Runnin' with the Devil
|"Runnin' with the Devil"|
|Single by Van Halen|
|from the album Van Halen|
|Released||May 6, 1978|
|Format||7" 45 RPM|
|Songwriter(s)||Michael Anthony, David Lee Roth, Alex Van Halen, Eddie Van Halen|
|Van Halen singles chronology|
"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.
The song begins with a collection of car horns sounding. The horns were taken from the band’s own cars and mounted in a box and powered by two car batteries, with a foot switch. Producer Ted Templeman slowed the horns down before adding them to the track. This same idea was first used during the band’s club sets and appeared on the Gene Simmons-recorded demo of the song, as well as the song "House of Pain" which preceded it on the demo. A four-measure guitar solo is played after the second and third chorus.
Initial pressings of the Van Halen compilation Best Of, Vol.1 contained an alternate edit of "Runnin' with the Devil" where the verses, chorus and solos were arranged in a different order than that of the original album version. It was reported that this was accidental and subsequent pressings have replaced this version with the one found on Van Halen. However, some radio stations still play this erroneous version of the song.
The song's lyrics have often been misinterpreted as being satanic, yet the members have never revealed the full meaning of the song. It is usually interpreted as being about the life of a touring young band. The song's verses deal with an individual's experience, including learning that a "simple" lifestyle is not as simple as it appears. The lyrics "Runnin' with the devil" are usually interpreted as being a reference to freedom. In the song freedom is portrayed as a lack of social ties and living in the present. The song's meaning has also been interpreted as being an attempt to convince a person that the theme of a simple life is not wrong as it appears. Therefore, the lyrics of "Runnin' with the devil" would not be serious.
- David Lee Roth – lead vocals
- Eddie Van Halen – guitar, backing vocals
- Michael Anthony – bass, backing vocals
- Alex Van Halen – drums
|1978/1980 Weekly Chart||Peak|
|Belgian VRT Top 30||11|
|Dutch Mega Charts||2|
|Dutch Top 40||8|
|U.S. Billboard Hot 100||84|
|U.K. Singles Chart||52|
|1980 Year-End Chart||Position|
|Belgian VRT Top 30||76|
|Dutch Top 40||53|
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