Van Halen (album)
|Studio album by Van Halen|
|Released||February 10, 1978|
|Recorded||August 30–September 1977|
|Studio||Sunset Sound Recorders, Hollywood|
|Genre||Hard rock, heavy metal|
|Van Halen chronology|
|Singles from Van Halen|
Van Halen is the debut studio album by American rock band Van Halen. Released on February 10, 1978, the album peaked at number 19 on the Billboard 200. The album became widely recognized as the band's popularity grew, selling more than ten million copies in the United States by 1999 and achieving RIAA Diamond status.
Van Halen contains many of Van Halen's signature songs, including "Runnin' with the Devil", the guitar solo "Eruption", The Kinks cover "You Really Got Me", "Ain't Talkin' 'Bout Love", "Jamie's Cryin'", and the cover version of John Brim's "Ice Cream Man".
In 1976, Van Halen started recording demos for their first studio album. Although Van Halen recorded a demo in 1976 with Gene Simmons, no labels discovered these recordings until the following year. Guitarist Eddie Van Halen was not convinced of the quality of the material because they could not record the recordings with their own equipment. Simmons had to leave to tour with Kiss after recording the demos, and he said he would make an effort to get Van Halen a record deal after his tour with Kiss.
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 Whisky a Go Go. After being well received by Berle at 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 Bros. The recordings of their debut album began in October 1977 and lasted only three weeks. Together with producer Ted Templeman, the album was mostly recorded live. "Runnin' with the Devil", "Jamie's Cryin'" and "Ice Cream Man" contain guitar overdubs. Overall, the album cost approximately $40,000 to produce.
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 prototype replica of which is now housed in the Smithsonian Institution.
Release and reception
|Rolling Stone (2004)|||
In the United States, Van Halen's debut album reached number 19 on the Billboard Hot 100; their debut single, a cover of the Kinks' "You Really Got Me", spent three weeks on the chart, peaking at number 36.
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, music critic Robert Christgau gave the album a negative review, writing: "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." Also 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."
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". She notes that, even before the band's debut, "Eddie became a legend among local guitarists".
In the band's licensed game, Guitar Hero: Van Halen, nine of the eleven songs of this album are available for play: "Runnin' With The Devil", "Eruption", "You Really Got Me", "Ain't Talkin' 'Bout Love", "I'm The One", "Jamie's Cryin'", "Atomic Punk", "Feel Your Love Tonight", and "Ice Cream Man".
In 1999, Van Halen was re-certified by the RIAA for selling ten million copies in the US alone. 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, 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 2014.
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. He explains, "The reason it's never given the same due is that there's no pretension, nothing self-conscious about it". 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." In Erlewine's opinion, the album "set the template for how rock and roll sounded for the next decade or more". A retrospective review by Q noted, "Hit singles came later, but this dazzling debut remains their trump card."
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. 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". In 2003, Rolling Stone, listed it among The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time, at number 410. 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. 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". In 2006, Guitar World readers ranked it number 7 on a list of the Greatest Guitar Albums of All Time. In 2013, Rolling Stone listed the album at number 27 of the 100 Best Debut Albums of All Time.
|1.||"Runnin' with the Devil"||3:36|
|3.||"You Really Got Me" (writer: Ray Davies)||2:38|
|4.||"Ain't Talkin' 'Bout Love"||3:50|
|5.||"I'm the One"||3:47|
|8.||"Feel Your Love Tonight"||3:43|
|10.||"Ice Cream Man" (writer: John Brim)||3:20|
- David Lee Roth – lead vocals, acoustic guitar on "Ice Cream Man" (credited as David Roth)
- Eddie Van Halen – guitar, backing vocals
- Alex Van Halen – drums
- Michael Anthony – bass guitar, backing vocals
- Ted Templeman – producer
- Donn Landee – engineer
- Peggy McCreary – engineer
- Kent Nebergall – engineer
- Logan Jervis – engineer
- Jo Motta – project coordinator
- Dave Bhang – art direction and design
- Elliot Gilbert – photography
- Jodi Cohen – typesetting
Billboard (North America)
|1984||The Billboard 200||117|
Billboard (North America)
|1978||"You Really Got Me"||Pop Singles||36|
|1978||"Runnin' with the Devil"||Pop Singles||84|
|1978||"Ain't Talkin' 'Bout Love"||–||–|
|Canada (Music Canada)||4× Platinum||400,000^|
|United Kingdom (BPI)||Gold||100,000^|
|United States (RIAA)||Diamond||10,000,000^|
*sales figures based on certification alone
- Renoff, Greg (13 October 2015). Van Halen Rising. Toronto: ECW Press. p. 279. ISBN 978-1-77041-263-7.
