back to the album, this double CD showcases the guys during their F.U.C.K tour. 24 tracks, 4 from the Dave era, 2 from Sammy's solo career, and the rest are pretty much hits of Sammy era Halen. Cool. Oh yeah, there's a Who cover also. But what really pisses me off ( and I'm sure that I'm not the only one ) is that most of F.U.C.K is on here except for " The Dream Is Over " . Hey, don't get me wrong or anything, F.U.C.K was a good album, but putting 2 crappy songs such as " In `N` Out " and " Man On A Mission " on a live album instead of " The Dream Is Over " ( which IMO is one of their greatest songs )is really disturbing.

There is also some solo performances by each member of the group. First there's Michael Anthony's " Ultra Bass " which rules!. It features most of " Sunday Afternoon In The Park ", 2 seconds of The Star Spangled Banner, and some cool bass effects. Then it's Mark Prindle's favorite part of the show which is Alex Van Halen's drum solo, and yes kids, it goes on for 10 minutes!!, but somehow it doesn't put me to sleep. But on the second CD it's Eddie's guitar solo. Even though it's only like 12 minutes long!!, it still KICKS ASS!!. He plays pretty much all of the Dave era instrumentals including " Cathedral " and some nice little ditties. Hey, don't underestimate these guys, they're top notch at their instruments. ( We knew that Eddie was, but we weren't sure about the other 2 ) Oh yeah, I almost forgot about Sammy!!, he just does this acoustic guitar showcase that just SUCKS MY ASS!!.

So yeah, this is a good album. Sammy does okay on the Dave tracks except for " Jump ". Everybody knows that only Dave himself can master that classic. Oh yeah, during the quiet of " Panama ", Sammy talks to the crowd for like 2 hours about him not getting any pussy at the hotel the other night or something, that's really wonderful Sammy thanks for sharing that with us. But I still think you're cool though.

So that's pretty much it. If you're a Sammy fan, then you'll find a lot to enjoy here. But if you're one of those guys who still can't get over Dave's departure some 15 years ago, then you might wanna be careful. (Josh Cable)
"They're all wasted!" HehrehrherhjagjkEDHBFBD WRONG FUCKING SONG SAMMI, YOU FUCKING LOSER.

The cover of Will Get Fooled Again isn't that great. The guitar imitation of the WFOL Again synth is just sad. The rest is not good. But still, it's Wont Get Fooled Again, and Sammy's warbling isn't too bad AMAZINGLY.

The rest of this album is Sammy Hagar pretending to be the God of this band, playing no Dave stuff but the really obvious hits and playing lead guitar on his stupid solo crap atop a catwalk. Then switch to the shitty lame ballad Love Walks Out with the scary stalker looking bearded guy.

I actually havn't heard all of this album. I don't own it and I never will.
This is one pathetic live album indeed.Depressing, it is. I can't think of any reason why anybody would want to own this. It's the worst live album i've ever heard, the songs sound just like the studio originals, and since most of them are sammy hager era van halen songs, they weren't any good in the first place.By the way, that review that you pointed out that you claim said everything you wanted to say about this album really sucks. I mean it's way off. It entirely misses the point about how lousy the music on this album is. I would definately give it a One, that's it. Another reason i didn't like it is because since it adds absolutely nothing to their discography, it's only reason to exist is to cash in. Obviously the only reason they released it is because their previous two albums tanked.This is a pure sellout album.
Being in my mid thirties of course I grew up loving Van Halen so here is my opinion.

First, since this was done on the F.U.C.K tour of course it is going to have a lot of those songs. But come on, why do we like VH? Eddie that's why. A 12 minute guitar solo from the greatest ever, that is worth the price. Cathedral, Mean Streets, Eruption, it's all there and then some.

Secondly, here's how I look at it. With Dave they were more fun. My favorite songs are Panama, Unchained, I'm on Fire, and Top Jimmy. But with Sammy I really think that they were a better band. When you add someone who also plays an instrument as opposed to someone who just sings it can't help but to improve the musical IQ of the band. OK, I give you that OU812 was only OK, but I think that 5150 and F.U.C.K. were excellent. I mean Dreams, Best of Both Worlds, 5150, Love Walks In, Finish What Ya Started, Poundcake, Right Now, Why Can't This Be Love are awesome. You say they became pop-metal, I call it cheese-metal, but they always were.

They lost me with Balance though. I thought that sucked.

Add your thoughts?

Balance - Warner Brothers 1995.
Rating = 5

Well, it certainly starts off promising. Ed's got this hip echo thing on his guitar, and it sounds fuller than it's sounded in ages. Plus, the opening track "The Seventh Seal" soars!!!! Or at least it would if Sammy could sing at all. See, the deal is - yeah, right when he joined Van Halen, he could hit higher notes than Dave could. Big fucking deal. All he does is shout. A really annoying shout. And by this album, his voice had deteriorated to a scratchy ghost of its former "glory," so even if most of the melodies weren't by-the-numbers garbage, it would still be unlistenable cuzza that ugly fourth instrument. I don't know what Ed's up to, but these songs are just dull adult pop pap. Like orthodontist's office music. Remember "Can't Stop Lovin' You?" Well, that's one of the best songs on here. Need I say anything else besides that thing which I have just said?

Yes - one more thing. Is there some valid reason why "Baluchitherium" should sound just like Momentary Lapse Of Reason-era Pink Floyd? God, I hope not.

I hope this Extreme guy helps 'em kick back some of the old magic, but I wouldn't really count on it. Ed has written more great songs than most men ever will, but I think them salad days might be through. Oh well, time will tell if I am right or I am wrong. Why to see it your way? Oh! Dave's solo career turned to crap too, but I guess you knew that. But can we nonetheless reminisce about such classics as "Just Like Paradise," "Damn Good," "Goin' Crazy," "Yankee Rose," and "Stand Up?" Please???????

Reader Comments (Steve Auger)
I think Van Halen needs some more meat in their music. It tends to be much too comercial of late, although Balance does contain some brilliant flashes of rock. Also, Extreme should be considered a great band. Too bad their time has come and gone.
How anyone could think that David Lee Asshole is better than Sammy is WAY beyond me.
Dave was original!!!!!! He still is. You instantly recognise his voice and phrasing. Sammy sings like a million other singers. Yes he IS good but he will never have the CLASS that Roth has. Van Halen had an ORIGINAL guitarist and an ORIGINAL vocalist. That's what made them famous. Sammy's new Marching To Mars album is a bunch of woosy ballads that shows he wants FAR away from Van Halen. GOOD! Now Dave needs to learn how to swallow and get back in Eddie's good graces!
This should be entitled IMBALANCE. After "Not Enough", this CD becomes very stale with five ordinary to boring tunes in succession. Will someone tell me what the point of "Strung Out" was? Eddie's guitar playing is very good throughout the album but there are not enough good tunes for a BALANCED record. (Kenyon D. Vincent)
Balance is a great album. Sammy is better than Dave because:
1. He has a better voice.
2. He has better songs.
3. And finally, he put MORE emotion into the songs.

Dave is great too, but he can never compete with Sammy! My favorites by Dave are Van Halen and 1984. Dave puts a lot of emotion in his Van Halen songs, but Sammy shows the most. (Thomas Hutley)
Van Halen just about makes me sick, anymore. Not because of the ever so tiresome vocalist feud, mind you. It's more the fans and know-it-all's and every other person outside the squared circle that act like they've been in the middle of the whole thing since '78. Being a great guitar player does NOT make you a great person, and I don't see Eddie -- or Alex -- racking up humanitarian awards left and right for being the nicest, warmest people anyone could ever hope to meet. And yet every time Eddie speaks, his adoring fanatics react to it like it came from the Holy Scriptures! He paints a portrait of him as the purist of saints, and both Dave and Sammy being the lowest forms of human existence to ever crawl the Earth. Meanwhile, when either of the two aforementioned front-men open their jaws, they are received as the spawn of Satan himself. No proof of their guilt. No proof of Eddie's innocence. But somehow that doesn't seem to matter because Eddie must be right and everyone who disagrees must be wrong. And what gets lost in all this nonsensical jibberish is the truth... somewhere... out there... lost in a vat of lies and propaganda caused by ALL parties involved. Van Halen is not a rock band anymore -- it's the Jenny Jones show. They should have sold their stories to the tabloids and made a fortune instead of spewing it all over public tv and radio. But, as all of them would say, it has never been about money -- It's always been about music, which according to the reviews in here, has been a dead and rotting corpse for quite some time now, so who really cares about any of this. I'd rather go listen to Jim Croce and hear some real hard-luck stories that only last about 3 minutes each. Anything would be better than this... (Robert Linus Koehl)
Everything about this album was good EXCEPT for that thing where it sounds like someone is destroying a piano. What were these guys on anyway?
It's really cute that Eddie was able to stick his 1980s recording of him throwing all kindsa shit into Marvin Hamlish's piano and playing it onto this CD. Great job, Ed! It's almost better than Sam's tribute to Holland on here...I guess any country that allows wacky tobbacky deserves the thumbs up, eh, Sammy? Seriously, it's like Van Halen doesn't even FEEL like writing good music anymore...and the fact that it took five years for this album to come out is disgraceful. To think that they recorded their first six albums in the time it took for them to throw this one together is EMBARRASING. *Please* tell me they can't get any worse than this with Gary Cherone!
Unbalanced should have been the name. Too bad when your ego catches up with you. Still we got AC/DC out there. Gary Cherone ain't gonna help these guys! (And now I hear the bassist is bailin! Blame him?) (Keith Jones)
Balance is the best VH album of all time! Better than the 1st album. Sammy Hagar is twenty-thousand times better than that egotisical queer David Lee Roth. Sammy has also proved that he dosen't need VH as much as VH needs him. VH would almost always sell out concerts with Sammy, and now they are lucky to get the stadium half full(at least thats what I heard when VH3 came to my town(Sammy came a year earlier and sold out the same venue)). Plus, Roth's version of "California Girls" with all his little hey's and whoo's is just plan garbage! The only thing worse than Roth's solo works is VH3.

SAMMY KICKS ASS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1
I agree that in terms of songs overall, this was terrible...I heard the first ballad and just couldn't believe it...really sad... However, the first song is awesome, and I just cannot understand the critisim of Sammy. He's just a great singer and sings with a ton of soul. (Eric D.)
probably my favorite album of the Van Hagar era, mainly cause Seventh Seal is the best song Samantha Hagar's years with Eddie and Alex has produced. Still a lot of lame ballads and crap, but better than anything except 5150 maybe. The DLR years still kick its ass of course... 6.5/10
Oh jeez, If Van Halen were made up of Pharoahs Eddie, Alex and Michael would have been the more intelligent ones, Sammy Hagar is Evil, and should be barred from singing the generic Roth era Van Halen, as well as any song he himself writes and the whole band does not yet approve of, Wham Bam Amsterdam, yeah Sammy you f*cken moron drug pusher, People think that Orwell's 1984 didn't happen but it did, a couple of years prior to 1984 the US government was plotting against hippies and free love, and they modified Marijuana to have an Evil image, now when you get stoned you pass out and over eat to much and watch frickin court TV all day. But back in the 70's you could get the real stuff and you could still function, and in fact you could function better, 1984 killed Van Halen (not the Album the event.). Sammy Hagar is Simply another Generic Evil Pharoah, like W and many American mentalities they are all the same. They think there is only one good part to something and they amplify it a thousand times, which explains the pic's of chicks on the internet of women with breasts the size of large beach balls, they really have no sense of Beauty or Art anymore, they trust us who still do to take it from us after they (try to) kill us.

Dave would have made Amsterdam actually sound good.

Why was Eddie even considering Gary?????? I have balance and I only like about three tunes on it Eddies guitar had com a long way, but sammy pissed on this album, another thing is the recording and sound on some tracks, and vocal don't really work on it, I like Feelin, Amsterdam and some other song on it. sammy is a hit and miss singer, he doesn't want to acknowledge that, i can do Roth to a 'T' sammy can't even do sammy sometimes.

"I can sing really high" -sammy then go replace celine. Maybe it's because all those chicks who rejected his dirty come ons always kicked him in the nuts.

I have every Van Halen Album except 'Double Live' every Dave era VH is good in some way, Sammy only puts maybe 2-3 good songs out every 2-6 years. Do the math.

Van Halen could have had any generic singer put out 2-3 hits out every 2-3 years.

Although F.U.C.K was saving face for sammy in 1991, that was Edward Van Halen putting his all into that record and sammy barely pulling his weight.

The Sammy -> Eddy relationship was Master and Slave. The Dave -> Eddy relationship was boyfriend and girlfriend. Which was the lesser of two evils I don't know.

Add your thoughts?

Best Of Volume One - Warner Brothers 1996.
Rating = 9

Bing! Hits ahoy! Why no Diver Down tracks, though? And why no "Everybody Wants Some!!"? And where's "Hot For Teacher," dammit? And "I'll Wait"? "Love Walks In"? "Beautiful Girls"? Hmm. I guess a CD can only be so long. Maybe those fine tracks will make Volume Two. What's here is wonderful, by the way, and adequate proof that maybe Sammy wasn't such a bad choice after all. He may have a personality disorder, but he sure hits some nice notes every once in a while. Sadly (but not surprisingly), the only weak links on the CD are the two new ones with Dave singing; they start off GREAT, mind you, with some great Eddie riffage, but the actual melodies of the songs are awfully lame - almost non-existent, some might say. Dave sounds good though, and makes you the listener wish he'd stuck around a little longer. Ooh! And you know what else is good? "Humans Being"! That's a fantastic song! From the Twister soundtrack! With Sammy in there, but hardly singing much at all! Fantastic song! Buy it! Today! Send it to me! Mark Prindle! Do it! Today!
Reader Comments
I got this CD after listening to the entire Van Halen collection, and I must say that I was pretty pleased with it. Unfortunately, besides the fact that the choruses were accidentally reversed on "Runnin' with the Devil" (can you say "FIRED???"), this album really doesn't deliver any surprises to either the hardcore VH fan, nor the casual listener. I heard this album was originally going to be a double disc to fit all them DLR-era greats, but the band decided against it since they KNEW they only had "hits" with Sammy and nothing else. Think about it: There are PLENTY of Dave songs that coulda been added to this disc, but aside from "Good Enough" and "The Seventh Seal," there isn't much genius that can be found in the screechings of Mr. Hagar. As far as "Humans Being" goes, I have NO IDEA why it's on a "best of" collection. It's almost like Sammy masked his voice intentionally so people would think the song was by someone OTHER than Van Halen or fact, the other VH track on the Twister soundtrack, "Respect the Wind," was nominated for a Grammy! And so was "The Seventh Seal!" So why the hell aren't they on here when "Humans Being" is? Guess that's just the mystery of Van Halen. But the new Dave songs aren't too bad save for the lyrics..I dunno, it just seems like a hard sell to sing about the stuff from VH's first six albums when you're in your mid 40s. Drag that he left the band, tho. You should really start a DLR review page...he just released a Best Of *snicker* CD that I'm looking forward to picking up. (Daniel Reichberg)
What a surprise! I thought all Americans loved Sammy Hagar and preferred him to David Lee Roth. How wrong I was! Here in Europe (or at least in Sweden) Van Halen were hugely popular until Dave left. Their fans seemed to follow David after the split, and that's not very strange. 'Cause the hard rocking feeling and the will to experiment followed Dave, too. Eat 'em and Smile and Skyscraper are both fantastic masterpieces compared to the Van Hagar albums. Then it went downhill for Dave too...

I don't know if the Hagar lineup has ever toured Europe. If they have, they've probably played mid size theaters. No stadiums! Dave, on the other hand, made some very succesful European tours between (I think) '88 and '91. (Galen Clavio)
Sammy Hagar can siphon my gas tank as far as I'm concerned. "Right Now" is the only decent song he ever recorded, and they ruined that by selling it to Pepsi, those dweebs. Eddie can siphon my gas tank too, for being married to Valerie Burtinelli.
these guys suck.bunch of pretty boys who "roll around in money." (Scott)
Just an aside: Dave has written a so-so book called Crazy From The Heat that touches on the situations surrounding the reunion (I recommend it to fans of Dave - but there isn't a lot of info on VH). Let's just say that Eddie has always been a total pussy. Nowadays he's an egomaniacal pussy. They led Dave on for the publicity they could generate for the Best Of release. When Eddie saw that Dave might steal some of his spotlight, he put an end to what could have been a good reunion. What a pussy. (Joe)
The only reason to buy this album is for the two great new tracks with the great David Lee Roth Can't Get This Stuff No More and Me Wise Magic.Eddie said in a guitar magazine in late 1996 that Dave was finished, how does he explain Dave's great singing? he said he can't hit notes anymore.I'm a Singer myself and the two songs have some of Dave's best high notes ever.Think of what a great new album there could of been in 1997 instead of the horrible Van Halen 3 the other songs are great but there could of been more Dave era songs less Sammy. (Josh Cable)
Love Walks In. Eat my giant throbbing Internetcock, Pirndull. That song is the worst song ever. As for Hot For Teacher... for some reason, the pop minded retards who make up the record buying public think HFT is not nearly as good as Jump. Fuck them, HFT was the best single from 1984. Fuck them in the ass.

