ARTIST: Van Halen
TITLE: Van Halen
YEAR RELEASED: 1978
CHART ACTION: #19 US, #34 UK
SINGLES: You Really Got ME (#36 US), Runnin’ with the Devil (#84 US, #52 UK), Ain’t Talkin’ ‘Bout Love
OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: This is the one with Erupton, Ice Cream Man, Jamie’s Crying, etc.
LINEUP: David Lee Roth, Eddie Van Halen, Alex Van Halen, Michael Anthony.
WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Party hearty band starts the party, heartily.
SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: The sound of an incoming train, thumps from the bass, then a crackling guitar sound, then…the band roars in. And sooner or later, here comes Diamond Dave, and Van Halen is born (at least on record).
This album is kind of a rite of passage for any teenager from 1978 through, well, maybe today (especially the stoners and burnouts). It’s got pert near everything – riffs, swagger, solos, melodies and pop sensibility, and most of all, danger. The danger is that the band, especially Mr. Roth, could teeter over drunk at any time, or chase your girlfriend around, or do all kinds of unsavory deeds.
The secret weapon is the pop sheen they put to metal? Yes, pop sheen. Songs like “Jamie’s Cryin’”, “Feel Your Love Tonight”, “On Fire”, “Ain’t Talkin’ ‘Bout Love”, etc. have very much a pop element to it, from the choruses to Roth’s vocal delivery and lack of seriousness, to Anthony’s counter-melodies on the bass (especially on a song like “Atomic Punk”), to Eddie Van Halen’s sense of how much to play and how much to hold back, at least this time.
NOTES & MINUTIAE: “Ice Cream Man” was an old Chicago blues song written by John Brim.
IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No
GRADE: A: Pass the ditch week and the Stroh’s…