- Sunset Sound
- "Volume: Van Halen - Biography and Discography at HardHarderHeavy". hardharderheavy.de (in German). Retrieved December 30, 2016.
- Grow, Kory (March 22, 2016). "Gene Simmons Talks Lost Seventies Van Halen Demos". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on March 23, 2016. Retrieved December 30, 2016.
I gave the demo back to the band, told them I had a tour to go on and afterward I would try to get them a record deal, but until then, I tore up our contract and set them free. It didn't take them long to get on Warner Bros.
- Renoff, Greg. "How punk and new wave resurrected Hollywood's legendary Whisky a Go Go in the 1970s". medium.com/cuepoint. Archived from the original on October 1, 2016. Retrieved December 30, 2016.
- Tolinski 2010, p. 38.
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- Christgau, Robert (1978). "Consumer Guide". The Village Voice. New York. Retrieved September 25, 2012.
- Edwards, Gavin (November 25, 2004). "Van Halen:Van Halen (2004 review)". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on February 14, 2008.
- George-Warren 2001, p. 1028; Whitburn 2010, p. 683
- "CG: Van Halen". Robert Christgau. Retrieved February 22, 2014.
- Young, Charles M. (May 4, 1978). "Van Halen:Van Halen". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on April 27, 2007. Retrieved July 15, 2011.
- George-Warren 2001, p. 1028.
- "Gold & Platinum Searchable Database - February 21, 2014". RIAA. Retrieved February 22, 2014.
- "Van Halen - Chart history". Billboard. Retrieved April 30, 2015.
- "Van Halen - Chart history". Billboard. Retrieved April 30, 2015.
- Stephen Thomas Erlewine (February 10, 1978). "Van Halen - Van Halen | Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards". AllMusic. Retrieved February 22, 2014.
- 'Q, August 2000
- Larkin 1994, p. 182.
- Graff & Durchholz 1999, p. 1187.
- Levy 2005, p. 203.
- "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". rateyourmusic.com. Retrieved October 12, 2011.
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- "Mohr Stories". Retrieved February 8, 2015.
- "Van Halen – Van Halen". Billboard. Billboard. Retrieved November 22, 2011.
- "Canadian album certifications – Van Halen – Van Halen". Music Canada.
- "Van Halen" (in Finnish). Musiikkituottajat – IFPI Finland.
- "French album certifications – Van Halen – Van Halen" (in French). InfoDisc. Select VAN HALEN and click OK
- "Gold-/Platin-Datenbank (Van Halen; 'Van Halen')" (in German). Bundesverband Musikindustrie.
- "British album certifications – Van Halen – Van Halen". British Phonographic Industry. Enter Van Halen in the field Keywords. Select Title in the field Search by. Select album in the field By Format. Select Gold in the field By Award. Click Search
- "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
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- Graff, Gary; Durchholz, Daniel (1999). MusicHound Rock: The Essential Album Guide. Visible Ink Press. ISBN 978-1-57859-061-2.
- Larkin, Colin (1994). Guinness Book of Top 1000 Albums (1 ed.). Gullane Children's Books. ISBN 978-0-85112-786-6.
- Levy, Joe, ed. (2005). Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Albums of All Time (First Paperback ed.). Wenner Books. ISBN 978-1-932958-61-4.
- Whitburn, Joel (2010). The Billboard Book of Top 40 Hits, 1955–2009 (9 ed.). Billboard Books. ISBN 978-0-8230-8554-5.
- Tolinski, Brad (April 15, 2010). Guitar World Presents Van Halen. Backbeat Books. p. 38.
- Renoff, Greg (October 1, 2015). Van Halen Rising: How a Southern California Backyard Party Band Saved Heavy Metal. ECW Press. ISBN 978-1-77090-791-1. Retrieved December 30, 2016.