OU812

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OU812
Studio album by Van Halen
Released May 24, 1988
Recorded September 1987 – April 1988 at 5150 Studios, Hollywood, CA
Genre Hard rock
Length 50:09
Label Warner Bros.
Producer Van Halen, Donn Landee
Van Halen chronology
5150
(1986)
OU812
(1988)
For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge
(1991)

OU812 (pronounced "Oh You Ate One Too") 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.

Packaging[edit]

The album's front cover is an homage to the classic cover of With The Beatles. The cover is also similar to that of Red by King Crimson. Album artwork for the back cover is Hugo Rheinhold's Affe mit Schädel.[1]

The track listing on the back cover is arranged in alphabetical order, instead of in sequence on some releases.

The album is dedicated to Eddie and Alex Van Halen's father, Jan, who died in December 1986 at the age of 66. The inner linings of the album include the words, "This one's for you, Pa". Jan had previously appeared playing clarinet on one track, "Big Bad Bill (Is Sweet William Now)", on Van Halen's 1982 album, Diver Down.[2]

Reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 3.5/5 stars[3]
Robert Christgau C[4]
Rolling Stone 3.5/5 stars[5]
Ultimate Guitar 3/5 stars

Reviews for OU812 were initially mixed. The Village Voice's Robert Christgau rated the album a C, which signifies "a record of clear professionalism or barely discernible inspiration, but not both." He noted that "trading Dave for Sammy sure wrecked their shot at Led Zep of the '80s--master guitarist, signature vocalist, underrated rhythm section." However, he stated: "Eddie's obsessed with technique, Roth's contemptuous of technique, rhythm section's got enough technique and no klutz genius. But Sammy . . . like wow. If I can't claim the new boy owns them [...], you can't deny he defines them."[4]

Rolling Stone's David Fricke rated the album three-and-a-half out of five stars. He said of "Source of Infection": "While Eddie Van Halen sprays you with a machine-gun succession of speed-metal-guitar arpeggios, Sammy Hagar sends out the party invitations with his usual savoir-faire — "Hey! All right! Whoo!" Alex Van Halen and Michael Anthony, of course, take him at his word, shooting into hyper-beat space before you can say, "Jump."" He noted that "Van Halen, contrary to purist grumbling, did not wimp out when Diamond Dave hit the bricks. Nor did the band go — ugh! — pop: the 5150 ladies' choice "Why Can't This Be Love" wasn't really a ballad; it was more like Big Rock Melancholia. In fact, all the 5150-model Van Halen did was replace one mighty mouth with another and trot out some hip, new songwriting tricks." Still, he stated that "the curve balls [...] don't always hit the strike zone. "Finish What Ya Started" is an unexpected turn into wheat-field-rock country." Despite this, he concluded that "maybe Eddie and company haven't been pushing the envelope, so to speak, far enough in terms of songwriting. But "Mine All Mine" is a good teaser for the future, the slow stuff is classy radio fare, and at its best, OU812 is a veritable feast of great white rock & roll wow."[5]

A retrospective review from AllMusic's Stephen Thomas Erlewine was fairly positive. Erlewine stated that "when David Lee Roth fronted the band, almost everything that Van Halen did seemed easy – as big, boisterous, and raucous as an actual party – but Van Hagar makes good times seem like tough work here." Still, he stated that "the riffs are complicated, not catchy, the rhythms plod, they don't rock, and Sammy strains to inject some good times by singing too hard." However, he concluded that "if it isn't as good as [Fair Warning] (even if it's nearly not as much fun), it's nevertheless the best showcase of the instrumental abilities of Van Hagar."[3]

Track listing[edit]

All songs written by Van Halen, except where noted.

No. Title Length
1. "Mine All Mine"   5:11
2. "When It's Love"   5:36
3. "A.F.U. (Naturally Wired)"   4:28
4. "Cabo Wabo"   7:04
5. "Source of Infection"   3:58
6. "Feels So Good"   4:27
7. "Finish What Ya Started"   4:20
8. "Black and Blue"   5:24
9. "Sucker in a 3 Piece"   5:52
10. "A Apolitical Blues" (Lowell George) 3:50

The original European release (as shipped in France, Germany, Italy and the UK) is missing track 10, as are all vinyl pressings of the album.[citation needed] All US CD's and few cassette versions have track 10.

Personnel[edit]

Production[edit]

Certifications[edit]

Region Certification Sales/shipments
United Kingdom (BPI)[6] Silver 60,000^
United States (RIAA)[7] 4× Platinum 4,000,000^

^shipments figures based on certification alone

Charts[edit]

Album[edit]

Billboard (North America)

Year Chart Position
1988 The Billboard 200 1

Singles[edit]

Billboard (North America)

Year Single Chart Position
1988 "Black and Blue" Mainstream Rock Tracks 1
The Billboard Hot 100 34
"Cabo Wabo" Mainstream Rock Tracks 31
"Feels So Good" Mainstream Rock Tracks 6
"Finish What Ya Started" Mainstream Rock Tracks 2
The Billboard Hot 100 13
"When It's Love" Mainstream Rock Tracks 1
The Billboard Hot 100 5
"Mine All Mine Mainstream Rock Tracks 50
1989 "Feels So Good" The Billboard Hot 100 35

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Entries - OU812". The Van Halen Encyclopedia. Retrieved 2012-07-06. 
  2. ^ Diver Down
  3. ^ a b Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. OU812 at AllMusic. Retrieved June 28, 2011.
  4. ^ a b Christgau, Robert. "CG: Van Halen". The Village Voice. Retrieved October 10, 2011. 
  5. ^ a b Fricke, David (June 30, 1988). "OU812". Rolling Stone. Wenner Media. Retrieved October 10, 2011. 
  6. ^ "British album certifications – Van Halen – OU812". British Phonographic Industry.  Enter OU812 in the field Search. Select Title in the field Search by. Select album in the field By Format. Click Go
  7. ^ "American album certifications – Van Halen – OU812". Recording Industry Association of America.  If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH
Preceded by
Faith by George Michael
Billboard 200 number-one album
June 25 – July 22, 1988
Succeeded by
Hysteria by Def Leppard