V is for Van Halen

Alex, Eddie, David, Michael
Alex, Eddie, David, Michael

In that great musical debate about the preferred lead singer of Van Halen, I suppose I’m in the David Lee Roth camp, rather than the Sammy Hagar camp. It is only because my one and only VH album, 1982’s Diver Down, features Roth. “From 1974 until 1985 the band comprised guitarist Eddie Van Halen, vocalist David Lee Roth, drummer Alex Van Halen [Eddie’s brother] and bassist Michael Anthony.” That’s the group I remember watching in the early days of MTV.

Eddie played the blistering guitar solo on Michael Jackson’s hit single Beat It [LISTEN], #1 for three weeks in 1983.

LISTEN to: all charting info from the Billboard (US) charts.

From Van Halen II:
Dance The Night Away, #15 in 1979

From Diver Down:
Oh, Pretty Woman, #12 in 1982. This is one of five covers on the album, this one originally recorded and co-written by Roy Orbison.
Big Bad Bill Is Sweet William Now (Is Sweet William Now), which was written and first recorded in 1924. Jan Van Halen, Alex and Eddie’s father, plays the clarinet.
Happy Trails. The theme song of that singing cowboy of movies and television, Roy Rogers, written by his wife, Dale Evans.

From 1984:
Jump, #1 for five weeks in 1984.

When Michael Anthony left/was booted out of the band in 2006, coinciding with Roth’s second return, the new bassist was Wolfgang Van Halen, Eddie’s son with his former wife, actress Valerie Bertinelli (One Day at a Time, Hot in Cleveland).

Van Halen was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2007. But at the time of the induction ceremony, Eddie Van Halen was heading for rehab. As it turned out, only Sammy Hagar and Michael Anthony, both ex-members of the band, showed up.


ABC Wednesday – Round 14

Author: Roger

I'm a librarian. I hear music, even when it's not being played. I used to work at a comic book store, and it still informs my life. I won once on JEOPARDY! - ditto.

22 thoughts on “V is for Van Halen”

  1. It’s funny but in the English speaking countries Van is considered to be a name, but in my country and Belgium it just means “of”, like “van Amsterdam”means “of Amsterdam”. Your president Martin van Buren, means that his family came from Buren.In the telephone directories this name will be registered under “B”.Like “Buren,van”. In Germany they use “von”. In France “de”.In all those cases these words are mere prepositions.

  2. Some great music. It’s a shame so many of these bands had drug and alcohol problems. To miss one’s own induction into the Hall of Fame is sad.

  3. Well that’s just sad none of them were there but former members!! I will take some time and listen to your links.

  4. One of the first concerts I attended was Van Halen with David Lee Roth as lead singer – I prefer David Lee Roth to Sammy Hagar.

  5. Didn’t he used to be married to Valeria Bertinelli? and they have a son Wolfgang?

    abcw team

  6. The Diver Down album is a eclectic mix, I imagine the record label would have had a wobble about them doing it.

  7. Good to know the guitar solo on MJ’s Beat It was done by a Van Halen. I remember this group, not that I was into them, but loved ones were.

  8. You continue to increase my musical knowledge, Roger – I feel there is such a wide musical world out there that I have somehow missed šŸ™

  9. Great So Cal Band! Always provide a ton of entertainment on and off stage!
    I’s a fan of the David Lee Roth camp as well as in Hot For Teacher, 1984.

  10. Even though I was born after this band’s prime, they are very prominent in my mind as world class rockers. I appreciate the sounds of both Sammy Hagar and David Lee Roth in the band. They made the music that became the soundtrack to my life

  11. It’s always so sad when such talent gets derailed with drug and alcohol problems. And it seems there are so many phenomenally talented artists that descend into that hell.

  12. Last fall Amy Goodman played a clip of Goldman Sachs’ evil CEO Jamie Dimon snottily telling a Congressional Committee that they had no right to mildly criticize his criminal activities. Then for the brief musical program break the selection was “Oh oh oh Jamie’s cryingā€¦ (Uh-Oh)” For perhaps the first time I began to appreciate Van Halen.

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