Balance (Van Halen album)
|Studio album by Van Halen|
|Released||January 24, 1995|
|Recorded||1983 ("Strung Out" only); May–September 1994 at 5150 Studios in Studio City; Little Mountain Sound Studios in Vancouver|
|Genre||Hard rock, pop rock|
|Van Halen chronology|
|Sammy Hagar chronology|
Balance is the tenth studio album by hard rock band Van Halen, released on January 24, 1995 through Warner Bros. Records. The album is the last of the band's four studio releases to feature Sammy Hagar as lead vocalist. Balance reached number 1 on the U.S. Billboard 200 in February 1995 and reached Triple Platinum on May 12, 2004 by selling more than three million copies in the U.S.
Recording and production
According to Ian Christe's book, Everybody Wants Some: The Van Halen Saga, Balance was Van Halen’s tenth album and was released amid internal fighting between Sammy Hagar and Eddie and Alex Van Halen. The band worked eight-hour days for three weeks recording the album. The first song on the record, “The Seventh Seal”, features mystical overtones that came, in part, from Eddie’s newfound sobriety. His therapist, Sat-Kaur Khalsa, urged him to relax and imagine where he was after drinking a six-pack of beer. After smoking cigarettes, drinking beer, and playing guitar for twenty years, he tried writing songs sober and wrote three songs in one half hour period. The album then moves into Sammy’s territory with “Can’t Stop Lovin’ You”. This song was taken from his ex-wife’s point of view, believing that she was still in love with him. The band saw more success with its hard rock genre as seen in the album’s song, “Aftershock”. The band was unable, however, to continue their successes from their early days much longer as Michael Anthony now had two daughters and was not as able to work with the band when needed. Along with Michael’s inability to drop everything when asked, Sammy no longer enjoyed working. He began only showing up for two hours in the afternoon. The band managed to pull everything together, though, and the album reached number 1; their fourth consecutive number one studio album.
Most of the Balance album was recorded at Eddie Van Halen's 5150 Studios, located in Studio City, except for five lead vocal tracks which were recorded in Vancouver, where the album's producer Bruce Fairbairn resided. It was mixed by Mike Fraser and mastered at Sterling Sound, New York, by George Marino.
Following the recording of Balance and its subsequent Ambulance Tour (the band renamed the "balance" tour to the "ambulance tour" because Eddie was having hip issues and brother Alex had to wear a neck brace ), Van Halen's second incarnation broke up. Regarding this time period, in 1997, Eddie Van Halen told Guitar World: "There had been a variety of conflicts brewing between Sammy and the band since I quit drinking on October 2, 1994... It got so bad that I actually started drinking again."
Selected song details
"The Seventh Seal" kicks off the album. Complete with chanting monks and dangling metal bells, the song unveiled a vast, open, U2-like guitar wall that propelled through the darkest terrain the band ever tackled. As a side note Eddie revealed in 2012 that The Seventh Seal was written before Van Halen became a band.
"Amsterdam" was written about the capital city of Eddie and Alex Van Halen's country of birth; their actual birthplace being the town of Nijmegen, further to the east. Eddie is on record in Guitar World as saying, "I always hated the words to "Wham, Bam Amsterdam," from Balance, because they were all about smoking pot. They were just stupid. Lyrics should plant some sort of seed for thought, or at least be a little more metamorphical."
During The Balance tour show in Pensacola, Florida, Hagar stated that "Take Me Back (Déjà Vu)" was "a true story". The song itself features a then almost 20-year-old riff Eddie had previously used on a song entitled "No More Waiting" which the band played on occasion in the pre-Van Halen I era.
The album's cover art does not feature the current bassist, Wolfgang Van Halen, as most people thought in the last years, it was just a rumour, it's known that the original boy was from Denver. The cover shows a toddler altered as a conjoined twin on a see-saw and they are both nude. Some countries refused to sell the album due to this offending cover. The left child was later airbrushed out. On the inside, the CD shows the Leonardo da Vinci drawing Vitruvian Man, and the back of the booklet shows an egg sitting on a guitar.
Release and promotion
Balance was released January 24, 1995 is the first release by a platinum-certified act on Warner Bros.. since Danny Goldberg stepped in as chairman/CEO. It's also the band's first album since the loss of their longtime manager Ed Leffler, who died of thyroid cancer on October 16, 1993, before Ray Danniels took over management of the band (mostly due to Alex's personal relationship with Danniels). Warner Bros. said that early 1995 would be the right time to unleash a new Van Halen album. "It seems like we've always had success with big acts right after the first of the year," says Warner Bros. VP of merchandising and advertising Jim Wagner. "Don't Tell Me (What Love Can Do)," the first single from Balance, was shipped to top 40 and album rock radio on December 28, 1994. Van Halen takes the honor of being the first act to debut at No. 1 in 1995, as their weekly sales of 295,000 units earns Balance The Billboard 200 crown. The opening-week tally for Van Halen's Balance is 21% higher than that of For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge, the band's last studio album, which topped the chart with 243,000 units in the summer of 1991.
The album was also released on vinyl and excludes "Baluchitherium" constraints and a slightly altered track order. The Japanese bonus track "Crossing Over" was also the B-side to the US CD single for "Can't Stop Lovin' You".
|1.||"The Seventh Seal"||5:18|
|2.||"Can't Stop Lovin' You"||4:08|
|3.||"Don't Tell Me (What Love Can Do)"||5:56|
|5.||"Big Fat Money"||3:57|
|6.||"Strung Out" (instrumental)||1:29|
|9.||"Doin' Time" (drum solo by Alex Van Halen)||1:41|
|10.||"Baluchitherium" (instrumental) (does not appear on vinyl)||4:05|
|11.||"Take Me Back (Déjà Vu)" (tenth song on vinyl)||4:43|
|12.||"Feelin'" (eleventh song on vinyl)||6:36|
|13.||"Crossing Over" (Japanese bonus track)||4:49|
- Eddie Van Halen – guitar, keyboard, background vocals
- Michael Anthony – bass, background vocals
- Alex Van Halen – drums, percussion
- Sammy Hagar – lead vocals
- Steve Lukather – backing vocals ("Not Enough")
- The Monks of Gyuto Tantric University – chants ("The Seventh Seal")
- Bruce Fairbairn – production
- Erwin Musper, Mike Plotnikoff – engineering
- Mike Fraser – mixing
- George Marino – mastering
- Jeri Heiden – art direction
- Randee Saint Nicholas, Glen Wexler (front cover) – photography
|Canada (Music Canada)||3× Platinum||300,000^|
|United States (RIAA)||3× Platinum||3,000,000^|
*sales figures based on certification alone
|1995||The Billboard 200||1|
|1995||"Amsterdam"||Mainstream Rock Tracks||9|
|1995||"Can't Stop Lovin' You"||Mainstream Rock Tracks||2|
|1995||"Can't Stop Lovin' You"||The Billboard Hot 100||30|
|1995||"Can't Stop Lovin' You"||Top 40 Mainstream||11|
|1995||"Don't Tell Me (What Love Can Do)"||Mainstream Rock Tracks||1|
|1995||"Not Enough"||Mainstream Rock Tracks||27|
|1995||"Not Enough"||The Billboard Hot 100||97|
|1995||"Not Enough"||Top 40 Mainstream||39|
|1995||"The Seventh Seal"||Mainstream Rock Tracks||36|
- AllMusic review
- Frost, Deborah (February 10, 1995). "Balance Review". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved October 21, 2013.
- Evans, Paul (March 23, 1995). "Van Halen - Balance". Rolling Stone. Retrieved October 21, 2013.
- "Van Halen - Album chart history". AllMusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved November 11, 2013.
- "Gold & Platinum - November 11, 2013". RIAA. Retrieved November 11, 2013.
- Christe, Ian (2008). Everybody wants some : the Van Halen saga. Hoboken, N.J.: John Wiley & Sons. ISBN 978-0470373569.
- "14th anniversary of the Balance Tour". Van Halen news desk. Retrieved November 12, 2013.
- Christe, Ian (2007). Everybody Wants Some: The Van Halen Story. Hoboken, New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons, Inc. p. 186. ISBN 978-0-470-03910-6.
- "Interview: Eddie Van Halen Talks 'A Different Kind of Truth'". Guitar World. August 30, 2012. Retrieved April 22, 2014.
- "Unreleased Music". Classicvanhalen.com. Retrieved October 21, 2013.
- Stuba, Chris. "All access photo interview". VH news desk. VH News Desk. Retrieved March 1, 2014.
- Rosen, Craig. "Van Halen strikes a 'balance'; new Warner album reflects changes". Billboard. Retrieved November 12, 2013.
- Mayfield, Geoff (February 11, 1995). "Between the Bullets". Billboard 107 (6): 94.
- "Van Halen — Balance (1995, Warner Brothers, 45760)". stevelukather.net. Archived from the original on May 4, 2004.
- "Brazilian album certifications – Van Halen – Balance" (in Portuguese). Associação Brasileira dos Produtores de Discos.
- "Canadian album certifications – Van Halen – Balance". Music Canada.
- "American album certifications – Van Halen – Balance". Recording Industry Association of America. If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH
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