And Humans Being, while a Slammy song, just fucking rules over everything. You know what really sucks? Division Bell. THAT SUCKS COCKS.

I don't own this album, but I heard Me Wise Magic. Man, some classic VH right there. I haven't heard Can't Get This Stuff Anymore, but it's at least an interesting title. Can't get what stuff anymore, Dave? BRAINS? If you're coming back to VH, don't fuck it up. We saw the evidence on that MTV awards thing. Beck won an award, and Dave figured he was the center of attention anyway. Goodbye Dave. (John Cable)
Hey it's a week away from 2010 and do people still write comments for your reviews? Well me and my brother Josh who used to comment on reviews all the time back when we listened to music were reading some good old Prindle today, because your reviews are still great.

HOWEVER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! There was one glaring omission from your Van Halen reviews, and indeed the entire Van Halen page. Do a search for the word "tornado" on the Van Halen page, yes you Mark, or even anyone reading this. Go ahead do it. You will find the only reference is like some old ass one that Josh made, which was after we heard the tornado story. It seems no one has ever told "the tornado story" on your Van Halen page ever. It is time to finally right this wrong. Well actually it's about 5 years too late to right this wrong, but I guess it might as well be done. :(

A number of years ago my brother and I had heard the ultimate story, revealed by sammy himself in some music mag interview, that pretty much sums up sammy "shammy" "chamois" "the *red* roKKKer" "gaygar" hagar's career, aside from comparing him to a dumb permanent 12 year old, or comparing his =VH= \m/ career to turning the band from awesome groundbreaking rock music to Billy Joel adult contemporary pop garbitch. The story goes like this: Around the time they were doing the soundtrack to Twister, a movie about tornadoes (according to my spellchecker that's the plural), they were deciding, hey, what should we, VAN HALEN, have to say about tornadoes? Well actually no they were just going to write a song for the soundtrack, however there was a catch. It was Sammy's job to write the lyrics (I don't know why anyone on this planet would trust Sammy to write lyrics, his song lyrics are among the worst and unintentionally cheesiest in music history). Eddie sat Sammy down and told him straight out, "whatever you do, DO NOT WRITE A SONG ABOUT TORNADOES." The producer came in and talked to sammy and told him, do not under any circumstances come in and write a song about tornadoes. The late great Michael Crichton came in, ducked under the doorway (he was really tall), and said, "Mr. Red Rocker, whatever you do, please do not write a song about tornadoes." Stephen Spielberg came in and said "hey sammy, don't write a song about tornadoes okay?" It goes on like that. The point was, they had to tell sammy specifically not to write a song about tornadoes.

So, 15 minutes later, sammy comes out of his writing room and says HEY GUYS I WROTE AN AWESOME SONG, IT'S ABOUT TORNADOES.

So Eddie rewrote the song. The end.


Actual real story: I don't think Sammy was actually told not to write a song about tornadoes, although it's possible he was, but when he wrote the lyrics he made reference to "the suck zone" which he heard from seeing an early cut of the movie, one of the characters mentions it because it's in reference to a tornado, and sammy actually thought it was a really cool phrase, because he's like a 12 year old trapped in a 50 year old alcoholic's body. And it did lead to the lyrics being chopped out and Eddie rewriting the song himself.

Anyway this story, which is mostly embellished by my brother and I (our version is better than the real one I think), has colored our opinion of sammy for years, but to be honest I don't think it comes close to encapsulating the cliched self parody hack rock that sammy used to completely ruin a once original and great rock band. Although to be honest we do like "Humans Being," it's kind of a cool song. The end (for real). Here is a cat face to sign off with. :3

Add your thoughts?

3 - Warner Brothers 1998.
Rating = 2


I'll make this short. The guitar playing on this record is terrific. Eddie is playing very fluidly and also very interestingly. In and around the riffs, he does all sorts of great little things to keep the songs fresh and cool. It sounds like he actually loves playing the axe again. Unfortunately, that's the only good thing about this record. The melodies themselves are mostly pretty dull. Even that wouldn't matter if they'd had a great singer boosting the tunes like, oh I don't know, DAVID LEE ROTH, for example. He could have saved these tunes and made a lot of them sound like classics. Unfortunately (sigh), Eddie hired Gary Cherone.

Gary Cherone.

He could have hired basically any singer he wanted, and he chose Gary Cherone.

What can one say about Gary Cherone? Well, hmm. I guess one can say that he does the impossible, managing to make the listener NOSTALGIC for Sammy Hagar. Have you heard him? He may be a very nice guy, but this just has to be said. He fucking RUINS this record. The man sounds EXACTLY like Sammy Hagar, but more hoarse. HOW IS THAT EVEN POSSIBLE????? Atrocious, atrocious vocals. In all honesty, all joking aside, I cannot listen to more than about two songs without getting a headache because Gary's voice is so fucking annoying. RUINS the record. No, it was never going to be the best Halen record ever, but it could have at least been GOOD. A PLEASANT listen. But nope. Gary had to do his raspy high-pitched scream in every song and make it all sound like garbage. Now keep in mind that there are three other people in this band. How is it that at the end of the recording sessions, nobody turned to the others and said, "Say, you know..... this singer has a terrible voice."? From the second he opens his mouth in "Without You," it's obvious that he can't sing. Or rather, even if he CAN sing, he has chosen to YELL -- the same thing Sammy did that made the Van Hagar stuff so irritating to sit through. But this guy is a far cry from Sammy. At least at ONE point in his career, Sammy could at least hit lots of notes. This guy just grates. Like a knitting needle poking at your brain for 45 minutes. Awful. Just awful.

