It’s Good Enough: Let’s Make a Van Hagar Album!

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If you’ve got red blood pumping through your veins, it’s likely that you enjoy the work of Van Halen. However, if Applebee’s is your favorite restaurant, if you have a different REO Speedwagon tour shirt for each day of the week, or if you have Budweiser beer signs hung in your “man cave”, you may find yourself gravitating more towards the Sammy Hagar portion of the band’s career.

Essentially the Guy Fieri of hard rock, Sammy Hagar left a sour taste in many a Van Halen fan’s mouth when he replaced David Lee Roth in 1985: heavy tunes such as “Atomic Punk” were replaced with ballads like “How Will I Know (When It’s Love)?” Those Van Halen fans weren’t from St. Louis, however, because we LOVE the Red Rocker and his insatiable thirst for fun and drunken good times. We realize that yes, the best riffs were played early on, but when there’s “Mas Tequila” to be enjoyed, you don’t necessarily need good hard rock riffs to have fun. So I’ve set out to gather the best Van Hagar songs that should satisfy not only St. Louis natives but DLR-era Van Halen fans all around the world. CABO WABO, let’s do this!!!

1. “Good Enough” from 5150.  You may be thinking to yourself, “what’s the best way to start an album, nay, ANY album?” The same way I start every morning after getting out of bed, by exclaiming to the world HELOOOO BAAAAAAABY! The rest of the song is probably good, though I’m not quite sure because I usually press the Next button after Sammy’s bombastic intro. (Fun fact about 5150: Toilet ov Hell commenter/genius Max thinks it’s rill gud.)

Max_5150

2. “Poundcake” from For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge. You may be thinking to yourself, “what’s the second best way to start an album, nay, ANY album?” By drilling a guitar! Unfortunately for us the album’s already begun, so this song will have to start after that. I really do enjoy “Poundcake”, with its reverb-drenched power chords that serve as a driving force to some lyrics that MIGHT be a thinly veiled metaphor for… could it be… sexual intercourse?!?!  ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)  (Fun fact about For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge:  the first letter of each word comes together to form the word “fuck”.)

3. “Get Up” from 5150 (If you haven’t noticed by now, I’m avoiding Van Hagar ballads because you came here to ROCK!). This song just rips and shreds, PERIOD, as even a die-hard DLR fan should be able to admit. There’s a special treat contained within if you’re a fan of synth-drums*, the entire song has drums in it; and I guess with 5150 Van Halen wanted to announce to the world that they’re a band of the times and will hop on-board any bandwagon.

4.  “Don’t Tell Me (What Love Can Do)” from Balance. The research involved in finding great songs off Balance led me to some of the deepest recesses of the web; but first let’s talk about George Lynch for a moment. A man of impeccable musical taste (aside from all that deathcore) and everyone’s best friend in the Toilet, he also won of Riff ov the Week, 1995 Edition, with his pick “Don’t Tell Me (What Love Can Do)”. Yes, he won that particular contest, just as Opeth broke up after Watershed and LOST only lasted five seasons.

5. “Source of Infection” from OU812.  Guise I want you to know that I tried VERY hard to find a good song off that album, and this one happened to be the least worst. Oh, the things I do for you…   This song is decent, so we shall include it on the album. (Fun fact about OU812:  the album title, when said aloud, sounds like the following statement:  “Oh, you ate one too”.  Lolz.)

6. “Aftershock” from Balance.  Have you heard this song?  Probably not, so let me start by listing a few attributes of “Aftershock”:

☑ Siqq riffs
☑ Rocket solos
☑ Trill hooks


What did you think of “Aftershock”?  Tell us your opinion in the comments section plz.

“Aftershock” is my favorite Van Halen song of all time, in fact I always play “Aftershock” on a jukebox when I’m at a bar with a jukebox.  (Fun fact about Balance:  this 1995 album from Van Halen contains the best song of their career, “Aftershock.”)

