Van Halen

Van Halen - 1984

Van Halen is a monolithic rock band from California that got their start in the late seventies.  Their contributions to the rock world have been immense.  Eddie Van Halen’s ground breaking guitar licks have influenced a vast majority of the people that play rock guitar today.  It’s only fitting that Van Halen was originally fronted by an equally explosive front man(to Eddie’s chagrin) by the name of David Lee Roth.  His stage presence is legendary, yelling, yelping, crazy antics, the hole nine.  You put these two together with some solid musicians behind them and you’ve got the stuff rock legends are made of.

There are two types of Van Halen people in this world.  You have the people that prefer the Van Halen with David lee Roth and then you’ve got the people that just love Van Halen regardless.  Personally, I am of the former.  While I value Van Halen’s musical contributions since David Lee Roth left the band, for me something was lost when he left.  A certain spark, a certain magic.  Van Halen with Roth at the helm was a rock in roll machine.  The singers after that, while all accomplished in their own right, played second fiddle to Roth’s lead vocal prowess.

Van Halen’s primary line up goes like this, Eddie Van Halen(guitar), Alex Van Halen(drums) and Michael Anthony(bass).  They have had two long term singers, David Lee Roth and Sammy Hagar.  There have been other members but I won’t go into the short term people mainly because for those that don’t know Van Halen has had a pretty dramatic existence with Eddie constantly kicking people out, letting them back in, finding new people, kicking them out, going back to old members, etc.  It’s just crazy. David Lee Roth, their first singer who was kicked out in 1985 was allowed back in in 2006 twenty one years after his initial departure.  As of right now Michael Anthony is out of the band and Eddie has his teenage son playing with them, yeeesh.   So to list everyone with the years they participated would get tedious.

If you can’t get the message I’m putting across yet, Van Halen’s music (more so their first batch of albums) was fantastically rocking.  Eddie’s guitar licks truly have an otherworldly quality.  As I understand Eddie was never formally taught to play the guitar and without that constraint his rockin mind knew no limitations as what could be done with it.  Eddie was a front runner of his balls-to-the-wall style of rock guitar.  A style that has been duplicated (with varying degree of success) countless times through the years.

Van Halen’s releases look like this.  I’ll mark them by singer to make reference easier.  Fortunately for me many of the “in-between” singers didn’t record an album, made this research a bit easier.  MWooo!!!  Owww!!!y faves are the first two.

1) Van Halen [David Lee Roth-1978]
2) Van Halen II [David Lee Roth-1979]
3) Women and Children First [David Lee Roth-1980]
4) Fair Warning [David Lee Roth-1981]
5) Diver Down [David Lee Roth-1982]
6) 1984 [David Lee Roth-1983]
7) 5150 [Sammy Hagar-1986]
8) OU812 [Sammy Hagar-1988]
9) For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge [Sammy Hagar-1991]
10) Balance [Sammy Hagar-1995]
11) Van Halen III Gary Cherone-1998]

1 comment to Van Halen

  •  potato

    I had every VH album (pre-Cherone) on cassette. I played those cassettes in my mono-speaker, top-loading tape deck on a non-stop loop for most of my childhood. I loved VH. I lvoed Van Halen and Van Hagar equally; I didn’t discriminate. That said, the Cherone era was just bloody awful.

    Most of my early music memories are tied to VH and I listened to them constantly. When I wasn’t listening, I was imitating Alex on the drums. Sadly, my 5-piece kit wasn’t quite big enough to cut the 20+ sound of Alex’s and hanging a dented cymbal on a coat hanger yields a less than pleasant sound.

    These days, I have only have 2 albums on my ipod: 5150, and Diver Down. Diver Down was and has remained my favorite VH album to date.

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