Van Halen (album)

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Van Halen
Van Halen album.jpg
Studio album by
ReleasedFebruary 10, 1978 (1978-02-10)
RecordedAugust 30 – September 1977 [1]
Studio Sunset Sound Recorders, Hollywood [2]
Label Warner Bros.
Producer Ted Templeman
Van Halen chronology
Van Halen
Van Halen II
Singles from Van Halen
  1. "You Really Got Me"/"Atomic Punk"
    Released: January 28, 1978
  2. "Runnin' with the Devil"/"Eruption"
    Released: May 6, 1978
  3. "Jamie's Cryin'"/"I'm the One"
    Released: May 16, 1978
  4. "On Fire"/"Jamie's Cryin'"
    Released: September 1978 (Japan)
  5. "Ain't Talkin' 'Bout Love"/"Feel Your Love Tonight"
    Released: October 25, 1978

Van Halen is the self-titled debut studio album by American hard rock band Van Halen. Released on February 10, 1978, the album peaked at #19 on the Billboard 200. The album became widely recognized as the band's popularity grew, selling more than 10 million copies in the United States by August 7, 1996 and being certified Diamond. [3]

Van Halen American heavy metal band

Van Halen is an American hard rock band formed in Pasadena, California in 1972. Credited with "restoring hard rock to the forefront of the music scene", Van Halen is known for its energetic live shows and for the work of its acclaimed lead guitarist, Eddie Van Halen. The band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2007.

The Billboard Hot 100 is the music industry standard record chart in the United States for songs, published weekly by Billboard magazine. Chart rankings are based on sales, radio play, and online streaming in the United States.

In the United States, the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) awards certification based on the number of albums and singles sold through retail and other ancillary markets. Other countries have similar awards. Certification is not automatic; for an award to be made, the record label must request certification. The audit is conducted against net shipments after returns, which includes albums sold directly to retailers and one-stops, direct-to-consumer sales and other outlets.


Van Halen contains many of Van Halen's signature songs, including "Runnin' with the Devil", the guitar solo "Eruption", their remake of The Kinks hit "You Really Got Me", "Ain't Talkin' 'bout Love", "Jamie's Cryin'", "Feel Your Love Tonight" and their remake of John Brim's "Ice Cream Man".

Runnin with the Devil 1978 single by Van Halen

"Runnin' with the Devil" is the second single from Van Halen's 1978 eponymous debut album. The song lyrics were inspired by the Ohio Players song "Runnin' from the Devil". In 2009, it was named the 9th greatest hard rock song of all time by VH1.

"Eruption" is an instrumental rock guitar solo performed by Eddie Van Halen. It is widely considered one of the greatest guitar solos of all time, having popularized tapping. It segues into "You Really Got Me" on the album Van Halen, and the two songs are usually played together by radio stations. The song was also released as the b-side to the "Runnin' with the Devil" single.

The Kinks English rock band

The Kinks are an English rock band formed in Muswell Hill, North London, in 1964 by brothers Ray and Dave Davies. They are regarded as one of the most influential rock bands of the 1960s. The band emerged during the height of British rhythm and blues and Merseybeat, and were briefly part of the British Invasion of the United States until their touring ban in 1965. Their third single, the Ray Davies-penned "You Really Got Me", became an international hit, topping the charts in the United Kingdom and reaching the Top 10 in the United States. Their music was influenced by a wide range of genres, including rhythm and blues, British music hall, folk and country. They gained a reputation for reflecting English culture and lifestyle, fuelled by Ray Davies' wittily observational writing style, and are considered one of the most influential groups of the period.


Van Halen began recording demos in 1976. However, a three-track tape financed by Gene Simmons attracted no interest from record labels. Guitarist Eddie Van Halen was not convinced of the quality of the material because they could not make the recordings with their own equipment. [4] Simmons left to tour with Kiss after recording the demos, but said he would try to secure Van Halen a record deal afterwards. [5]

Gene Simmons American musician

Gene Klein (born Chaim Witz, known professionally as Gene Simmons, is an Israeli-American musician, singer, songwriter, record producer, entrepreneur, actor, author, and television personality. Also known by his stage persona The Demon, he is the bassist and co-lead singer of Kiss, the rock band he co-founded with lead singer and rhythm guitarist Paul Stanley in the early 1970s.