7. “Right Now” from For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge. I know what I said earlier about not including ballads, but I gave myself this impossible task so I have to see it through to the end! And while previewing tracks to include on this list, my 50 year old co-worker started singing along, so you know it’s good. Crack open a Crystal Clear Pepsi and jam this #rambobangin’ tune…

8. The guitar solo on “Feelin'” from Balance.  Disclaimer: this is a garbage song enjoyed only by garbage people. Digging through this heaping pile of shit, the listener will find a terrific bridge/guitar solo combo that lasts about 70 seconds, and but then it’s right back to the shit. I won’t embed the song here because I love you; but DO click here to listen to the good part that is making it onto our album. I’ll wait for you here — and make sure you don’t go past the 4:10 mark.

9. “5150” from 5150. Dammit Van Halen, when you want write a great rock song you knock it out of the fucking park! So why do it so infrequently?  It’s songs like these that make stinkers like “Summer Nights” anger up the blood. Enough talk, please stab and enjoy:

10.  Dave Grohl. We’re not ending this with a song, but with the man himself: the savior of rock and roll, music, humanity.

davegrohl

How did I do? What changes would you make? Why can’t this be love?

*Are synth-drums a thing? Let’s hope not.

(image via SRO/Anthem, MediaMass, The Sun)

    • King Shit of Fuck Mountain
      • Dave Vincent’s Perm

        Still of the Night holds up as one of my favourite riffs and I ain’t ashamed to say it

        • David Coverdale is my favorite vocalist ever. Slightly edges out Ian Gillan and even RJD.

  • Based Potoo

    Thank some higher power my blood is not red.

  • Scrimm

    AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    -Scrimm

  • Personal favorites that would be in my top 10:

    1.) Finish What Ya Started
    2.) Top of The World
    3.) Summer Nights

    All songs are all over the radio, but they are solid.

    I have no qualms with anything VanHagar put out. The tunes were top notch and Sammy’s vocals are second to none.

    My only regret is not being able to see them in 04′.

    GL

    • Joe approves this top notch message.

      Now go sacrifice a lamb for his please.

    • Scrimm

      Second to none could be true depending on what category you’re talking about.

  • “You may be thinking to yourself, “what’s the best way to start an album,
    nay, ANY album?” The same way I start every morning after getting out
    of bed, by exclaiming to the world HELOOOO BAAAAAAABY!”

    This is my favorite post you’ve written, Jimmy.

    • thanks, fellow Van Halbro

    • Max

      I was kinda shocked when I realized there’s an earlier rock’n’roll song that Hagar appears to have ripped the line off of. I can’t remember the artist; it might be like The Big Bopper or somebody from the ’50s. I think the song is called “Chantilly Lace”.

      Also, whenever I’m ordering at a restaurant, the classier it is, the more likely I am to finish my order with “WellI’llhavesomeo’THAAAAAAAAAAT!”

  • BOOM!!!!!

    If this doesn’t get you pumped, you must be a Potoo.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dKFp0QTGF8M

  • BEARD-SPLITTER
  • KJM, Shake Zula
    • My only complaint is that the CD’s I have were mixed with the guitar on the left and bass on the right. It is trippy as hell to listen too.

      • KJM, Shake Zula

        That’s how it’s always been mixed.

        • I guess I am getting at that it would be more enjoyable if the mix was even left to right.

          • Max

            Actually, 5150 was the first album where they solved that issue.

            Eddie himself never liked having the guitar panned over to one side like Ted Templeman insisted. He was worried that kids would be driving around in cars with one speaker blown and not hearing the guitar part well enough. (This is a legitimate concern.)

            The usual convention in metal (by that time), of course, is to play two rhythm guitar tracks so you can pan one to each side and have a mix that’s still mono-compatible, but it means that the guitarist has to synchronize his playing really closely. Because Eddie is such a fluid axeman who never plays the same riff twice exactly the same in terms of intonation and so forth (which is one of the things that makes him great, of course), that method was presumably a no-goer. So one guitar track on one side it was.

            Once Ted Templeman was out of the picture for 5150, they came up with the idea of having Eddie still only play one track, but devising a method of splitting the signal into stereo. There’s several ways of doing it, but from what I can hear, in this instance they’ve run the guitar track through a chorus effect on one channel. This provides the necessary variation in timing and pitch that effectively splits the guitar sound.

            You can also do it by running the guitar through two different amps, two different pedal setups, use of copious reverb on one channel, recording the cabinet with two different microphones, or a combination of these various techniques.

          • What you are saying makes perfect sense, Max. Thanks for the information! Very insightful, if I do say so myself.

