It is impossible for Van Halen to argue. But you can make the case that some songs by hard-rock legends have not got the love and attention they deserve.
Van Halen’s tracks like “Fools,” “One Foot Out the Door” and “Feels So Good” were ignored by many because they were overshadowed by more immediate song lyrics. Somewhere in the mid-90s, when Van Halen finally ran into rocky creative ground, some underrated cuts were all but ignored in underwhelming or underappreciated albums like Balance at A Different Kind of Truth.
We pay attention to the most unnoticed song from every Van Halen album below.
From: Van Halen (1978)
There really isn’t much about the universal praise of Van Halen’s debut album that can be considered underrated. It’s almost like they released their greatest-hits LP. Most of the songs were fake on the band’s first day of the band and remained a big part of their sets in almost every show performed with David Lee Roth. Even Sammy Hagar sings “Ain’t Talkin ” Bout Love” almost every night. However, after appearing on almost all Roth-fronted tours, often as the opening number, the freewheeling “On Fire” was the only song from Van Halen so as not to appear in any of the three post-Roth band tours.
“You’re Not Good”
From: Van Halen II (1979)
“Dance the Night Away” gets more attention than any other song in the fast-paced recording of Van Halen’s second album, which makes sense of how well it exemplifies the fiery sunny pop sensibility of banda. But they decided to lead the album with a moody and threatening cover of “You’re No Good,” a bold choice considering Linda Ronstadt released her own hit version of the song just five years ago. “So what, man,” the producer Ted Templeman, in his autobiography in 2020, recalled what Roth said. “We are scare people with us. “
From: Women and Children First (1980)
Van Halen spent some time in the studio for their third album, which freed them to experiment with overdubs and more complex fixes. Buried in future concert staples like “Romeo Delight,” “Everyone Wants Some !!” and “And the Cradle Will Rock …” on the first page of the album, “The” Fools “found the band that supersimizes one of their club-day songs. It ends up being an epic, with an extended opening solo guitar, a sudden Godzilla guitar and one of the album’s most undeniable chords.
“A Foot in the Door Show”
From: Fair warning (1981)
Even Women and Children First“And the Cradle Will Rock …” is Van Halen’s first song featuring keyboards, the electric piano riff is driven by a phase shifter and amp, and combines sound like a guitar. On the other hand, make no mistake Fair warning“One Foot Out the Door” (and the previously helpful “Sunday Afour in the Park”) is powered by a synthesizer. The instrument adds an exciting new dimension to the band’s sound, leading to tremendous success in the “Jump” crossover three years later. The two-minute “One Foot Out the Door” devotes half of its time to running one of Eddie Van Halen’s most inspiring solo productions.
“The Full Bug”
From: Dive Down (1982)
Dive Down mainly remembered for its compromises. Using years of continuous touring and recording, Van Halen recorded Roy Orbison’s “(Oh) Pretty Woman” as a single time seller. The plan came back. When the song hit, the label asked for a new album – right away. The exhausted group disassembled a 31-minute set that included three instruments and four more cover songs. It all came as a shock, as the band showed new depth and subtlety on tracks like “Secrets” and “Little Guitars.” Oddly enough, a couple of the album’s new direct rock songs have disappeared from the shuffle. “The Full Bug” is better than two, featuring a peacocking Roth vocal as well as a wonderful acoustic guitar and harmonica performed by the singer.
“Drop Dead Legs”
From: 1984 (1984)
The four singles released from Van Halen’s sixth album, especially “Jump,” took them to new levels of popularity. Chances are, “Panama,” “I’ll Wait,” “Hot for Teacher” or “Jump” are playing on the radio somewhere near you at this time. No surprise then that the other four songs were found on 1984 is unnoticed. And, to be honest, they did not reach the same high standards as the more popular tracks. However, the timid, strutting “Drop Dead Legs” are close, with a commanding Roth performance that gives way to an extended instrumental coda.
From: 5150 (1986)
The arrival of Sammy Hagar freed Eddie Van Halen to write material he could not have imagined when David Lee Roth would be the band’s singer. The catchy synth-pop of “Why Can’t It Be Love,” the emerging “Dreams” and the band’s first straight-up ballad, “Love Walks In,” garnered more attention, and the enough, dynamic but still thrilling “Best of both Worlds” is a fan favorite. The track record of the album deserves the same amount of love. This is one of Eddie’s most intricate guitar compositions, with a fascinating section of instrumental opening. Hagar rises to the occasion both lyrically and vocally, proving that she can insist even if she does not sing about girls, cars or tequila.
From: OU812 (1988)
Van Halen’s second album with Sammy Hagar found the band branching more than ever 5150. The country-inspired “Finish What You Started” and gorgeous ballad “When it’s Love” got the most airplay, while fan favorite “Cabo Wabo” got a music club and tequila brand named here. But in an album full of curveballs, one of its frank songs is also one of its most enduring. “Feels So Good” is a simple, enthusiastic keyboard-guided love song featuring a knockout vocal by Hagar, with help from his new best friend, Michael Anthony.
From: For Violation of Carnal Legal Knowledge (1991)
Possibly inspired by Metallica’s show theft in sharing the Monsters of Rock tour, Van Halen exchanged increasing variations of their previous three albums for a back-to-basics guitar-centered approach For Violation of Carnal Legal Knowledge. Eddie Van Halen’s use of a power drill in the lead single “Poundcake” garnered a lot of attention, as did the inspiring “Right Now.” But the most inspiring riffing possible to happen on “Judgment Day.” Eddie Van Halen puts his whammy bar in hell with the song, but it is worth the suffering.
“Take Me Back (Deja Vu)”
From: Balance (1995)
Well documented that Van Halen is not on the same page in making their last album with Sammy Hagar. It’s hard not to read “Don’t Tell Me (What Love Can Do)” as their attempt at grunge-inspired seriousness, and they pulled it off with surprising success. Eddie Van Halen’s instrumental showcase “Balucitherium” also handles repetitive listening better than you expect. But the most underrated song in Balance is the thoughtful, bitter sweet “Take Me Back (Deja Vu),” featuring a lovely and evocative use of acoustic guitars.
From: Van Halen III (1998)
Eddie Van Halen repeatedly pointed out that the last album he bought was from Peter Gabriel Kaya. Twelve years later, the influence of the 1986 masterpiece manifests itself in the atmosphere and is not mistakenly produced by “Once.” The slow burn, eight-minute meditation proved to be the best match for new singer Gary Cherone and one of the few highlights from Van Halen otherwise annoying III.
“You and your Blues”
From: A Different Kind of Truth (2012)
Not much in this album can be considered underrated … or overrated, for that matter. But most of all it was Van Halen’s fault for over 14 long years without releasing a new studio album. More than half of A Different Kind of TruthThe songs re-released the unreleased songs from the band’s early years, and they were great. However, fans are not too excited about “Tattoo” as the first single LP. A better option: the new “You and Your Blues,” in which Roth cuts blues cliches into an infectious Eddie Van Halen riff. All of this is punctuated by the band’s vocal backgrounds, still sweeping, even without Michael Anthony (replaced on Eddie’s son Wolfgang’s album). While we have it, “She’s the Woman,” “Outta Space,” “Stay Frosty” and “Big River” are better choices than “Tattoo,” too.