But like I said, Eddie sounds great on the guitar, and actually quite good in his vocal debut as well. After forty minutes of Ol' Yeller, Eddie's low-key "How Many Say I" is a nice respite. It's not that great a song, but at least his voice is pretty. As opposed to, oh let's say....

I know that my opinion means nothing, but it's my opinion, so I'm going to state it right here and now for you all to hear -- if they don't get rid of this Cherone guy and bring in somebody with a decent voice, I will never again even CONSIDER purchasing a new Van Halen album.

Reader Comments (Michael King)
VH III was probably the most anticipated hard rock release of the first 1/2 of 1998. The one thing that both Dave and Sam splinter groups could agree on was how badly VH Rev. 3 would suck. Wellll, boys n' girls, Mk. 3 doesn't suck.

Gary has more diverse talents than either previous lead singer. He can sound a whole lot like Sammy, a mix of Sam 'n' Dave, or Freddie Mercury (late of Queen). Diversity, however, does not always lead to greatness, as AC/DC have proved over the years. Gary's still not as cool as Dave.

On the bright side: Eddie has rediscovered how to play his guitar! Many cool guitar solos, especially that AC/DC ("Riff Raff") ripoff near the end of "Without You". On the not-so-bright side: he's forgotten how to write songs. Eddie kept rambling on Mattrock about how Gary handed him lyrics and he'd write music around them. This might be the problem. Who knows.

COOL! You can HEAR the bass! Neato! Kudos to the mix-maestros!

What this album, with a couple of excellent songs, has proven, is that VH is not dead. EVH, AVH, MA, and GC will get better as a unit, and turn out mo' bettah albums in the future. (Jason Fare)
Have you heard the new Van Halen disc? I picked it up today, and it is absolutely horrible. And I thought Balance was bad. Definitely the worst thing they've put out. Curious to know what you think about it. Gary C makes Sammy Hagar sound as good as Paul Rodgers. (Justin M. Tedaldi)
Geez, it TOOK you long enough to review this disc. Cherone is a total pussy and after reading CRAZY FROM THE HEAT I have but no choice to boycott Mock3 and whatever the hell this incarnation of Van Halen SHOULD be called for the rest of my days...I think a 5 is too lenient for this CD even though I've only heard half of it. Even Roth's solo stuff blows all this away, and he's pretty damn creative all by hisself, too. VH has now lost their fan base and if they ever hope to relive those days of yore they better learn how to bend over and kiss the mighty DLR's behind!
I have not heard all of this album, nor do I care to. But i have heard some, and what I have heard is so ugly it's almost unspeakable. "Without You" is horrible, I don't care what anyone says. Eddie may have all the technical skill in the world but the riffs here are just plain flat. Also the video for that song is unbelievably stupid. And Mark's right, Cherone does sound like Hagar except with less feeling and he should also be shot dead just for doing that Extreme song, "More than words can say". It was a low point in major label AOR rock. (Jari Pursininen
Van Halen 3 is a great record, because there's a band that plays as a TEAM. There is no such thing as a solo-artist in this band. Gary is a great live-performer, and he doesn't have a big EGO like a certain Mr. Hagar. At last we can listen to the VH-classics played live, when there's no more some shithead tellin' that "we should only play my songs, not DLR era classics" Thank God!! (Matt J. Wellner)
Y'know, I respect your opinion and all, you seem to know a lot. You're thorough, at least. But Van Halen? And you like Polvo? Eddie Van Halen is talented, but he's also really annoying. Van Halen's songs aren't the least bit creative, I don't think. And Michael Anthony is the least talented, most boring bassist in existance. Damn, he's more boring than Kim Gordon! (Keith Jones)
Someone said give peace a chance....... SOMEONE SAID KISS MY ASS GARY AND IT WAS ME WHO SAID IT EXTREME SUX VH3 SUX VH should just break up now or go solo(so low I can't hear them)
First off I will say the album SOUNDS good. Musically. Even Gary's vocals were not THAT bad but....Buy Dave's new album as well as Sammy's, even if their selling them out of the trunk of their cars. As for Van Halen....we got some great memories.
Eddie added some well-needed crunch to this album with "Fire In the Hole" but besides that track, it's total bullshit. It should be against the law for this to be packaged as Van Halen. Josefina? More like Crap-A-Fina. Saw em live in AZ over the summer: disappointed. Eddie, like always, was amazing, but what the fuck is this Cherone "I'm an androgynous ballerina" stageact? Give me a break. If you want to buy a VH album, this isn't the one. Buy one from the days when the name Van Halen meant something. Instead of buyin 3, go get dave's newest DLR Band. You'll get a little misty thinking about what Halen might be like if they still had balls. (Richard Hall)
Eddie has the spotlight no matter who has thier hands on the mic....P.S. dude face it now DLR is a has been .

A lot of people have a problem with change.I dont .I love Van Halen 3. It's about time they have a real singer . Music is great as usual. ROCK ON!!!!!
Yeah this album sucked as far as I could hear, and primarily because Cherrone is not right for the band, IMHO. So did Balance, and I'm a big Hagar fan (for that matter Extreme's last album was pretty bad too). That's not the point here though. I have GOT to take exception to this line from your review:

"He could have hired basically any singer he wanted, and he chose Gary Cherone."

Excuse me, but take a look-see at yer comments above, on EVERY record. I prefer to see the Roth-era and the Hagar-era as being 2 separate bands practically, but there are pot-shots left and right taken at both vocalists. Gonna have to agree with Thomas Hutley from the Balance review; the Van Halen camp has been a complete sideshow for years. Fuckin' YEARS!!!