The Destroyer Tour also known as The Spirit of '76 Tour was a concert tour by Kiss, in support of their latest album. The August 20 Anaheim, California show was the most famous show of the tour, the band played to over 42,000 people, the biggest US crowd the band had played to. Bob Seger, Ted Nugent and Montrose were the opening acts. The J. Geils Band, Point Blank and Seger opened for them at their July 10 show in New Jersey, which was recorded and released on DVD decades later as "The Lost Concert"..

After recording the demos, Van Halen was offered several concerts. At a sold-out show in their hometown, Pasadena, the group's future manager, Marshall Berle, discovered the band. He and musical entrepreneur Kim Fowley paired them with punk rock band Venus and the Razorblades for a gig at the Whisky a Go Go. [6] After being well received by Berle at the Whisky a Go Go, the band gained the attention of Mo Ostin and Ted Templeman of Warner Bros. Ostin and Templeman were impressed with the band's performance at the Starwood, and Van Halen proceeded to sign a contract with Warner. [7] The recording of their debut album began in October 1977 and lasted only three weeks. [4] With producer Ted Templeman, it was mostly recorded live. [8] "Runnin' with the Devil", "Jamie's Cryin'", "Feel Your Love Tonight" and "Ice Cream Man" contain guitar overdubs. [9] Overall, the album cost approximately $40,000 to produce.[ citation needed ]

Punk rock is a rock music genre that emerged in the mid-1970s in the United States, United Kingdom, and Australia. Rooted in 1960s garage rock and other forms of what is now known as "proto-punk" music, punk rock bands rejected perceived excesses of mainstream 1970s rock. They typically produced short, fast-paced songs with hard-edged melodies and singing styles, stripped-down instrumentation, and often political, anti-establishment lyrics. Punk embraces a DIY ethic; many bands self-produce recordings and distribute them through independent record labels.

Venus and the Razorblades were a short-lived punk rock band from Los Angeles, California, formed and managed by Kim Fowley after he severed professional relations with The Runaways. They are believed to be one of the first mixed-gender American punk band. The band included guitarist/singer Roni Lee, who had co-written the song "I Wanna Be Where the Boys Are" for the Runaways; guitarist/singer Steven T.; bassist Danielle Faye ; drummer Nickey Beat ; and singers Dyan Diamond and Vicki Razorblade. When the band formed, Diamond and Razorblade were only 14 and 17 years old respectively. Session musicians were used in some of the band's recordings.

Whisky a Go Go nightclub in West Hollywood, California

Whisky a Go Go is a nightclub in West Hollywood, California. It is located at 8901 Sunset Boulevard on the Sunset Strip, corner North Clark Street, opposite North San Vicente Boulevard, northwest corner. The club has been the launching pad for bands including Iggy And The Stooges, Alice Cooper, The Doors, No Doubt, System of a Down, The Byrds, The Germs, Buffalo Springfield, Steppenwolf, Van Halen, Johnny Rivers, X, Led Zeppelin, KISS, Guns N' Roses, Death, AC/DC, Linkin Park, and Mötley Crüe. In 2006, the venue was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

“We didn’t have a ton of material", recalled bassist Michael Anthony, "so we basically just took our live show and all the songs we knew and went for it. The whole album took a couple of weeks. Ted Templeman wanted to make a big, powerful guitar record, and he had all he needed in what Eddie was doing.” [10]

Michael Anthony (musician) American musician

Michael Anthony is an American musician who is currently the bass player for the rock supergroup Chickenfoot and the Circle. Anthony was previously the bass player and background vocalist for Van Halen from 1974 to 2006.

