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Posts from the ‘Van Halen’ Category

11
May

Van Halen – Fair Warning (1981) – Lp

Van Halen is an American hard rock band formed in Pasadena, California, in 1972. From 1974 until 1985, the band consisted of guitarist Eddie Van Halen, vocalist David Lee Roth, drummer Alex Van Halen, and bassist Michael Anthony.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Artist:  Van Halen
Title:  Fair Warning
Year:  1981
Format:  LP
Label:  Warner Bros. Records
Catalog#  WB 56899

Of all the early Van Halen records, Fair Warning often gets overlooked — partially because it’s a dark, strange beast, partially because it lacks any song as purely fun as the hits from the first three records. Because of that, there were no hits from Fair Warning that turned into radio anthems; only “Unchained” and, to a lesser extent, the grinding opener, “Mean Street,” rank among the group’s best-known songs, and they’re not as monumental as “And the Cradle Will Rock,” from the preceding album, Women and Children First. There’s a reason for that: this album ain’t a whole lotta fun. Fair Warning is the first Van Halen album that doesn’t feel like a party. This may be a reflection of the band’s relentless work schedule, it may be a reflection of the increasing tension between Eddie Van Halen and David Lee Roth — the cause isn’t important, because whatever the reason, Fair Warning winds up as a dark, dirty, nasty piece of work. Gloomy it may be, but dull it is not and Fair Warning contains some of the fiercest, hardest music that Van Halen ever made. There’s little question that Eddie Van Halen won whatever internal skirmishes they had, since his guitar dominates this record, even with the lack of a single dedicated instrumental showcase (the first time he lacked one on a VH album). Eddie sounds restless here, pushing and pulling the group toward different rhythms and textures, from the disco beat that pulsates on “Push Comes to Shove” to the swinging rhythms on “So This Is Love?” and, especially, the murky synths that comprise the instrumental “Sunday Afternoon in the Park” and the grimy, gunky closing rocker, “One Foot Out the Door.” Either inspired or spurred on by the gloomy rock Eddie cranked out, David Lee Roth casts his net far wider than his usual litany of girls and good times. He spits and swears, swaggering without his usual joie de vivre, with even his sex songs feeling weary and nasty. Whatever spawned it, that nastiness is the defining characteristic of Fair Warning, which certainly doesn’t make it bunches of fun, but it showcases the coiled power of Van Halen better than any other album, which makes it worth visiting on occasion.

 

Side one
1.  Mean Street   (5:00)
2.  Dirty Movies   (4:08)
3.  Sinner’s Swing!  (3:09)
4.  Hear About It Later   (4:35)

Side two
1.  Unchained   (3:29)
2.  Push Comes to Shove   (3:49)
3.  So This Is Love?   (3:06)
4.  Sunday Afternoon in the Park (Instrumental)  (1:59)
5.  One Foot out the Door  (1:58)

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1
Apr

Van Halen – Women And Children First (1980) – Lp

Van Halen is an American hard rock band formed in Pasadena, California, in 1972. From 1974 until 1985, the band consisted of guitarist Eddie Van Halen, vocalist David Lee Roth, drummer Alex Van Halen, and bassist Michael Anthony.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Artist:  Van Halen
Title:  Women And Children First
Year:  1980
Format:  LP
Label:  Warner Bros. Records
Catalog#  WB 56793

The opening track, “And the Cradle Will Rock…“, begins with what sounds like a guitar, but is, in fact, a phase shifter-effected Wurlitzer electric piano played through Van Halen’s 1960s model 100-watt Marshall Plexi amplifier.

The album is somewhat different from their first two albums in the way that it features more studio overdubs, and less emphasis on backing vocals. “Could This Be Magic?”, conversely, contains the only female backing vocal ever recorded for a Van Halen song; Nicolette Larson sings during some of the choruses. The rain sound in the background is not an effect. It was raining outside, and they decided to record the sound in stereo using two Neuman KM84 microphones, and added it to the track.

The first single from the album is the keyboard driven “And the Cradle Will Rock…” Although the single was not a success like previous singles “Dance the Night Away” or the cover of “You Really Got Me“, the album itself was well received and further entrenched the band as a popular concert draw. The song “Everybody Wants Some!!” was also a concert staple through the 1984 tour, and continued to be played by David Lee Roth after he left Van Halen.

The album contains a track at the end of “In a Simple Rhyme”, a brief instrumental piece entitled “Growth”, which begins at 4:19. While “Growth” faded out on the original vinyl LP and cassette, it was finally given a cold ending at full volume on the compact disc. At the time the band was toying with the idea of starting what would become their next album Fair Warning with a continuation of “Growth”, but this did not occur. “Growth” was a staple of the band’s live shows with Roth and often used as the start of their encores. Several outtakes from these sessions exist, including an unreleased instrumental titled often referred to as “Act Like It Hurts”, which was the title Eddie Van Halen originally wanted for “Tora! Tora!” “Act Like It Hurts” also provided a riff for “House of Pain”, released on 1984.

The album version included a poster of a photograph by Helmut Newton featuring Roth chained to a fence.

“Everybody Wants Some!!” was featured in the 1985 comedy Better Off Dead, during a sequence featuring a singing, guitar-playing claymation hamburger. A nod is given to Eddie in the animation, as the hamburger’s guitar sports the Frankenstrat design made famous by him. “Everybody Wants Some!!” is also featured in the 2009 film Zombieland.

 

Side one
1.  And The Cradle Will Rock  (3:31)
2.  Everybody Wants Some!!  (5:05)
3.  Fools  (5:55)
4.  Romeo Delight  (4:19)

Side two
1.  Tora! Tora!  (0:57)
2.  Loss Of Control  (2:36)
3.  Take Your Whiskey Home  (3:09)
4.  Could This Be Magic  (3:09)
5.  In A Simple Rhyme  (4:33)

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