        • In this thread: GL have his speakers interchanged.

          • The Beast of Left and Right, Lazer/Wulf.

          • Abe Vigoda’s Oily Stool Sample

            Lol, sounds like you’re running your speakers on an Advance/Decay setup.

      • Max

        Actually, the bass is in the middle. It probably just seems like it’s on the right because having the guitar over on the left feels so lop-sided.

        • Maybe I am to naive, but it seem to me like they should have been able to split the single mono track and blend it evenly on the left and right. Maybe that is easier said than done… !

  • Vote for Jeb

    Thanks be to Grohl for his blessing.

  • Scrimm

    I hate you, Mcnulty.

  • Guppusmaximus

    ” just as Opeth broke up after Watershed”

    Neh…Opeth broke up after Martin & Peter (Lopez) left.

    • Based Potoo

      Silly you. Opeth is still alive and releasing good albums. You’re all hilarious!

      • Guppusmaximus

        I tried but I’ve got nothing witty to respond with…I’m just glad I got to see them live on the Deliverance tour.

        • King Shit of Fuck Mountain

          Last saw them in 2003.

          • Right around the time they peaked in my opinion. Time to get battered with bricks now.

          • King Shit of Fuck Mountain

            Pretty much. I do like this track, which is the last album I own by them.

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=orwgEEaJln0

          • Yeah, this ain’t bad. I sort of forgot about this album. It didn’t leave much of an impression. All well, there is always Still Life which is my absolute favorite by em. I also really like Damnation as a whole.

          • Guppusmaximus

            Damnation was legitimately a superior “prog” album compared to their recent endeavors, imho. Unfortunately, I don’t think Mr. Akerfeldt will never be able to reproduce such brilliance because Martin & Peter are long gone.

          • I tend to feel the same way. The Mojo seemed to go away after they left. To be honest though I stopped caring about Opeth years ago. I’ll revisit some of the older albums that I like but I honestly have not kept up with the band for years.

          • Guppusmaximus

            I kept up with them up until Watershed (saw that concert) hoping something passionate would resurface. Silly me.

          • Abe Vigoda’s Oily Stool Sample

            And got replaced by Steve Wilson, who comes over on the weekends and whacks off to old and obscure 60’s prog rock bands with Mikael. Steve Wilson, in my humble opinion, helped in their downfall, big time.

          • Guppusmaximus

            Possibly, though, I love how he engineered (played on) Blackwater Park. He helped them achieve that Pink Floydish wall of sound & clarity while maintaining their Black Metal roots. Obviously, he can’t control how a musician, like Mikael, might run rampant with that influence. But, you can definitely hear them change lanes on the albums after that. I love Deliverance & Damnation but they don’t have that certain aura like they did on Still Life & BP have. It’s definitely a noticeable change. It’s real easy to get caught up in the illusion of perfect production while straying from your roots. And, it’s easy to forget that while some experimentation is a good thing, you only have so much room with your line-up at the time. You really do have to play on your strengths in that scenario. Blackwater Park was their pinnacle, imho.

          • King Shit of Fuck Mountain

            My favorite is My Arms, Your Hearse. And my favorite track is the Apostle in Triumph. Still Life is damn good too.

          • Guppusmaximus

            Funny how the mellowest tracks on that album were the best (this one & one other if I remember correctly)

          • Vote for Jeb

            I bought Heritage but haven’t come back to it much. Pale Communion put me to sleep.

          • King Shit of Fuck Mountain

            Now we’re talking. They progged the fuck out and ruined it.

          • Vote for Jeb

            I liked the dynamic they had going on before of mixing death metal with melodic music. I know Akerfedlt can do what he wants, but the retro prog he’s making now just doesn’t do it for me.

          • King Shit of Fuck Mountain

            Yeah, that was such an interesting mixture and unique.

          • Guppusmaximus

            They were truly progressive in their own right and had honed in on a pretty damn original sound / formula.

          • Vote for Jeb

            Yup. Something like Blackwater Park was, in my mind, way more progressive than a retro Prog album.

          • Guppusmaximus

            And just like most true progressive Rock /Metal albums most people don’t get it till it’s too late. Their new shit is just a rehash that isn’t nearly as good as Brand X, Genesis, King Crimson, YES, etc…

          • Dave Vincent’s Perm

            Retro prog should be an oxymoron; ripping off king crimson is the opposite of progressive.

