Tag Archives: Van Halen

Van Halen – A Different Kind of Truth


A Different Kind of Truth, Van Halen’s long awaited studio album – their first since 1998’s Van Halen III – was released this week. This was the band’s first full album with David Lee Roth as the singer since the legendary 1984. Needless to say, this has been a highly anticipated album.

And was this album worth the wait!!!

I know Van Halen fans can be divided between David Lee Roth and Sammy Hagar. Just to tell you where I’m coming from, I happen to love both incarnations of the band.

Van Halen’s self titled debut album, and 5150 are two of my all-time favorite albums.

If you like your Van Halen with keyboards and ballads, this album is not for you. But, if you are a fan of old school Van Halen – specifically pre-1984 – then you will love this album. If you told me that this album was released in the late ’70s/early ’80s I may believe you. And by that, I mean that Van Halen’s work is timeless, not dated. A Different Kind of Truth is all rock songs, without a ballad to be found. David Lee Roth may seem crazy sometimes, but he really has taken care of his voice. He sounds as great now as he did 30-35 years ago! And Eddie is still bringing it on guitar. He is just brilliant. And Alex is incredible on drums. And this is the first album that Eddie’s bassist son, Wolfgang Van Halen, appeared. I thought that I would miss Michael Anthony and his harmonies. But, that wasn’t the case. He definitely has his father’s genes!

So, to summarize, Van Halen is back with a re-energized vengeance! At least until they implode again. If you are on the fence about whether to get this album or not, and you are a fan of Van Halen’s early stuff, let me give you a push, – GET IT, and enjoy the ride! You won’t be sorry.

“Tatoo” may have been the first song released from the album, but it is not my favorite on the album. Here is a list of some of my favorite songs from A Different Kind of Truth:

1. Blood and Fire

2. Stay Frosty

If you like “Ice Cream Man” from Van Halen’s debut album, then you’ll love this. It is in the same format, but turned up a notch.

3. As Is

I love this song too. I couldn’t find a full version yet though. So here is a preview:

4. Tatoo

Remember That Song? – 9/7/11

Can you name the artist and song and complete the lyrics:

Just when I thought I finally learned my lesson well,
There was ____ __ ____ ____ _____ ___ ___


Yesterday’s: “Hot for Teacher” by Van Halen:

I think of all the education that I’ve missed
But then my homework was never quite like this

Hits of 1986 – Horrible and Great

On January 11, 2010 Stuck in the 80s released their Horrible Hits of 1985 Podcast (Episode 187). Here is their list:

10. We Don’t Have to Take Our Clothes Off – Jermaine Stewart
9. Stuck With You – Huey Lewis and The News
8. Spies Like Us – Paul McCartney
7. All Cried Out – Lisa Lisa and Cult Jam With Full Force
6. Sleeping Bag – ZZ Top
5. Love Touch – Rod Stewart
4. Crush On You – The Jets
3. Holding Back the Years – Simply Red
2. Broken Wings – Mr. Mister
1. That’s What Friends Are For – Dionne Warwick and Friends

You can see the top 100 hits from Billboard that year.

This was another tough one for me. I didn’t have too much of a problem with the Horrible songs. But there were so many songs that I liked, I had a hard time narrowing it down. If I compiled a list again for this year next week, there could be 10 totally different songs on the list. But, this is what I have right now.
First, the Horrible:

5. Kiss – Prince and The Revolution

I think that only dogs can hear Prince singing this song. It is waaaay to high pitched for me, and gives me quite the headache. I much prefer his Purple Rain songs, and a few others. But this song just goes right through me.

4. Take My Breath Away – Berlin/h3>

The Top Gun soundtrack had some great songs, such as Kenny Loggins’ “Danger Zone”, “Playing With the Boys” (despite the association with that horrific volleyball scene in the movie), and Loverboy’s “Heaven in Your Eyes”. This Berlin song just ruins the whole thing. It’s long, boring, droning song. “Heaven In Your Eyes” should have been the only ballad on this soundtrack – unless they got Soundtrack King Kenny Loggins to record one.

3. Stuck With You – Huey Lewis and The News:

This song spent 3 weeks at number 1! Are you kidding me!?! I think they were still be rewarded for their Sports album. This song was off of the Fore album. For me, “Stuck With You” feels like “If This Is It, Part 2”. And if you look at my list of 1984 Horrible Hits, you will notice that I didn’t think too much of that song either.