The subsequent tour began with the band opening for Journey, along with Montrose, in the United States. [11] They later opened for Black Sabbath in Europe and the United States. [12]

Journey (band) American rock band

Journey is an American rock band that formed in San Francisco in 1973, composed of former members of Santana and Frumious Bandersnatch. The band has gone through several phases; its strongest commercial success occurred between 1978 and 1987 when Steve Perry was lead vocalist. During that period, the band released a series of hit songs, including "Don't Stop Believin'" (1981), which in 2009 became the top-selling track in iTunes history among songs not released in the 21st century. Its parent studio album, Escape, the band's seventh and most successful, reached No. 1 on the Billboard 200 and yielded another of their most popular singles, "Open Arms". Its 1983 follow-up album, Frontiers, was almost as successful in the United States, reaching No. 2 and spawning several successful singles; it broadened the band's appeal in the United Kingdom, where it reached No. 6 on the UK Albums Chart. Journey enjoyed a successful reunion in the mid-1990s and later regrouped with a series of lead singers.

Montrose (band) California-based hard rock band

Montrose was a California-based hard rock band formed in 1973 and named after guitarist and founder Ronnie Montrose. The band's original lineup featured Montrose and vocalist Sammy Hagar, who would later go on to greater fame as a solo artist and as a member of Van Halen. Rounding out the original foursome were bassist Bill Church and drummer Denny Carmassi. The group disbanded in early 1977.

The Never Say Die! Tour was a concert tour by the English heavy metal band, Black Sabbath. The tour began on 16 May 1978 in Sheffield and ended on 11 December 1978 in Albuquerque, New Mexico. It was the last full tour with Ozzy Osbourne until the band reunited for Ozzfest 1997.

Packaging and artwork

The cover photos for Van Halen were taken at the Whisky a Go Go, a Los Angeles club at which Van Halen often performed during the mid-1970s. The guitar pictured on the cover of the album is Eddie Van Halen's famous Frankenstrat Guitar (before he added the red paint), a Fender Stratocaster replica which is now housed in the Smithsonian Institution. [13]

Release and reception

Retrospective professional reviews
Review scores
AllMusic Star full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svg [14]
Christgau's Record Guide C [15]
MusicHound Rock 5/5 [16]
Q Star full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svg [17]
Rolling Stone Star full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svg [18]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide Star full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar empty.svg [19]
Loudersound Star full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svg [20]

In the United States, Van Halen reached number 19 on the Billboard Top 200; their debut single, a cover of The Kinks' "You Really Got Me", spent three weeks on the chart, peaking at number 36. [21]

Soon after its February 1978 release, Van Halen became regarded by fans and critics as one of rock and roll's greatest debut albums; however, its initial critical reception was mostly negative. In 1978, Rolling Stone critic Charles M. Young predicted, "In three years, Van Halen is going to be fat and self-indulgent and disgusting ... follow[ing] Deep Purple and Led Zeppelin right into the toilet. In the meantime, they are likely to be a big deal." [22] But he also wrote that: "Van Halen's secret is not doing anything that's original while having the hormones to do it better than all those bands who have become fat and self-indulgent and disgusting. Edward Van Halen has mastered the art of lead/rhythm guitar in the tradition of Jimmy Page and Joe Walsh; several riffs on this record beat anything Aerosmith has come up with in years. Vocalist Dave Lee Roth manages the rare hard-rock feat of infusing the largely forgettable lyrics with energy and not sounding like a castrato at the same time. Drummer Alex Van Halen and bassist Michael Anthony are competent and properly unobtrusive." [23] Village Voice critic Robert Christgau said, "For some reason Warners wants us to know that this is the biggest bar band in the San Fernando Valley ... The term becomes honorific when the music belongs in a bar. This music belongs on an aircraft carrier." [15]

According to Rolling Stone's Holly George-Warren, with the album's release the mainstream media focused on Roth's "swaggering good looks and extroverted persona", while fans and musicians "were riveted by Eddie Van Halen's guitar mastery", which included "an array of unorthodox techniques." [24] She notes that, even before the band's debut, "Eddie became a legend among local guitarists." [24]

