Happy Birthday to Eddie Van Halen! He turns 54 today (January 26, 2009). There are three things that I think of when I think of Eddie Van Halen. First, he is the co-founder (and namesake) of the band Van Halen. Second, he was married to Valerie Bertinelli back in 1981 (though they separated back in 2001 and were legally divorced in 2007). Third, he can rock out on an electric guitar. Other than the obvious examples from Van Halen songs, my favorite example is Eddie's solo in Michael Jackson's hit "Beat It" which you can hear in the video below:
That video only includes the guitar solo section, but you can see that entire video in my Top Michael Jackson Songs from the 80s list. You can bet that there will be a Van Halen top 10 list coming up which will also include links to many other examples of Eddie's outrageous guitar riffs.
One thing many people do not know about Eddie Van Halen is that he was born in the Netherlands. He was born in Amsterdam, but in 1962, at the age of seven, he emigrated with his family to the United States. He would help form the band Van Halen (originally called "Mammoth") in 1972, they were offered a recording contract with Warner Bros. in 1977 and they would release their first album in 1978.
The band really became huge in the 80s despite having two different lead singers during the decade. David Lee Roth sang lead up to 1984 (both the year and the album). Then Sammy Hagar would take over until 1996. As of 2007 Van Halen has sold more than 80 million albums worldwide and during the 1980s they had more Billboard Hot 100 hits than any other hard rock or heavy metal band. According to the Recording Industry Association of America, Van Halen is the 19th best selling band/artist of all time with sales of over 56 million albums in the USA and is one of five rock bands that have had two albums sell more than 10 million copies in the USA.
Those two albums would be their debut self-titled Van Halen (1978) and then 1984 (1984) which both featured Roth on lead vocals. They would also have major successes with every release in the 80s and early 90s, but especially with 5150 (1986) which went 6x platinum and was the first to feature Hagar on lead vocals. There is widespread debate (and argument) over which version of Van Halen was better. Most people stubbornly take one side or the other. I have to say honestly that I enjoy both incarnations and this is likely due to the common factor of Eddie Van Halen.
In celebration of Eddie's birthday, I decided this would be the right time to publish my favorite Van Halen tunes from the 80s. They had a few decent songs in the 90s, but their best work was definitely in the 80s. I am not a die hard fan, so you won't find any deep cuts or surprises on my list. Video links are included with each song, though most will take you to a live performance. So, here is OLD SCHOOL'S TOP 10 VAN HALEN SONGS FROM THE 80s:
10. "Everybody Wants Some!" (1980) from Women and Children First - Also featured in the 1985 film starring John Cusack, Better Off Dead which is where the video is from [link to video]
9. "Hot For Teacher" (1984) from 1984 - Loved the video [link to video]
There's my list. As you can see, there are 6 songs from the David Lee Roth years and 4 songs from the Sammy Hagar years. If I had to vote, it would probably be for Roth, but I still enjoy Hagar as well. The current band consists of Eddie, his brother Alex, his son Wolfgang and David Lee Roth. To me, I will always remember them how they were back in the 80s. Happy Birthday Eddie and I hope you have many more!
That will do it for this issue of Kickin' it Old School. Thanks as always for reading. If you are interested in reading more of my 80s related issues, please click there for a summary of those. If you are interested in reading more of my Top 10 lists, please click there for a summary. You can also always click on the Archives in the upper left hand column or use the Google Search Box at the top of the right hand column to find any other issues you may have missed. If you are a fan of Kickin' it, PLEASE CLICK ON THE FACEBOOK LOGO in the upper right hand column. This will take you to the new Fan Page where I ask you to then click on "Become a Fan". Even if you are not a Facebook member yet, please consider joining and registering as a fan at that page. Let other 80s fans know about it as well! Peace and much love.
Check this out: I came across this interesting comedy routine about using pop songs to promote products in commercials. Made me chuckle, so I thought I would share it with you...
Quote of the day: "It's always a Catch-22 situation. They hate you if you're the same, and they hate you if you're different." -Eddie Van Halen
posted by: bawdy (reply)
post date: 01.27.09 (11:10 pm)
I think Dance The Night Away deserves a slot, even if it was a 79 release. I enjoy both incarnations of the band myself.
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