2. Sledgehammer – Peter Gabriel

Much like Dire Straits’ “Money For Nothing”, this song was probably a huge hit because of it’s innovative video. This song was way too overrated. I love Gabriel’s “In Your Eyes”, but I could never change the station fast enough when this crappy song came on.

1. Nikita – Elton John

I love a lot of Elton John’s songs. But, he also has many horrible songs. And this clunker is the bottom of the barrel for me. I like some of Elton’s 80s songs. But it’s songs like “Nikita” that make me prefer his songs from the ’70s.

And here are the Great hits of 1986:

10. Burning Heart – Survivor: This song was on the Rocky IV Soundtrack. It wasn’t as big a hit as “Eye of the Tiger”, but it’s still a really good song. Great for working out or running to at the time.

9. Something About You – Level 42: Level 42 is a very underrated English band. This is their best known song in the U.S., and I still like it today.

8. Why Can’t This Be Love – Van Halen: This was the first Van Halen song with Sammy Hagar as the lead singer. They proved that they could be successful without David Lee Roth. There was not a bad song on the 5150 album. And “Why Can’t This Be Love” proved that they could perform great ballads as well as rockers.

7. No One Is to Blame – Howard Jones: This is a nice song that is easy on the ears.

6. Your Love – The Outfield: The Outfield’s popularity exploded in the U.S. with the release of this song. This is a fun song that I enjoy a lot.

5. All I Need Is A Miracle – Mike + The Mechanics

This Supergroup was formed by Mike Rutherford of Genesis, and featured Paul Carrack and Paul Young (not to be confused with the Paul Young who sang “Every Time You Go Away”) on vocals. This is a really good, upbeat song. “The Living Years” is probably my favorite song from the ’80s, but this song isn’t too bad itself.

4. Amanda – Boston

After having a string of great songs in the late ’70s, Boston hadn’t had anything new for 7 years. Then they finally came back in 1986 with their Third Stage album, and “Amanda” was the lead single. The song went number one for 2 weeks in a row. Boston was consistenly great, and this is no exception.

3. When the Going Gets Tough, the Tough Get Going – Billy Ocean

“When the Going Gets Tough, the Tough Get Going” was the theme song for the Romancing the Stone sequel, Jewel of the Nile. Billy Ocean has a great voice, and this was a fun song.

2. You Give Love a Bad Name – Bon Jovi

Bon Jovi was a pretty good rock band, with two albums under their belt, when they released Slippery When Wet. When “You Give Love a Bad Name” was released as the first single, the band’s popularity went through the stratosphere. This was a great song as people that were into rock liked it, and people that were more into pop were still drawn to this.

1. Glory of Love – Peter Cetera

I was always a Chicago fan, so I was sad when Cetera left the band. But the band went on to continue being successful, and Peter Cetera didn’t do to shabby himself. “Glory of Love” was Cetera’s first solo song, and it was a smash hit. It was on his album Solitude/Solitaire, and was the theme song for The Karate Kid Part II. I could not get enough of this song when it came out.

Return the Song, Artist and Lyrics…And Movie

The following lyrics are from a movie soundtrack. Do you know the Song, Artist, Movie, and can you finish the lyric?

I can see a new horizon underneath the blazing sky
I’ll be where the eagle’s flying higher and higher
Gonna be your man in motion, all I need __ _ ____ __ ______


Here is yesterday’s…

Ah, can’t you see me standin’ here
I got my back against the record machine
I ain’t the Worst That You’ve Seen

Hits of 1984 – Horrible and Great

On July 3, 2009, Stuck in the 80s released their Horrible Hits of 1984 Podcast (Episode 171). Here is their list:

10. Karma Chameleon – Culture Club
9. Hello – Lionel Richie
8. Somebody’s Watching Me – Rockwell
7. Sunglasses At Night – Corey Hart
6. Dancing in the Sheets – Shalamar
5. The Heart of Rock ‘N’ Roll – Huey Lewis & the News
4. State of Shock – The Jacksons
3. Yah Mo B There – James Ingram and Michael McDonald
2. Talking In Your Sleep – Romantics
1. I Just Called to Say I Love You – Stevie Wonder

You can see the top 100 hits from Billboard that year.

Here is my top 5 (or worst 5) of Horrible songs from that year:

5. Hello – Lionel Richie

Before there was Ghost, there was the “Hello” video. I like Lionel Richie, but I never liked this song. I didn’t care for the video neither, and it didn’t help that MTV rammed it down our throats.
If you want to hear a better Lionel Richie ballad, listen to “Truly”. Even “Stuck On You”, which was also on the charts in 1984, is better than “Hello”. But “Hello ” ended up being a #1 hit on three Billboard music charts: the pop chart (for two weeks), the R&B chart (for three weeks), and the adult contemporary chart (for six weeks). Sure, there are songs a lot worse than this one, but, this was a bit overrated.

