1. Runnin’ with the Devil
3. You Really Got Me
4. Ain’t Talkin’ ‘Bout Love
5. I’m the One
6. Jamie’s Cryin’
7. Atomic Punk
8. Feel Your Love Tonight
9. Little Dreamer
10. Ice Cream Man
11. On Fire
If you’re into rock you defiantly know Van Halen. Although, did you know that Eddie Van Halen first played the drums while his brother Alex bashed out the music on guitar? Dave Lee Roth auditioned for the brothers but was initially turned down, yet he was to become the front man with charisma. Michael Anthony was to join later to complete this classic line up as bass player.
Gene Simmons of Kiss saw Van Halen perform in 1977 and financed their second demo. Warner Bros representative saw them play life and offered Van Halen a contract. Within a week the deal was done.
The self-titled album Van Halen took one week to record the guitar parts and an additional two for the vocals. There is little overdub on this recording with mistakes left to be true to life. No computerised auto tune hear.
The intro alone is to die for. Then a solid rhythm guitar with lead galore and a rock steady beat from the Alex and Michael. Yet it’s the vocals that make this song the leader of this album while Runnin’ With The Devil. Every rock guitarist tries to imitate this and has never been surpassed since. It’s the sear power as you can hear the distortion due to the loudness. Need I say more than Eruption?
You Really Got Me by The Kinks is a classic that the band simply improves and Eddie shows his true colours. Vocally provocative in a down right sexy way.
Eddie Van Halen took the eras guitar effects and used them with taste. Lots of classic slides with entwined use of whammy bars and phrasing that a deaf man would appreciate. The subtle use of his guitar volume controls the difference between clean and power sounds. This is one of the view tracks that Eddie overdubs with such an effect that it keeps you hooked, Ain’t Talkin’ ‘Bout Love.
Powerhouse riffing all the way then into melodic explosion on I’m The One. This in its time was an aerobics work out on the guitar. What is over looked hear is Michael’s bass work and the influence of early 60’s rock ‘n’ roll had on the band. It’s classy.
Jamie’s Cryin’ the ballad of the album. Although the guitar dominates it’s the vocal work that makes this song. Then there is Micheals bass work that is equal to Eddies guitar work throughout.
Atomic Punkis a fantastic guitar whammy song with lots of flange. This is the weakest song on the album but if this were my weakest I would be chuffed.
Do they take it a little to far? Na, Feel For Your Love Tonight will not send you cold with the vocal harmonies. It was the anthem down at Rebels in Sheffield at that time of night when you new you were going home alone.
Little Dreamer is the blues song of the album where your realism of the world comes to light. Did you succeed or did you burn out attempting to fulfil your goals?
It’s a nice classical guitar Ice Cream Man but the flavour soon changes to a glorious slap in the face. Dave is vocally in charge on this song then Eddie adds the syrup.
On Fire reminds me of Deep Purple vocally but Eddie again makes more noise than the proverbial screeching witch chanting the enchanting rhyme.
To be honest I was not impressed when I first heard this album. It was not until round 1984 that us Brits were introduce to this album. This was in a time of political meltdown, hardcore punk, and the beginnings of thrash metal in the Uk. Then there was Van Halen’s appearance at Monsters of Rock that change the way I perceived this fantastic band.
Beg, steal or borrow this album. It’s a must.
review by Daz