Kerrang! magazine gave the album a very positive review, and considers the album to be an "essential purchase." They wrote, "IT'S DIFFICULT to overstate the effect VH's debut had upon its release. With the music world split between punk, disco and prog rock, Van Halen combined a dazzling live show with a party-hearty motto and, in Eddie Van Halen, a guitarist who redefined what was possible on six strings. His sound on this album—christened 'The Brown Sound'—remains the holy grail of guitar tones." [25]

Commercial performance

On August 7, 1996, Van Halen was re-certified by the RIAA for selling ten million copies in the United States alone. [26] One of only six rock bands to release two RIAA Diamond status albums, Van Halen remains one of Van Halen's two best-selling albums, along with 1984 .

Van Halen went to Gold status on May 24, 1978, and then went to Platinum status just a few months later, on October 10, 1978. In less than a year the album sold more than one million copies in the US alone, meaning that the album was already a great success. However, on October 22, 1984, the album went to 5× Multi-Platinum status, in other words, with that, the album still had a lot to sell. The album went to 6x Multi-Platinum on February 1, 1989, and then went to 7× Multi-Platinum on September 29, 1993. In less than a year later, on July 11, 1994, the album went to 8x Multi-Platinum, and finally, on August 7, 1996, just two years later, the album went to Diamond status by RIAA. [3]

The Van Halen album, like Van Halen's other David Lee Roth-era albums—excepting Van Halen II , which was re-certified in 2004, to coincide with the promotion of a Warner Bros. Records greatest hits collection—was last brought by Warner Bros. Records to the RIAA for re-certification in 1996, while 1984 was re-certified on February 8, 1999. [3] The band's split with Warner Brothers in 2002, and subsequent agreement with Interscope has eliminated Warner Brothers' incentive for paying the [relatively substantial] fee to promote Van Halen's back-catalog by having its albums re-certified. Despite lack of re-certification, Van Halen's 1978 debut has continued to sell prolifically, re-appearing numerous times on the Billboard 200 and Billboard Top Pop Catalog Albums charts, as recently as 2014. [27] [28]


AllMusic's Stephen Thomas Erlewine described Van Halen as "monumental" and "seismic", while noting that it is typically not viewed as an "epochal generation shift" in the same way as the debut albums of Led Zeppelin, the Ramones, The Rolling Stones, and the Sex Pistols. [29] He explains, "The reason it's never given the same due is that there's no pretension, nothing self-conscious about it." [29] He commented: "The still-amazing thing about Van Halen is how it sounds like it has no fathers ... Like all great originals Van Halen doesn't seem to belong to the past and it still sounds like little else, despite generations of copycats." [29] In Erlewine's opinion, the album "set the template for how rock and roll sounded for the next decade or more." [29] A retrospective review by Q noted, "Hit singles came later, but this dazzling debut remains their trump card." [30]

In 1994, Van Halen was ranked number eight in Colin Larkin's Top 50 Heavy Metal Albums . Larkin described it as "one of the truly great" debut albums of heavy metal. [31] According to authors Gary Graff and Daniel Durchholz, writing in MusicHound Rock: The Essential Album Guide (1999), Van Halen is a "headbanger's paradise"; before its release, "no one had heard or seen anything like it." [32] In 2003, Rolling Stone, listed it among The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time, at number 410. [33] According to Rolling Stone's Joe Levy, the album "gave the world a new guitar hero and charismatic frontman" in Eddie Van Halen and David Lee Roth, respectively. [33] Levy credits the tracks "Runnin' with the Devil" and "Ain't Talkin' 'Bout Love" with "put[ting] the swagger back in hard rock", praising Eddie Van Halen's "jaw-dropping technique", which "raised the bar for rock guitar." [33] In 2006, Guitar World readers ranked it number 7 on a list of the Greatest Guitar Albums of All Time. [34] In 2013, Rolling Stone listed the album at number 27 of the 100 Best Debut Albums of All Time. [35]