4. Karma Chameleon – Culture Club

3. Let’s Hear It for the Boy – Deniece Williams

I hated this song when it came out, and I still can’t listen to it! In my opinion, this is the worst song on the Footloose soundtrack. “Dancing in the Sheets” by Shalamar is on the Stuck In the 80s list, and is no prize in my book either. But I would still listen to that than that annoying “Let’s Hear It for the Boy”. It didn’t help that this Deniece Williams song was on an endless loop on the radio and on MTV.

2. If This Is It – Huey Lewis and The News

Stick with the up-tempo songs, Huey! I loved every song on the Sports album – except for this one. It’s slow, boring, and there’s no feeling in it.

1. I Just Called to Say I Love You – Stevie Wonder

I love Stevie Wonder, but I don’t like this overplayed song. It was featured on the soundtrack from The Woman in Red, and was number one on the Billboard Hot 100 for three weeks. The only other songs of his that may have been more overplayed was “Superstition”. I skip both of those songs when they come on.

Here are my favorite Stevie Wonder songs:

Higher Ground

Living for the City

And here is “I Just Called to Say I Love You”:

Here is my top songs from that year:

10. Borderline – Madonna

Remember when Madonna was relevant in the pop world? This is still one of my all time favorite Madonna songs.

9. Time After Time – Cyndi Lauper

: While “Girls Just Want to Have Fun” can be grating, Lauper shows off her beautiful voice here. When I say beautiful voice, I’m referring to her singing voice, of course. When you hear her speak, you would never imagine that she would have an incredible singing voice.

8. Undercover (Of the Night) – Rolling Stones

: The Stones get criticized for their ’80s and beyond music. But, this song and “Start Me Up” was basically my introduction to the group. I still like “Undercover” a lot. They still had some edge back then.

7. Oh Sherrie – Steve Perry

: Steve Perry was one of my favorite singers (behind Freddie Mercury), and the former Journey frontman proved that he could be successful as a solo act. It sucks that he hasn’t done anything in a long time. “Oh Sherrie” was his debut song when he went solo, and it was his biggest hit.

6. Legs – ZZ Top

: These rock legends slightly changed their style with the Eliminator album that “Legs” came off of, and it helped give their popularity a huge surge. Their trilogy of videos, which included this one, didn’t hurt.

5. Twist of Fate – Olivia Newton-John

: This is probably my favorite ONJ song. It’s a great up-tempo song. It came off of the Two of a Kind soundtrack. The movie, which she starred in, along with John Travolta, was a clunker. But, the soundtrack is great, and this song stands out.

4. I’m So Excited – Pointer Sisters

: The songs was right in the middle of the Pointer’s great ’80s run. You can’t help but move to this song. It was also great in the movie Vacation.

3. Jump – Van Halen

: When this song came out, it was my favorite song of all time! The reason why this isn’t higher on the list is because it was also probably the most overplayed song of the year. I didn’t help matters any by playing it over and over again on tape, and by sitting in front of MTV all day just to watch it every time it came on. It was so funny seeing Eddie smiling through the entire video. I wonder, what made him do that? He wouldn’t have smoked anything to get him that way, would he have?

2. Hard Habit to Break – Chicago

: I still love this Chicago ballad! This was in the middle of their comeback during the David Foster years. I got sick of “You’re the Inspiration”, but I never got sick of this song. Unfortunately, the band became known more for their ballads. Their rock songs are just as good. But, “Hard Habit to Break” is one of my all time favorite Chicago songs.

1. Cum On Feel the Noize – Quiet Riot

: My introduction to heavy metal in the ’80s. Wow, you just didn’t hear anything else like this on the radio at the time! Quiet Riot pretty much opened up mainstream radio for Heavy Metal acts. Would heavy metal and hair bands have been as popular as they were if it wasn’t for Quiet Riot and “Cum On Feel the Noize”? Maybe not. This pretty much set my musical taste for the ’80s and early ’90s.

Battle of the Bands: Van Halen vs. “Van Hagar” *Repost*

vs.

This is the ultimate rock debate of the ’80s. David Lee Roth or Sammy Hagar. David Lee Roth was a flashy rock star showman, and Sammy Hagar was a more conventional musician.
Van Halen released their debut album Van Halen in 1978. It became one of the most successful debuts in rock history, and featured the hit “Runnin’ With the Devil”, and and the guitar solo “Eruption”. Van Halen II was released, and they had a hit single with the song “Dance the Night Away.”

