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Van Halen

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iTunes Editors' Notes

The hit singles “Jump” and “I’ll Wait” gave people the wrong idea about this album. Their shocking, shiny synth riffs gave off the impression than Van Halen, the great guitar band of the late ‘70s and early ‘80s, had gone soft  — or at least pop. Yet, once past the introductory “1984” and the hit singles, the album turns aggressive. David Lee Roth swings from the rafters with a vocal style that is one part carnival barker, two parts hard-rock madman. His screams at the beginning of “Panama” set the tone as Eddie Van Halen throws off a multitude of riffs at an alarming pace and the rhythm section pounds in its own elastic rhythm. “Top Jimmy” swings with a dance groove that’s always been at the heart of the band’s rock attack. “Drop Dead Legs” turns up the funk. “Hot for Teacher” is the band at their wacky best. “House of Pain” recalls the dark, foreboding funk of Fair Warning. It would be David Lee Roth’s final album with the group. They would never sound so loose again.


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...
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1984, Van Halen
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