          • Abe Vigoda’s Oily Stool Sample

            Sounds like they’re ripping off Camel if anything. Their last two are nowhere near as sinister and menacing as King Crimson.

          • Abe Vigoda’s Oily Stool Sample

            Hopefully he’s just giving the old formula a rest and coming back to it later, which he’s hinted at. The whole Grandpa Granola retro-prog just isn’t my cup of noodles.

          • Guppusmaximus

            You mean they turned into a retro-prog act (and ruined it)

          • King Shit of Fuck Mountain

            Close enough.

          • Abe Vigoda’s Oily Stool Sample

            They turned into coffeehouse prog soft rock.

          • Abe Vigoda’s Oily Stool Sample

            As opposed to battering them with corn meal and deep frying them?

          • Guppusmaximus

            I’m pretty certain that was the year I saw them. I think they toured for both Deliverance & Damnation at once. I could be wrong…

          • King Shit of Fuck Mountain

            In the summer of 2003 they played all of Damnation and then did a few other of their “soft” songs and they actually played To Bid You Farewell, which made my night.

          • I’m pretty sure the recorded that concert/tour on DVD. Lamentations was recorded in 2003.

          • Guppusmaximus

            I just remember quite a few Deliverance tunes, some Blackwater tracks and then Akerfeldt mentioning Damnation as their new album. Can’t quite remember what year but it was at The Palladium (in MA.)

          • Abe Vigoda’s Oily Stool Sample

            When I saw them (and interviewed them), the whole thing was an accoustic set. Nice, but I definitely wanted the heavy shit as well, since that was a major part of their formula.

      • says the guy who hates van halen

        • ME GORAK B.C.™

          VAN HALEN FUN!!!!! FROG BIRD HATE FUN!!!!!

        • Based Potoo

          Hating Van Halen is a nothing special. How do you not hate a band that gets hyped while not having released a single good song?

      • Abe Vigoda’s Oily Stool Sample

        Where are these good albums you speak of?

        • Based Potoo

          Weebs have no room to talk!

          • Abe Vigoda’s Oily Stool Sample

            So says the man who lives in a country where they worship lawn gnomes! #FinlandFactsTruthHurts

  • Guppusmaximus

    I saw Van Hagar on tour for that ‘FUCK’ album (yea, fuck all ya all for buying it) and it was the best AOR concert I’d ever been to and will ever been to.

    • Janitor Jim Duggan

      They came to my area on that tour. Middletown got all the big concerts from mid 1980s up until Def Leppard on the Slang tour.

      • Guppusmaximus

        Yea, the show wasn’t a complete bust because AIC opened for them. Yea, I said the same thing. “Like, who set this bill up?! Who in the fuck that loves Van Hagar will dig AIC?” Most of the people weren’t in their seats for that set…they missed out

    • Janitor Jim Duggan

      I got that album for free. It just came in a used stereo I got.

  • Everytime I read or see the words “Right Now”, that song pops into my head and it’s not a good thing.

  • King Shit of Fuck Mountain

    Just give me Uli and the Scorps and fuck off.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o-sCgXmIM4k

    • I was listening to World Wide Live on the way to work this morning.

    • Upvoted for moar Scorps.

    • Abe Vigoda’s Oily Stool Sample

      Blackout is an essential album.

  • RustyShackleford

    Hagar sings better than DLR. Yep. FIGHT ME

  • Janitor Jim Duggan

    I do love Speedwagon. I hate Van Hagar though. He was better in Montrose.

  • woah, i kinda look like alex in that header image!

    • BEARD-SPLITTER

      Its the da vinci code

  • Abe Vigoda’s Oily Stool Sample

    It’s Monday, so we’re overdue for a Blabbermouth article involving Eddie and Sammy arguing over the same old drama yet again. Van Hagar sucked, DLR’s voice is shot, so the obvious solution is to go back to their best singer: Cherone!

  • Max

    Fun fact: I also think OU812 is pretty good. I can listen to and enjoy the entire sequence from the beginning up to and including “Finish What Ya Started.”

    • Maik Beninton™

      Inb4 McNulty comes in and save this on his archives.

      • Based Potoo

        He probably has every single comment posted on ToH in his archives.