Women and Children First was released in 1980, and had the hits “And the Cradle Will Rock…” and “Everybody Wants Some!!“. Fair Warning was released in 1981. At that time, tensions were beginning to rise between Eddie Van Halen and David Lee Roth. Eddie wanted to produce more serious and complex songs, and David had more of a poppy fun style. The only song of note from that album was “Unchained“. The following year, Diver Down was released and performed better. There were a couple of pop remakes that were on the album that contributed to the success – “(Oh) Pretty Woman” and “Dancing in the Street“. “Where Have All the Good Times Gone!” also went to #17 on the mainstream rock charts. Then the band peaked in 1984 with their mega-successful album 1984. “Jump” was the bands first and only #1 pop hit. You couldn’t watch MTV for more than a half hour without seeing it. The first song on the album was a short keyboard instrumental called “1984“, and it led into “Jump”. “I’ll Wait” reached #7 on the mainstream rock charts. “Panama” was another huge success, and another song that got a lot of airplay on MTV. This was followed by the hit “Hot For Teacher.”

Even though 1984 was a very successful album, it brought the band to their breaking point. There were artistic and personal issues. The reason for the breakup was different, depending on who was interviewed. Roth was upset about Eddie playing music outside of Van Halen without checking with the band, as well as alleged drug abuse by Eddie that affected the band’s practice sessions. Eddie was sick of Roth’s flamboyant behavior and stage persona. Meanwhile Roth was developing a successful solo career with his hits “California Girls” and “Just a Gigolo”. On April 1, 1985, Roth left Van Halen.

Eddie invited Patty Smyth of Scandal to replace Roth but she refused. Eddie was then introduced to Sammy Hagar, who just came off of a successful album VOA, which had the huge hit “I Can’t Drive 55.”
In 1986 the band released the hugely successful album 5150 with Sammy as the new lead singer as well as guitar player. 5150 became the band’s first #1 album on the Billboard charts, and had the big hits “Why Can’t This Be Love” (#3 U.S.), “Dreams”, and “Love Walks In”, as well as “Best of Both Worlds”, and the title track “5150”.
Their follow up album was OU812, which produced the hits “When It’s Love”, “Feels So Good”, and “Finish What Ya Started”. The album title was a play on David Lee Roth’s solo album “Eat ‘Em and Smile.” (OU812 translates to “Oh, you ate one too?”).
The following album in 1991 was For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge. I am going to try to keep this blog somewhat clean for now, so I won’t spell out the acronym. This album went more to the band’s hard rock roots, and it had some good songs on it such as “Poundcake”, “Runaround”, “The Dream is Over”, “Right Now”, and “Top of the “World”. In 1995, Van Halen released their final studio album with Sammy Hagar – Balance. It did not sell as well as the previous Hagar albums, but it did have the hits “Can’t Stop Lovin’ You”, “Don’t Tell Me (What Love Can Do)”, and “Not Enough”.

Tension was arising between Hagar and Van Halen. They were recording songs for the Twister soundtrack. They recorded the song “Humans Being.” Eddie said that he had to write all the lyrics since Hagar’s were “too cheesy”. This obviously upset Hagar. Then the band was recording another song for the soundtrack. Hagar did not want to record more songs for a soundtrack because it would not be as accessible to fans. Also, the band was compiling a greatest hits album, and Hagar did not agree with this decision since he felt the band had many more years ahead. Hagar claimed that he was fired; Van Halen claimed that he quit. Most accounts confirm that Hagar technically quit, but only upon finding that Van Halen had secretly been recording with David Lee Roth.

David and Eddie were discussing which tracks to include on the greatest hits album called Best of Volume 1, and they began to get along again. They recorded two new songs for the album “Me Wise Magic” and “Can’t Get This Stuff No More”.
But, Van Halen was continuing to audition for a new lead singer, and then Roth was out of Van Halen again.

In the summer of 2002, David Lee Roth and Sammy Hagar teamed up in the Song For Song, the Heavyweight Champs of Rock and Roll tour (also known as the ‘Sans-Halen’ or ‘Sam & Dave’ Tour). The joint tour headlining both former lead singers attracted media and audience fascination because it seemed more improbable than even a Van Halen tour with Roth or Hagar could be. The tour drew large crowds and featured no opening acts, Roth and Hagar alternating opening as the first act during the tour.

So which Van Halen incarnation is your favorite: