Van Halen - wow!
When I first heard that intro to "Ain't Talking 'Bout Love" I knew a hard rock/metal revolution was on. I had not heard a guitar sound like that before - that's why in my opinion - I think Van Halen (well really the guitar stylings of Eddie) modernised hard rock/metal.
Why do I say that - well I am no expert on the matter - but when I listen to the classic hard rock artists like Led Zeppelin and Sabbath - they were awesome and they obviously laid the ground work and grid for rock and rock musicians - these were the pioneers.
But Van Halen - took what was already done and made it - well - stylish? - fun and edgy. The sound of Eddie's guitar seemed "less fuzzy" - played more rythmic - and sounded like they were having fun!
Van Halen - brothers Alex and Eddie, Mike the bassist and of course - the lovable frontman with his wild and crazy stage antics - David Lee Roth. The chemistry of these four contributed as much to their sound and to their success.
The 70's saw Van Halen release two albums - "Van Halen" in 1978 and "Van Halen II" in 1979. I have both of these albums on vinyl and they are awesome.
Van Halen (the album) did not crack Top 10 in the US (it peaked at number 19), and had some really great tracks on it from that killer intro on "Eruption" (try playing air guitar to this one); to the Kink's re-make of "You Really Got Me" and my favorite Van Halen song - "Ain't Talking 'Bout Love". This album also had "Runnin' With the Devil" and "Jamie's Crying" (both also rock classics).
For me - this remains Van Halen's best album!
Debut album giving the band their first Top 40 single with the remake of the Kink's "You Really Got Me" - 1978
Van Halen II was released in 1979 - it had the Top 20 hit "Dance the Night Away". I was not too keen on this album but it was also still a good one.
The 80's saw Van Halen release six albums. I will only focus on some of the bigger ones. The 80's was the play ground of Van Halen - they had the most #1's on the Mainstream Rock Charts and they also had the most Top 10 hits than any other hard rock/metal artist in the 80's. It might also be safe to say that Van Halen was probably the biggest selling rock band in the 80's for both albums and concerts.
In 1984 - the band was pushed to super stardom with the release of "1984", which was named after the "George Orwell" novel of the same name. This album gave Van Halen their first and only number 1 hit single - "JUMP" (which can still be heard at any 80's party and also on rock radio still today). The album also had two other Top 20 singles - "I'll Wait" and "Panama".
"Hot For Teacher" was also on this album - and although it did not hot Top 40 (it got as high as # 56) - it was regarded as one of the best rock videos of all time (per MTV).
10 millions sold
1984 (album) was also the last album that saw the original line up. Soon after this David Lee Roth (rather unpleasantly) left and was replaced by Sammy Haggar (YEAH BABY!).
My man Sammy!
Now - this is obviously debatable but I prefered Sammy as a front man - his voice was rockin' and he gave Van Halen that harder rock edge - and he was also a good frontman and was great at the power ballads (which was all so big in the 80's).
Sammy also lead Van Halen in the 80's with a number of great albums and singles. Following 1984 was the release of "5150" (released in 1986) - the band seemed to stay with the numbers for a while. It gave the band another Top 10 hit with "Why Can't This Be Love".
At this time as well - the band was huge on MTV.
In 1988 - "OU812" was released - it gave the band another Top 10 hit with "When It's Love" - my favorite since "Ain't Talking 'Bout Love" as well as some more Top 40 hits.
This was the band's last album in the 80's. So just to summarise - the band was big in the 70's with a killer launch of their debut in 1978. Eddie's unique style was a prototype for modern hard rock/metal acts that followed in the 80's. But with two successful release in the 70's the band dominated the rock and pop charts in the 80's scoring a number 1 single - Jump which stayed 6 weeks at the Top and also scoring the band 10 million copies on the album 1984.
With David being replaced by Sammy - the band continued with major successes and album sales during the 80's was about 30 million. The band also had the most number 1 mainstream rock tracks and probably were the biggest selling rock band of the 80's (taking record and concert sales together).
With that said - it shows the amazing track record of the band - the 90's started off pretty good with the album whose album title I absolutely love "For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge" - figure it out!
The band did not have a Top 10 in the 90's but they won "Video of the Year" on the VMA's for "Right Now". Sammy eventually left and was replaced by the former lead singer of rock band "Extreme" - Gary Cherone.
In conclusion here are my Top 5 Van Halen songs:
5. Black and Blue (why - it's sexy baby!)
4. You Really Got Me (why - they "modernised" the guitars on this classic"Kinks" track!)
3. Jump (why - it's a classic baby)
2. When It's Love (why - it's a rock ballad and it's sung by Sammy!)
1. Ain't Talking 'Bout Love (why - it has one of the most amazing guitar intros - ever!)
Thanks Peeps - next stop - Starship or Jefferson Airplane or Jefferson Starship.