On April 15, 2013, David Lee Roth was interviewed by Jay Mohr for his podcast, where he selected the album as his favorite Van Halen album. [36]

In 2017, students of the Los Rios Rock School in San Juan Capistrano, California, re-recorded the full Van Halen album in one day with the help of the Produce Like a Pro team. The session was recorded in the same studio that Van Halen recorded in, using the same recording equipment that Van Halen originally used. The Van Halen album continues to inspire young musicians 40 years after its creation. [37]

Track listing

All tracks written by Eddie Van Halen, Alex Van Halen, David Lee Roth and Michael Anthony, except where noted.

Side one
1."Runnin' with the Devil" 3:36
2."Eruption" 1:42
3."You Really Got Me" Ray Davies 2:38
4."Ain't Talkin' 'bout Love" 3:50
5."I'm the One" 3:47
Side two
6."Jamie's Cryin'" 3:31
7."Atomic Punk" 3:02
8."Feel Your Love Tonight" 3:43
9."Little Dreamer" 3:23
10."Ice Cream Man" John Brim 3:20
11."On Fire*" 3:01


Van Halen



Weekly charts

Billboard (North America)

1978Pop Albums [39] 19
1984The Billboard 200117[ citation needed ]


Billboard (North America)

1978"You Really Got Me"Pop Singles36[ citation needed ]
1978"Runnin' with the Devil"Pop Singles84[ citation needed ]


RegionCertification Certified units/Sales
Canada (Music Canada) [40] 4× Platinum400,000^
Finland (Musiikkituottajat) [41] Gold25,305 [41]
France (SNEP) [42] Gold100,000*
Germany (BVMI) [43] Gold250,000^
United Kingdom (BPI) [44] Gold100,000^
United States (RIAA) [45] Diamond10,000,000^

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone

See also

Related Research Articles

<i>Van Halen II</i> 1979 studio album by Van Halen

Van Halen II is the second studio album by American hard rock band Van Halen, released on March 23, 1979. It peaked at number 6 on the Billboard 200 and spawned the singles "Dance the Night Away" and "Beautiful Girls." As of 2004, it has sold almost six million copies in the United States. Critical reaction to the album has been positive as well, with The Rolling Stone Album Guide praising the feel-good, party atmosphere of the songs.

David Lee Roth American singer

David Lee Roth is an American rock vocalist, musician, songwriter, actor, author, and former radio personality. Roth is best known as the original (1974–1985) and current (2006–present) lead singer of hard rock band Van Halen. He is also known as a successful solo artist, releasing numerous RIAA-certified Gold and Platinum albums. After more than two decades apart, Roth re-joined Van Halen in 2006 for a North American tour that became the highest grossing in the band's history and one of the highest grossing of that year. In 2012, Roth and Van Halen released the comeback album A Different Kind of Truth. In 2007, he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of Van Halen. Roth possesses a vocal range of five octaves and three notes.

<i>5150</i> (album) 1986 studio album by Van Halen

5150 is the seventh studio album by American hard rock band Van Halen, released on March 24, 1986 by Warner Bros. Records. It was the first of four albums to be recorded with new lead singer Sammy Hagar, who replaced David Lee Roth.

<i>Women and Children First</i> 1980 studio album by Van Halen

Women and Children First is the third studio album by American hard rock band Van Halen, released on March 26, 1980 on Warner Bros. Records. Produced by Ted Templeman, it was the first to feature compositions written solely by the band, and is described by critic Stephen Thomas Erlewine as "[the] record where the group started to get heavier, both sonically and, to a lesser extent, thematically."

<i>Fair Warning</i> (Van Halen album) 1981 studio album by Van Halen

Fair Warning is the fourth studio album by American rock band Van Halen. Released on April 29, 1981, it sold more than two million copies, but was still the band's slowest-selling album of the David Lee Roth era. Despite the album's commercially disappointing sales, Fair Warning was met with mostly positive reviews from critics.

