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Best of Van Halen, Vol. 1

Van Halen

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Album Review

By trying to give the David Lee Roth and Sammy Hagar eras equal space, The Best of Van Halen, Vol. 1 winds up a little uneven. The first eight songs run through several of Diamond Dave's biggest songs — "Ain't Talkin' 'Bout Love," "Runnin' With the Devil," "And the Cradle Will Rock," "Jump," and "Panama." It's hard to argue with any of the choices, yet significant songs like "You Really Got Me," "Beautiful Girls," "(Oh) Pretty Woman," "I'll Wait," and "Hot for Teacher" are missing. Similarly, the Sammy era has many big hits — "Why Can't This Be Love," "Dreams," "When It's Love," and "Right Now" — but skips over hits like "Love Walks In," "Black and Blue," and "Finish What Ya Started." Clearly, the collection would have been better served if it had been assembled as a double-disc set, with Dave and Sammy getting a disc apiece. Furthermore, the much-hyped reunion tracks with Roth, "Can't Get This Stuff No More" and "Me Wise Magic," are a slight disappointment; the band sounds good, but neither track contains a memorable hook. Nevertheless, Best Of, Vol. 1 remains a good single-disc encapsulation of Van Halen's career, even if it isn't a definitive retrospective.

Biography

Formed: 1974 in Pasadena, CA

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

With their 1978 eponymous debut, Van Halen simultaneously rewrote the rules of rock guitar and hard rock in general. Guitarist Eddie Van Halen redefined what the electric guitar could do, developing a blindingly fast technique with a variety of self-taught two-handed tapping, hammer-ons, pull-offs, and effects that mimicked the sounds of machines and animals. It was wildly inventive and over the top, equaled only by vocalist David Lee Roth, who brought the role of a metal singer to near-performance...
Full bio