Look at those slash-and-burn comments above and tell me: would YOU want to be VH's next singer? Not me, pal. Not for any amount of money. I have to admire Cherrone for his sheer balls; he must need a fuckin wheelbarrow to carry em around. (Ron & Bev)
Can we give VH3 a -10 score? My god! Gary's vocals ruin the album. Eddie should have just gone Satriani and done an all-insturmental album. Although, I might be a little biased, seeing how I have never liked Extreme. Now I know how everyone felt when they fired and replaced Roth. On retrospect, maybye he's not such a bad guy...
I'm not quite ready to review this album, but I just remembered something. It seems like one of these songs on this album steals DIRECTLY from a Queen tune. I think it was Now I'm Here (the Queen song). It just lasts for a second. I need to hear it again. And I'll send in my review in a few days.

(several months later)

Have you ever been touched Mark Prindle? Not Once? Whoa ohha....

I notice that you don't get much mail now. I sent my VH3 review a few months ago and it's still the last one there. Mwaha?

Anaywa, before I even bought this album (the only album that I bought used, EVER) I figured that I'd at least have your review in mind when listening to this album, since you're correct on so many Shammy tunes (nice rock songs for women and gays). And then I listened to Fire In the Hole.

I think you had (and still have) a very hard time getting over DLR's sorry replacement of 15 some years. But this whole album is better than 1984!

These songs are awesome! Ok, so WUNTS (Once) and Josephina and that other song are on the lighter side of guitar crap, but they're VERY EXPRESSIVE and they stick in the mind. Like any other good song. It's very odd for VH, but it comes off good. It's damn near futuristic.

The rockers not only are real rock songs, but they sound AWESOME. The acusticness of Dirty Water Dog complements the incledible energy, somehow. And I really don't see what's wrong with Gary;s voice. Hey, you probably can't scream loud like DLR. I don't think even DLR can do that anymore.

The only tune that is below average on this album is How Many Say I. It could have been some incredibly poetic thing, but instead is Eddie repeating the title for 3 minutes. This song really blows. And, it's about Eddie beating his wife.

No, just kidding. I might be correct, but it's not likely. I'd be more correct to say that in There's Only One Way to Rock, when Sammy sings about all the things that can get you high (and he'll try them all just once before he dies) that in the video, it shows him with a heroin needle stuck in his arm, as he close fisted punches out his 19 year old girlfriend. Or something. I really don't enjoy Sammy's "rock" songs anymore. They just seem so fake. Heavy Metal is not even close to being a heavy metal song.

But Van Halen 3 is great. The next album should be just as good. And to think that I was hoping they'd make a more rock oriented album in the future. I had not listened to the album at the time. As for you, Mr. Prindler, please FORGET THAT DLR WAS EVER BORN. Thank you. And Ballbreaker rules. (Joe)
This record was supposed to bomb after all the backlash on the David lee Roth/Sammy Hagar fights and it did and then Gary was axed, there are some good songs on here but Gary does not mix well with the band you know like the great David lee Roth and the bands vocal harmony just blended perfectly on the early albums that's not here at all, Without you is the only decent singing harmony I hear, the rest of the songs are missing something.Without You could of been a great song with Dave so could One I Want Or Fire In The Hole those are the 3 best songs the rest are annoying ballads i love ballads but Van Halen is or used to be a hard rock band Dave is not A hasbeen as someone said he can still sing the two songs on best of proved that and his recent Slam Dunk single showed he could still rock Eddie if you want to save the band from being a total joke swallow your pride and give Dave a call this record get's a 5 rating
First off, these guys have NOTHING to prove. Not cause they have been around 20 years or have sold 70 MILLION albums, but because they dont...period. their place in rock history is secure....Now, though eddies playin is very fluid and kick ass, this album was a mistake in the sense it was too much of a departure, especially being the debut with cherone...but hey, compare how many great albums van halen did to other bands like aerosmith, motley crue, or acdc....ALL those bands had shit albums too, more than vh. . Guns and roses made a career from 2 albums, appetite and use your illusion( which was a double cd sold seperate really)...Van Halen gave us Van Halen 1, Van Halen 2, Women and Children First, Fair Warning and 1984 as classics....Also, they HAD to change with Sam, or they would get reamed for gettin a dave imitator....5150, 0U812 and FUCK are cool records. That is more great albums than any of those other if they want to do something different ONE TIME, they have EARNED the right, idiots.........
Prindle, your ignorance when it comes to Van Halen is so absurd you should be ashamed of even taking credit to these reviews. First of all you say that Edward's guitar playing "went to crap" after Sammy joined the band. However, you are very wrong...actually listen to the guitar work on some great Sammy songs like Runaround, Summer Nights, and Judgement day just to name a few. This is the real deal...all three singers were great...thats undeniable...but each one had their "thing". The first era was all wicked crazy guitar work and (for the most part) nonsenscial lyrics. Sammy's era had song that had some MEANING to them...just about every Sammy Song had meaning to it...who cares if it was pop it still sounded great...Ed's guitar work may sound like his playing has gone downhill but my self being a guitarist, it is actually harder to play any Sammy song then a Dave short Prindle, you are a fool, you have an opinion but if these alblums are no good...then how come they keep selling out shows and selling millions of records...answer me that... (Josh Cable)
I just figured that I should add a few more comments.

I didn't like Extreme. I heard only one of their songs so far, sure. But it doesn't matter, VH3 is just great. It's really too bad that Gary's out now, because I was looking forward to the next album.

But you really can't blame him for leaving. The band was pretty much set up to be attacked. With the new lead singer, the world wouldn't accept anything but the greatest rock album of all time, and when they didn't get it, the album was shot down into dust. Dave and Sammy fans alike bashed the album, and made it tough for anyone afterwards to take the album seriously.

It's too bad people didn't start attacking the band during 5150. I mean sure they did, but VH just went on to become huge around the world, with their faggoty pointless ballads. No one gave VH3 a chance at all.

