The Van Halen Cheat Sheet
There were only six albums featuring Diamond Dave, but they're all worth hearing, even Diver Down, which is like a half-hour long and hardly has any new originals on it.
Let's get started!
10) "Mean Street": Fair Warning is the sound of a band stepping on your little brother and making him beg you to let him up. Where other hard rock and heavy metal bands took themselves very seriously, DLR sounds like he's reading off a script and proud of it: "Turns hunted into hunter, Lord strike that poor boy DOWN."
9) "Sinner's Swing!": If you ever needed proof that this band wasn't a true heavy metal band, just listen to the rhythm section. They don't plod, they swing. Eddie plays like he's figuring out free jazz while wrestling with his guitar and winning. Bassist Michael Anthony is not in the current reunion line-up, which is a shame since it really takes four to rock VH-style. Does DLR even have a chance with three Van Halens in the band?
8) "Dance the Night Away": Van Halen II was always like a lightweight brother to the first album, but it proved that the band lived in Southern California. Where else would young men sound so damned happy? They didn't brood because women attended their concerts. Even if you don't like their music, you have to admit their concerts smelled great!
7) "Everybody Wants Some!!": Women and Children First is the band taking its sound and trashing it at every turn. You want form? Too bad. We're just going to crank the amps as loud as we can get them and see what happens. This song is best known to kids of the 1980s for its appearance in the cinematic masterpiece Better Off Dead.
6) Jamie's Cryin': For pure pop, you can't get better than this one. Yet, when it came out, it was too heavy for pop audiences who, let's face it, considered Rod Stewart hard rock. These days, this would be the mellowest thing on the radio. Unless you listen those stations that advertise Ben-Gay.