        • you guys made me lol
          (had to screenshot this before responding tho)

  • Óðinn
  • Óðinn

    Personally, I’m not as fond of Van Halen as when I was when I was younger. I guess my tastes just changed over time. And I never got into the Hagar recordings at all. However, they’ve probably got enough fans with both vocalists by now that it would make financial sense to keep recording, or touring, with them both.

  • Max

    Curiously, my least favourite song on 5150 is probably “Why Can’t This Be Love?” It’s not bad, but everything else on there kills it for me – even “Inside,” which is just an obvious throwaway.

    Favourite track is probably “Dreams.”

    There’s a funny “remix” of “Dreams” you can find on the Tube ov You, presumably lifted from the 12″ single, where the only thing they’ve done to make it an “extended remix” (a release format which was all the rage in the mid-’80s) was to repeat the first part of the bridge. Nothing else done to the mix – no extra samples or percussion, no choppin’ and screwin’, nothing….just a few bars pasted in twice. Wow guys – cutting edge!

    • Dreams is good, but i can’t like it more than the title track. i often wonder if “Inside” is better or worse because of all the chatter on it

      • Max

        The title track is certainly a worthy competitor to “Dreams.”

        “Inside” is definitely better for all the banter. “GET OUT. The operator is coming. GET OUT.” (Although I’m really not sure how somebody can get kicked out of their own studio for horsing around.)

        • LOST IT

        • next question: what’s up with the drums on 5150?

          • Max

            I’ve never gotten entirely to the bottom of that one, but from what I’ve read and listening myself, I’d say what we’re hearing is a drumkit that’s a combination of real and fake sounds. By that stage Alex was already using Simmons drum pads (those hexagonal-shaped things you often see in ’80s music videos) for some of his tom work. That might be about the extent of the fake stuff, although in “Get Up” I reckon I can hear what sounds like a programmed 808 kick drum sample playing a constant double pattern throughout the song in addition to his acoustic kick drum rhythms. You have to listen carefully for that.

            As “processed” as the kit may sound as a whole, I reckon the rest of it (snare, cymbals, cowbell, etc.) is probably acoustic. You’d be surprised how “fake” a lot of “real” drums can be made to sound just by how they’ve been gated, compressed, reverberated, EQ’ed, and so on. From the ’80s onwards, you can never be entirely sure what you’re hearing on records in terms of whether something’s acoustic or electronic, because there are just so many options for generating and manipulating sound. The best you can do (if you’re a total nerd like me) is scour interviews with the production staff to see if they let any secrets out.

      • Scrimm

        They’re all worse

      • Max

        Good thing I’m not at work today! Playing that would’ve got me fired – which is the definitive indicator of High Art, obviously.

  • Waynecro

    Guys. Did you know Van Halen had a different singer one time? It must be a secret or something, because people seem to talk about only David Lee Roth and Sammy Hagar. But there’s a whole album with another guy singing! Don’t believe me? Then check out this great song as proof!

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oEprUHGuJIs

    • Abe Vigoda’s Oily Stool Sample

      Yes, the almighty Cherone! Eddie definitely wasted some solid talent and a superior showman on that one.

      • Waynecro

        I’m not a fan of Van Halen, but this song has a nice chorus.

      • Max

        I actually have seen CheroneHalen, and he wasn’t half bad.

  • COAL ROLL

    their first album is one my my favorite vinyl. I actually plug it into my JCM800 stack speakers for full brown sound effect

    • Boss the Ross

      Don’t forget the mxr phase 90

  • TrickleDownOvTacoKvltRiff

    Cool post! (I’m 100% Halen and cant do VanHagar). Sammy’s album with Monstrose was kick ass!

    • Abe Vigoda’s Oily Stool Sample

      Montrose was insanely underrated.

      • TrickleDownOvTacoKvltRiff

        totally! loved that album..

  • Eliza

    The only Van Halen album I care about is their debut, but these songs are pretty good.

  • 3leggedDog

    so i was trying to impress you about my concert going abilities as a 18 yr old – 14 short years ago. i saw hagar/roth tour in 2002. i was trying to verify that it was slash w/hagar and steve vai with roth. i could not do that. instead, i verified that there i a website called ROTHARMY.com and it’s current. to 10/18/2015. so….there’s that.