But then, popularity isn't a good gauge for talent nowadays. It just hasn't been the same since FM went to the corporations and Kiss became huge, and then solidified with MTV and VH1. (mello)
So this is what the end sounds like…actually, you can hear the seeds of this disaster way back in OU812, and it’s really been down hill since, but who would have thought VH would come up with this clunker? Don’t get me wrong; Alex and Michael are super-professionals, and I would rank ‘em as one of the best rhythm units in the history of rock. Eddie? Well, 23 years after he burst on the scene he’s still a guitar god, a legend of the instrument. But anyone who listens to this album can tell that the FIRE is gone. Sad, but true. So-so production, very professionally played, and some nice riffs and hooks, but there’s no LIFE to the songs. I’m not gonna bash Gary, just ‘cause this gig was way beyond his talent, and hey, the guy tried. But even if VH had DLR back, heck, even if VH hired Placido Domingo to sing, I’m afraid the results would be the same.

Actually, the one moment in this sorry mess that sounds somewhat interesting is when Eddie sings! Hey, maybe that’s the answer to the singing problems! I mean, Hendrix and Clapton did it, why not Eddie VH? But seriously, the good news is that I think Van Halen has one more comeback up their sleeve, one more dazzling piece of work that will shut the critics and put the band on top of the world once again. And I hope it’s soon, ‘cause I want to see a son of Van Halen 1 before the 30th anniversary of that masterpiece...
You guys are a fuckin joke.You keep referring to heavy metal,well whether you like it or not metal is dead.Thats rite DEAD,that's why you get bands like ratt and motley crue playing in fromt of 5oo people these days.Now as 4 van halen,gee 70 million records,one of the greatest guitarists on earth,and 3 yes 3 singers that have contributed to one of the worlds finest bands.Oh and they did make a few lame albums,but what the fuck have you dickheads made.....I don't see you guys playing in front of 15,000 people each nite.So whether your from america,germany ,or antartica,stop being an armchair critic if you got no talent yourself,you fuckin losers.A S FOR van halen 3,it wasnt that bad,there were some good tunes,its just that u people dont like change.Without u,one i want,from afar and josephina were good songs.Not the best vh cd but a 6/10 isnt bad....oh and balance,5150,fuck,1984,fairwarning,vh,were all good albums,otherwise they wouldnt be driving fancy cars and living in mansions,GET THAT ARMCHAIR CRITICS....VAN HALEN ROCKS
I simply cannot beleive that Van Halen are held in such esteem with you boys in the big country across the pond. Hey! That Dave Lee Roth! What a crazy arse guy! Crazy my foot. He's pretend crazy, you know, like 'look at me, I'm just mad' in a not so mad way.

Van Halen are a bunch of arse, sad perm rock (yes, even with non mad 'Diamond Dave'), and as far as I'm concerned they can take a running 'jump' (ha ha. Getit?).

As for Eddie, good guitarist, l'm sure, but I think he needs to get down to the crossroads to his his soul for some proper licks, none of this speedy clean shite. Hmm. If you get what I mean.

Apart from VH, your website (ahem) rules. (James Rowlee)
man I gave up on vanhalen after ou812.

I have been witlessly amused by eddie and his dave hatings and have been amused by dave and his I do not have a need to over shadow anyone thingy......

as for sammy, damn it, he was great in montrose and he was pretty damn good as a soloist why in they hell did he even bother joining vanhalen ???

I did read something interesting about a year before he joined and he stated that he was pissed that montrose never was highly successful as vanhalen and he always wanted that huge success to qualify his aspirations as a musical star....


Now he is just a power pop singer with no soul (matt)
Hey, Mark Triall or whatever your name is, take your pretty boy limey Brit bands and shove them up your ass. Van Halen is a good band. I'm so sorry that they just happened to be from the United States. I'm sure you'd probably like them if they were British. Idiot.

Stop saying EVH "has no soul"! That is so stupid! You don't need to be "soulful" to be a great guitar player! What, you're just jealous because he can play "Eruption" and you can't?

As for the album, well, Fire In The Hole and Without You were good, but some of the songs (How Many Say I in particular) were just embarrassing. Overall, I agree with you, Mark, on the 5 out of 10 grade. (Eric B.)
i only heard i think one song from this, but i mostly am astonished by this guy. he obviously only read this one review you wrote and thought you hated the band because you obviously love lots of van halen's music. he ignores this, making himself an ass in the process. FUN.
Eric B, I am appalled with your utter stupidity. If you had actually READ my message you would have seen that I was responding to Mark Triall, not Prindle. Besides, at the end of my message I stated that I AGREED with Prindle on the 5 out of 10 grade. Then again, however, I can't expect too much from a guy who doesn't know that HE SHOULD PUT CAPITAL LETTERS AT THE BEGINNING OF EACH SENTENCE!!!!! BUT THEN AGAIN HE'S PROBABLY SOME TEN YEAR OLD WITH NO CONCEPT OF PROPER GRAMMAR!!

Anyway, enough about that idiot, onto the album. Mark, I have been listening to this more frequently lately, and my opinion has changed (read: not for the better!). I used to think "Fire In The Hole" had an awesome riff until I realized that it was strikingly similar to Cabo Wabo. Without You would probably be much better if it didn't drag on for six and a half minutes, and One I Want has the potential to be great (love that opening riff!), but ends up royally sucking the bag largely due to Cherone's moronic "free association" lyricism: "Superman, he looking for Lois?" What the eff?

The rest is pretty dull and uneventful. I always thought "Once" sounded like Seal was on vocals (at least in the verses). So I have decided to lower my grade to a 3 out of 10. A far cry from the glory days, and even though they're back together (with Sammy), I still pretty much consider this record to be the ultimate "undoing" of this once legendary band.
Oh yeah, I like these guys, they didn't take themselves too seriously (at first). But, what the hell? Sammy Hagar? And what's his name? No! You gotta have David!