<i>OU812</i> 1988 studio album by Van Halen

OU812 is the eighth studio album by American hard rock band Van Halen, released in 1988, and the second to feature vocalist Sammy Hagar. Van Halen started work on the album in September 1987 and completed it in April 1988, just one month before its release.

<i>For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge</i> 1991 studio album by Van Halen

For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge is the ninth studio album by American hard rock band Van Halen, released in 1991 on Warner Bros. Records. It debuted at number 1 on the Billboard 200 album chart and maintained the position for three weeks.

<i>Balance</i> (Van Halen album) 1995 studio album by Van Halen

Balance is the tenth studio album by American hard rock band Van Halen, released on January 24, 1995 by Warner Bros. Records. The album is the last of the band's four studio releases to feature Sammy Hagar as the lead singer. Balance reached number 1 on the U.S. Billboard 200 in February 1995 and reached Triple Platinum status on May 12, 2004 by selling more than three million copies in the U.S. "The Seventh Seal" was nominated for a Grammy for Best Hard Rock Performance.

<i>The Best of Both Worlds</i> (Van Halen album) 2004 greatest hits album by Van Halen

The Best of Both Worlds is the second greatest hits album by American hard rock band Van Halen, released on July 20, 2004 on Warner Bros. The compilation features material recorded with lead vocalists David Lee Roth and Sammy Hagar, but omitting Gary Cherone's three-year tenure with the band. Prior to The Best of Both Worlds' release, Hagar reunited with Van Halen, and the band subsequently recorded three new tracks to include on the release.

<i>1984</i> (Van Halen album) 1984 studio album by Van Halen

1984 is the sixth studio album by American hard rock band Van Halen, released on January 9, 1984. It was the last Van Halen album until A Different Kind of Truth (2012) to feature lead singer David Lee Roth, who left in 1985 following creative differences. As of 2019, this would be the final full-length album with all four original members. 1984 and Van Halen's debut are Van Halen's bestselling albums, each having sold more than 10 million copies.

<i>Eat Em and Smile</i> 1986 studio album by David Lee Roth

Eat 'Em and Smile is the debut full-length solo album by original Van Halen vocalist David Lee Roth, released on July 7, 1986.

Ted Templeman is an American record producer.

Ill Wait 1984 single by Van Halen

"I'll Wait" is a song by the American rock band Van Halen, taken from their sixth studio album, 1984 (1984). The song was written by band members Eddie Van Halen, Alex Van Halen, Michael Anthony and David Lee Roth, along with Michael McDonald and produced by Ted Templeman.

Van Halen discography discography

Van Halen is an American rock band, formed in Pasadena, California in 1972, by the Dutch-born American brothers Eddie Van Halen (guitar) and Alex Van Halen (drums), plus singer David Lee Roth and bassist Michael Anthony. The band's discography consists of 12 studio albums, two live albums, two compilation albums, and 56 singles.

Eddie Van Halen Dutch-American rock musician

Edward Lodewijk Van Halen is a Dutch-American musician, songwriter, and producer. He is the main songwriter and founder—with brother and drummer Alex Van Halen, bassist Mark Stone, and singer David Lee Roth—of the American hard rock band Van Halen. In 2012, he was voted number one in a Guitar World magazine reader's poll for "The 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time".

<i>A Different Kind of Truth</i> 2012 album by Van Halen

A Different Kind of Truth is the 12th studio album by American hard rock band Van Halen. Released on February 7, 2012, by Interscope Records, the record is Van Halen's first full-length album of studio material with former lead singer David Lee Roth since 1984. Likewise, it is Van Halen's first studio album since 1998's Van Halen III. It is the first to feature Eddie Van Halen's son Wolfgang on bass guitar, replacing Michael Anthony, who had played bass on all of Van Halen's previous albums.

Shes the Woman single by Van Halen

"She's the Woman" is the second song and single from the album, A Different Kind of Truth, from American hard rock band Van Halen. The single was released online and to radio stations February 28, 2012.


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