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Revisiting Van Halen’s Van Halen

by Rob Slater on February 10, 2014

Rock music suffered a loss at the beginning of 1978 when The Sex Pistols performed their final show. Cultural phenomenon Saturday Night Fever was sweeping the nation, Led Zeppelin was slowing down, Elton John was all anyone talked about and the days of loud guitars and thrashing drums seemed to be coming to an end. Then, 36 years ago today, four kids from Pasadena, CA released their debut, self-titled album and arena rock would be forever changed.

From the opening note of "Runnin' With The Devil," the world was introduced to one of the most confident, outrageous guitar players in the game as Eddie Van Halen welcomed people to the Church of Van Halen with a boisterous lead on the first two tracks, the second being one of rock and roll's most famous compositions--"Eruption." If there ever was a record that truly personified a band, it was Van Halen's debut. Brash, unapologetic, and outrageously hormonal. Take a listen below.

It shouldn't shock people to hear that initial reviews for Van Halen weren't all that positive. I mean, Rolling Stone was correct in their thinking that Van Halen would end up like Led Zeppelin, although it didn't turn out exactly like they said. Van Halen would go on to sell ten million copies in the US alone and was certified gold in four countries, solidifying its spot as one of the most successful debut albums of all time, and of course prompting many who tore it down to place it on "best of" lists instantly.

To this day (when they tour), many of these songs serve as concert staples, and you can still hear "You Really Got Me," "Eruption" and "Ain't Talkin' Bout Love" blasting out of the PA of your local sports stadium. Van Halen created anthems and launched a successful yet ultimately tumultuous career for the Van Halen's, but everything they did was on their own terms, by their own merit, just the way rock and roll is supposed to be.


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