I’ve often wondered at Mark Prindle’s rating plunge for Van Halen’s catalog post 1984. There seems to be rampant Dave bias afloat here; I mean a 9/10 for Diver Down? If one was constructing a Van Dave single disc compilation, there’d be only one tune from that rip-off and, naturally, it’s a cover. III sides to every story, Mr. Cherone? Not according to Prindle who just sees Dave. Then it hit me. I know people come to this site for state-of-the-art graphics (if graphic design theory had peaked in 1996) but have you actually read the reviews? Mark’s penchant for the exclamation point is staggering. Have you taken the time to peruse the Dave-penned Van Halen song titles? Do you see where I’m going with this? I’ll give you a few minutes.

“Bottoms Up!” “Everybody Wants Some!!” “Sinner’s Swing!” Has any rock group punctuated like Dave-era Van Halen? There is a flood of not only exclamation points but commas, question marks and apostrophes. Dave even adds an unnecessary and incorrect exclamation point to the Kink’s “Where Have All the Good Times Gone!” Then Dave goes, takes his Composition 101 skills and Prindle’s heart with him. Sure there’s a token question mark in 5150 but that’s not nearly enough for Mark and Van Halen’s ratings suffer accordingly. It’s obvious Dave and Mark bonded through their mutual punctuation fetish and Prindle cannot review Van Halen in an objective manner. Case closed and good night.

Yet is it fair of me to make harsh accusations without – as they say in “Law & Order” – corroborating evidence? I scanned my music collection looking for another possible participant in Prindle’s punctuation passion when I ran across my ABBA cds. Uh … I mean to say my sister’s ABBA cds she left at my house. My God, ABBA is to commas what David Lee Roth is to the exclamation point. “Ring, Ring” “Another Town, Another Train” “Nina, Pretty Ballerina” and that’s just the first album. There’s seven more just like that. I would like to formally request Mr. Prindle review the ABBA catalog in order to prove my theory. Just the sight of song titles such as “Gimme! Gimme! Gimme!” will remind him of old pleasures like “Tora! Tora! Tora!” ( I know there’s only two uses of Tora in the actual title but my story is better with three) that he’ll give Voulez-Vous the 10/10 and that’s the disco album.

English grammar and punctuation is difficult and confusing. I’m guessing most of the time if a comma is appropriate and completely helpless with semicolons and colons. But Mark Prindle knows punctuation. David Lee Roth did as well and goshdarnit, so does ABBA!
This album with Gary Cherone, I think should not have been made. Ok, I haven't heard the whole thing except for the main single but I keep seeing it in the bargain bins. That doesn't give me any confidence to pick it up to have a listen. I was thinking, if getting a vocalist was so difficult and instead if following a worn out commercial approach, they could have done a three-piece band instrumental freak out album. Just tune after tune of wicked guitar playing. That would be a challenge as the music really has to stand up without having to rely on the lyrics. I wonder why Joe Satriani and Eddie haven't done any collaborations together. No sign of Eddie doing those G3 tours. That would be incredible - Satch, Eddie and Vai. But fuck it. A few weeks ago, Twister was on TV. The end credits rolled and there was Eddie's solo. Great playing but the tone was just HORRIBLE. Eddie, please.....just lose some (or a lot) of those effects like the chorussing and the delays. Just a bit of reverb and the good ol' brown sound. You do remember, don't you??
Right, I'm stoopid enuff to be spending part of T-day thinking about some forgotten "loser" record made 10 years ago. Wouldn't Lester Bangs be proud? Eh, Cherone does NOT sound like Sammy; sing along with "Without You," easily enough dispatched, then just TRY to wrap your esophagus around "Dreams." The gimmick with 3 was VH reinvented as "grunge." It's gotta be intimidating trying to stay on top ~ 20 years on. First, VH weathered birth during New Wave (and it was exactly DLR's flip unsentimental foolishness permitting VH their initial dollop of cool) then VH entered, and survived, the Clear Channel era with Sammy's "everyman" projection of power mush (and his vocal range enabled Eddie to write bigger melodies) but, then, boom, along came grunge and Balance + "Humans Being" made it clear that Sammy was too "sincere" to go the next route ~ namely, DOWN. Presto, "Without You" solved some modern problems! Eddie's alcoholic deterioration became an asset, the guitar had to be less tricky flashy and the songwriting less determinate. That said, "Without You" IS symmetrical (and emotionally cohesive: an extension of the smudgy solo on "Why Can't This Be Love?") ~ full of uneasy hooks, sick riffs, ingenious releases leading towards a big fat chorus. A hit record! Superficially, it's in your face punky (give credit to Mike Post, an unlikely choice for crafting a gutbucket sound), made plausible by Cherone's commendable narrative. Artless yelling hit the spot. A respectable career capper! Ridiculous video, too. Alas, the rest of the album was much less. There's boffo guitar everywhere ~ Eddie finally gets it ON without without a million stomp boxes; compare the slide on "Ballot or the Bullet" with "A Apolitical Blues") ~ but, wow, all the melodic ideas were crammed into the single. Cheron didn't conjure any counterpoints elsewhere, boo hoo. Still, there's guitar experiments, however unrequited, which is a better deal than 10 tracks of "Fire In the Hole" which is just half of 5150 ralphed up for the radio. All in all, Eddie overshot ~ a right, I believe, he EARNED after all those years delivering golden eggs to the industry. And you and me. Nothing undignified with going out with a Let it 3e, leave 'em NOT wanting more, that's how to escape the punishing, impossible expectations of rockstardom and ease into a Claptonesque statespersonship. So ~ yo, Eddie, THANK YOU ... for giving 'til, well, 'til you had nothing left for us. He gave us his ALL, that's what 3 is about.

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