Category: Van Halen

Van Halen – Women and Children First

ARTIST: Van Halen                 220px-Van_Halen_-_Women_and_Children_First

TITLE: Women and Children First

YEAR RELEASED: 1980

CHART ACTION: #6 US, #15 UK

SINGLES: And the Cradle Will Rock… (#55 US)

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Everybody Wants Some!!

LINEUP: David Lee Roth, Eddie Van Halen, Alex Van Halen, Michael Anthony. Nicolette Larson sings backup on “Could This Be Magic?”

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Their songwriting has improved, but it still seems too short .

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: There’s eight listed tracks, though one is an intro, and another (“Fools”) has a long intro as well. The songs, though, are almost as good as their debut album – with no covers and somewhat enhanced sonic range.

Eddie Van Halen’s electric piano adds depth to “And the Cradle Will Rock…” There’s some good work in incorporating acoustic guitars into their repertoire on the second side, and while many of the tracks are party songs, at least one sounds like they’re kickin’ it on the back porch and it doesn’t sound half bad.

Still, it just seems too short. I think leaving them waiting for more is a great idea, but I really want more, especially since some of my favorite Van Halen deep cuts are on this one.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: “In a Simple Rhyme” ends with a track called “Growth”, which was faded out until this album was released on CD. It was a way to start a jam or a medley into other songs on tour. Also, almost every live clip of “Romeo’s Delight” has Roth forgetting the second verse.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No 

GRADE: B+: Savant David Lee Roth said “Everybody Wants Some!!” but I want more than this album gave me.

Van Halen – Van Halen II

ARTIST: Van Halen                van_halen_-_van_halen_ii-1

TITLE:  Van Halen II

YEAR RELEASED: 1979

CHART ACTION: #6 US, #23 UK

SINGLES: Dance the Night Away (#15), Beautiful Girls (#84)

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Van Halen fans know it

LINEUP: David Lee Roth, Alex Van Halen, Eddie Van Halen, Michael Anthony

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: The second album blues strikes Van Halen. While some songs are top notch, the record reveals shortcomings that would plague the band going forward.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: It was going to be hard to follow up their debut album, but when “Dance the Night Away” came out as a single, there was hope the second album would reach the heights of the first.

That was a perfect pop metal tune, and while other songs were almost as fantastic, there wasn’t enough good tunes to outweigh the issues. Mainly, there wasn’t enough songs to make it worthwhile, and a couple three tracks were blatant filler.

Van Halen would never be prolific in their early days, releasing short albums and / or plenty of covers. While there are some good to great songs here, it’s not an essential release.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: They thanked the Sheraton in Madison after they trashed the seventh floor during a tour stop.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No

GRADE: B-:  Too short, too much reliant on filler. A shame since there’s some good stuff here.

Van Halen – Van Halen

ARTIST: Van Halen                                  Van_Halen_album

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…