Though today is a gloomy and rainy day here in my NYC Metropolis, the power of music shines as radiant as the blazing sun as we raise a glass to the mighty Van Halen and their self-titled debut album which celebrates its fortieth anniversary today. Speaking frankly, “Van Halen I” as many are apt to refer to it is a “Milestone Among Milestones” and since all the hard scoop about it is already documented on its Official Wikipedia entry (linked below), I’ll be sticking to the more personal reflections on how this album hit me as a then very young music fan. Now, as I scroll back through the sands of time to my own first go-round about the album, I must admit that I couldn’t recall hearing it when it was first released in 1978 and think that it was probably closer towards the end of the Summer of 1979. I had already been enjoying the melodies of David Bowie, Pink Floyd, Renaissance and KISS with the four masked men being my own discovery some years earlier. My folks listened to the other stuff I mentioned, and I remain very happy about their musical offerings to me.
I first learned about the existence of Van Halen on the streets of Brooklyn and while that might sound tougher than it is, its just reflecting on the times when teens spent time together outside. There weren’t home video games like there are today and while Atari had its “Pong” and I think another game, no one I knew owned a console, so you did other stuff. One of the girls in my circle of the day pulled out this sleek looking record with the cool cover and awesome logo and asked if we had heard them yet. We hadn’t, and she let us hear the track that was playing on some radio stations which was “You Really Got Me” (the bands take on the classic by The Kinks) and I have to admit that I was hooked straightaway. We also got a good listen to the guitar skills of Edward Van Halen on the “Eruption” track and I remember friends who dabbled with guitar at the time looking dumbfounded. The stuff Eddie was doing during this solo seemed like from another dimension of sound. Let’s look at the full-on album tracks before continuing. Continue reading Van Halen’s Mighty Debut Is Four Decades Old (1978-2018)→
In 1984, Van Halen had released an album of the same name and while this release brought their fans blockbuster hits such as “Jump”, “Panama”, “I’ll Wait and “Hot For Teacher”, the dramas going on behind the scenes were at an all-time high and creative dissonance was causing too many rifts when it came to both Eddie Van Halen and singer David Lee Roth. Roth would split from the lineup in 1985 and after some considerable searching a new voice was decided upon in Sammy Hagar and their first music together would come to us with “5150”. Today, the 7th album in the Van Halen catalog reaches its thirtieth anniversary and I’m here to share some personal reflections on this milestone. Continue reading Van Halen’s “5150” Celebrates Its Thirtieth Anniversary (1986-2016)→
January was a great month for Hard Rock and Metal bands releasing iconic albums as it was only the other day that Judas Priest celebrated thirty years of “Defenders Of The Faith” (which was toasted HERE) and now it was Van Halen’s turn to soak up the rays of praise as “1984” hit the record store shelves thirty years ago today. I have to admit that the money I was making as a Wall Street messenger back then was being put to good use and the record shop was a regular place to visit and walk out with something. Van Halen was one of those bands that I was listening to since the very first album and they were one of my top three bands of all time. The other two are KISS and Judas Priest and each has had works covered on the core PiercingMetal website in addition to these blogs. The anticipation was high about “1984” because friends and I had been hearing the single “Jump” for a few weeks and while the memory has faded on when we all first saw the video for the tune, I would like to think that this was not too long after the album hit the street if not before. One should realize that in this time in music the video drove added sales to the album. Continue reading Van Halen’s “1984”: Big Brother’s Still Watching @ 30 Years (1984-2014)→
Artist: Chickenfoot Venue: Webster Hall (New York, NY) Opener: Ponderosa Date: 11/8/2011 Label: E1 Entertainment
I’m sure that you all know a little bit about Chickenfoot by now because the band has been active for a couple of years and its super group roster of members are Joe Satriani, Sammy Hagar, Michael Anthony and Chad Smith. The guys had just released their second album, which was actually entitled “Chickenfoot III” and while drummer Chad Smith was on the recording, he would be unable to tour due to commitments with the Red Hot Chili Peppers and in his place is longtime session and live drumming powerhouse Kenny Aronoff. Tonight the guys would be breaking it down at the Webster Hall for a sold out show and since this was my first time ever seeing them in action I was rather excited. I really enjoyed the first album and was still getting used to the latest output and while friends had raved about this band in concert to me on occasion, I like to be the judge of this myself from time to time before I nod in agreement. Of course it’s hard to not have a solid band with Satch on guitar and Sammy on vocals. Having grown up on old school Van Halen I knew full well what to expect from Anthony and that left Aronoff as the only denominator I had yet to see in a live situation. Opening the show would be Ponderosa and I arrived on the late side to what they were doing and felt that while they sounded good were not really my thing. It happens. Continue reading Chickenfoot @ Webster Hall (11/8/2011)→
Artist: Van Halen Title: “The Best Of Both Worlds” Label: Warner Brothers Release Date: 7/20/2004 Genre: Hard Rock Rating: 4/5
“Best Of Both Worlds” is more of a proper retrospective for the mighty Van Halen than their initial offering of “Greatest Hits Volume 1” which we found being released in 1996 was and that is based on more than twice the amount of tracks being offered to the fans. The interesting thing is how while the band did have three singers over the course of their history with David Lee Roth, Sammy Hagar and Gary Cherone, that nothing from the Extreme singer is here to enjoy or be exposed to for the first time. Clearly the “Best Of Both Worlds” means Dave and Sammy while the world that featured Cherone must have been in some alternate reality. Oh well, it’s a shame in some sense but his work with the band is something that most of the Van Halen fans would rather forget. Spread across the span of two ceedees the collection is delivered in a very interesting manner as we get a Roth track and then a Hagar one, and then the process repeats for most of the album until they begin to present some of the live stuff which Roth was not a part of. If you own the original collection I will tell you that you will not be making space in your shelf by tossing it because the new songs that were presented on that collection do NOT appear on this new one. I was glad to see this being the case because it would have been cheap and cheating the fans by adding them. With “BOBW” we finally get tunes from “Diver Down”, an album that was overlooked on the earlier issue. Continue reading “The Best Of Both Worlds” by Van Halen→