Van Halen (album)

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Van Halen
Studio album by Van Halen
Released February 10, 1978
Recorded September – October 1977 at Sunset Sound Recorders, Hollywood
Genre Hard rock, heavy metal
Length 35:13
Label Warner Bros.
Producer Ted Templeman
Van Halen chronology
Van Halen
Van Halen II
Singles from Van Halen
  1. "You Really Got Me"
    Released: 1978
  2. "Runnin' with the Devil"
    Released: May 1978
  3. "Ain't Talkin' 'bout Love"
    Released: 1978
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 5/5 stars[1]
Robert Christgau C[2]
Rolling Stone (1978) (mixed)[3]
Rolling Stone (2004) 5/5 stars[4]

Van Halen is the debut studio album by American rock band Van Halen. Released on February 10, 1978, the album initially peaked at #19 on the US Billboard Albums Chart, en route to selling over ten million copies in the US alone by 1999, (RIAA diamond status.) [5]

Van Halen contains many of Van Halen's signature songs, including "Runnin' with the Devil", the guitar solo "Eruption", the The Kinks cover "You Really Got Me", "Ain't Talkin' 'bout Love", "Jamie's Cryin'", and "Ice Cream Man". Each of these songs remains a staple of rock radio.[6]

Packaging and artwork[edit]

The album cover photos 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 Edward Van Halen's famous Frankenstrat Guitar, a Fender prototype replica of which is now housed in the Smithsonian Institution. Assembled by Eddie in his parents' garage, the "Frankenstrat" features a neck purchased from Boogie Bodies and a Stratocaster style body custom made by Wayne Charvel in California.[7]


Shortly after its release, Van Halen became regarded as one of rock and roll's greatest debut albums, by both fans and critics; however, on its immediate release in February 1978 – much like Led Zeppelin's eponymous debutVan Halen met with mostly negative reviews from rock critics. In 1978, music critic Robert Christgau facetiously wrote, "the term ['bar band'] becomes honorific when the music belongs in a bar. This music belongs on an aircraft carrier."[8] In May 1978, Rolling Stone critic Charles M. Young wrote, "Mark my words: in three years, Van Halen is going to be fat and self-indulgent and disgusting, and they'll follow Deep Purple and Led Zeppelin right into the toilet. In the meantime, they are likely to be a big deal." [9]

In a retrospective review for Allmusic, Stephen Thomas Erlewine said that Van Halen signified "an epochal generation shift, like [the debut albums of] Led Zeppelin, The Ramones, The Rolling Stones, or Never Mind the Bollocks, Here's the Sex Pistols. 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." [10] In 2003, Rolling Stone, listed it among The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time, at No. 415.[11] In 2013, Rolling Stone also listed the album at No. 27 of the 100 Best Debut Albums of All Time.[12] In 2006, Guitar World readers ranked it No. 7 on a list of the Greatest Guitar Albums of All Time.[13]

Track listing[edit]

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

Side A
No. Title Length
1. "Runnin' with the Devil"   3:36
2. "Eruption" (Instrumental) 1:43
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 B
No. Title Length
1. "Jamie's Cryin'"   3:31
2. "Atomic Punk"   3:02
3. "Feel Your Love Tonight"   3:43
4. "Little Dreamer"   3:23
5. "Ice Cream Man" (John Brim) 3:20
6. "On Fire"   3:01


Band members[edit]


Charts and certifications[edit]

In 1999, Van Halen's eponymous debut was re-certified by the RIAA for selling ten million copies in the US alone.[14] 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.[5]

Van Halen, 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 1999. 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 2012.[15][16]


Billboard (North America)

Year Chart Position
1978 Pop Albums[17] 19
1984 The Billboard 200 117


Billboard (North America)

Year Single Chart Position
1978 "You Really Got Me" Pop Singles 36
1978 "Runnin' with the Devil" Pop Singles 84
1978 "Ain't Talkin' 'bout Love"


Region Certification Sales/shipments
Canada (Music Canada)[18] 4× Platinum 400,000^
Finland (Musiikkituottajat)[19] Gold 25,305[19]
France (SNEP)[20] Gold 100,000*
Germany (BVMI)[21] Gold 250,000^
United Kingdom (BPI)[22] Gold 100,000^
United States (RIAA)[23] 10× Platinum 10,000,000^

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

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "Van Halen – Van Halen". AllMusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved 2011-11-22. 
  2. ^ Christgau, Robert (1978). "Consumer Guide". The Village Voice (New York). Retrieved September 25, 2012. 
  3. ^ Young, Charles M. (May 4, 1978). "Van Halen:Van Halen". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on April 27, 2007. Retrieved 2011-07-15. 
  4. ^ Edwards, Gavin (November 25, 2004). "Van Halen:Van Halen (2004 review)". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on February 14, 2008. 
  5. ^ a b "Diamond Awards - February 21, 2014". RIAA. Retrieved 2014-02-22. 
  6. ^ [1][dead link]
  7. ^ Quan, Denise (February 4, 2009). "Eddie Van Halen reinvents the guitar". CNN. Retrieved 2011-07-15. 
  8. ^ "CG: Van Halen". Robert Christgau. Retrieved 2014-02-22. 
  9. ^ By Charles M. Young (1978-05-04). "Van Halen | Album Reviews". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2014-02-22. 
  10. ^ Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine (1978-02-10). "Van Halen - Van Halen | Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards". AllMusic. Retrieved 2014-02-22. 
  11. ^ "500 Greatest Albums – Van Halen:Van Halen". Rolling Stone. November 1, 2003. Retrieved December 2, 2009. 
  12. ^ "The 100 Best Debut Albums of All Time: 'Van Halen'". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2014-02-22. 
  13. ^ "100 Greatest Guitar Albums". Guitar World. October 2006.  A copy can be found at "Guitar World's 100 Greatest Guitar Albums of All Time – Rate Your Music". Retrieved October 12, 2011. 
  14. ^ "Gold & Platinum Searchable Database - February 21, 2014". RIAA. Retrieved 2014-02-22. 
  15. ^ "Van Halen - Chart history". Billboard. Retrieved 2014-02-22. 
  16. ^ "Van Halen - Chart history". Billboard. Retrieved 2014-02-22. 
  17. ^ "Van Halen – Van Halen". Billboard. Billboard. Retrieved 2011-11-22. 
  18. ^ "Canadian album certifications – Van Halen – Van Halen". Music Canada. 
  19. ^ a b The first web page presents the sales figures, the second presents the certification limits:
  20. ^ "French album certifications – Van Halen – Van Halen" (in French). InfoDisc.  Select VAN HALEN and click OK
  21. ^ "Gold-/Platin-Datenbank (Van Halen; 'Van Halen')" (in German). Bundesverband Musikindustrie. 
  22. ^ "British album certifications – Van Halen – Van Halen". British Phonographic Industry.  Enter Van Halen in the field Search. Select Title in the field Search by. Select album in the field By Format. Click Go
  23. ^ "American album certifications – Van Halen – Van Halen". Recording Industry Association of America.  If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH