Van Halen III

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Van Halen III
A black-and-white photograph of a man being shot in the stomach with a cannonball
Studio album by
ReleasedMarch 17, 1998 (1998-03-17)
RecordedMarch–December 1997
Studio5150 Studios, Studio City, California
GenreHard rock
Length65:22
LabelWarner Bros.
Producer
Van Halen chronology
Video Hits Volume I
(1996)
Van Halen III
(1998)
The Best of Both Worlds
(2004)
Singles from Van Halen III
  1. "Without You"
    Released: February 19, 1998
  2. "One I Want"
    Released: April 1998
  3. "Fire in the Hole"
    Released: July 1998

Van Halen III is the eleventh studio album by American rock band Van Halen, released on March 17, 1998 by Warner Bros. Records. Produced by Mike Post and Eddie Van Halen, it was the band's first studio album in three years after Balance (1995), the band's only studio album to feature Extreme lead vocalist Gary Cherone, and the last to feature bassist Michael Anthony before he was replaced in the band by Eddie's son Wolfgang in 2006. However, Anthony only plays bass on three songs on the album, while the rest of the bass parts are played by Eddie Van Halen. Work on a follow-up album with Cherone commenced in 1999, but never advanced past a few demos.[1]

Van Halen III was the band's last studio album for fourteen years until they returned in 2012 with A Different Kind of Truth, released by Interscope Records. Clocking in at over 65 minutes, Van Halen III is their longest album.

Production[edit]

The album's title refers to Van Halen's third recorded line-up, and to the band's first two album titles, Van Halen and Van Halen II. None of its material is featured on The Best of Both Worlds, the band's 2004 compilation.

As a producer, Eddie brought his friend Mike Post. The album's final song, "How Many Say I", was an unusual acoustic piano ballad featuring Eddie on lead vocals and Cherone on backing vocals. Eddie declared he was forced into singing, and added harmonies so he would not perform alone.[2]

Van Halen III is also known for its minimal use of Michael Anthony on bass guitar. Anthony only played bass on "Without You", "One I Want" & "Fire In The Hole". Eddie Van Halen recorded bass for the rest of the album tracks that feature bass guitar. After Michael Anthony's departure from Van Halen, he confirmed that Eddie Van Halen dictated to him how to play bass on this record. He said by the time of making this album, Eddie was playing the bass more as well as drums. "I don't know if Eddie was basically making a solo record, which is what Van Halen III seemed like to me."[3] A song entitled "That's Why I Love You" was dropped at the last minute in favor of "Josephina". "Fire in the Hole" was added to the Lethal Weapon 4 film soundtrack.

"I would have preferred to tour with them and then put out a record," Cherone told KNAC. "It would have been a better idea to establish myself first and then hit the studio with the band… There were some great ideas and some little gems but it was not a great record. I had fun but at times it was like being a stranger in a strange land."[4]

The album cover is a still picture from stock footage of Frank "Cannonball" Richards, a vaudeville and sideshow performer known for his act of getting shot in the gut with a cannonball.

Commercial performance[edit]

Van Halen III debuted on the Billboard 200 at number 4, with 191,000 copies sold.[5] The album's only significant radio hit was "Without You", which reached #1 on the Mainstream Rock Tracks chart on the March 7, 1998 issue of Billboard, and remained there for six weeks. Other songs receiving airplay on rock radio were "Fire in the Hole" and "One I Want".

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
SourceRating
AllMusic2/5 stars[6]
Chicago Tribune2/4 stars[7]
Entertainment WeeklyB[8]
Los Angeles Times3/4 stars[9]
Rolling Stone2/5 stars[10]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide1/5 stars[11]

Reception for Van Halen III was mostly mixed to negative. Stephen Thomas Erlewine from AllMusic stated the album, "suffers from the same problems as Hagar-era Van Halen – limp riffs, weak melodies, and plodding, colorless rhythms."[6] Entertainment Weekly gave it a B grade rating, saying, "judging from the renewed intensity of Eddie’s guitar playing throughout much of III, having a merely competent, relatively ego-free singer seems to have reinvigorated his muse" but goes on to say "How Many Say I", a song Eddie sang lead vocals on was, "cringeworthy" and "unintentionally hilarious".[8] Greg Kot from Rolling Stone gave it 2 stars out of 5 noting, "Cherone sounds disconcertingly like Hagar, full of spleen-busting bluster and incapable of understatement", and "When the band plays it heavy, it mires itself in a Seventies tar pit, with only the chorus of "Without You" achieving any sort of pop resonance." Kot compliments Eddie's vocals saying, "'How Many Say I' finds the guitarist singing in a disarmingly appealing, nicotine-stained voice over a moody piano melody."[10] Billboard reviewer Paul Verna summed up III as "a wasted opportunity to breathe life into a now-tired formula".[12]

Track listing[edit]

All songs credited to Eddie Van Halen, Michael Anthony, Gary Cherone and Alex Van Halen.

No.TitleLength
1."Neworld" (Instrumental)1:45
2."Without You"6:30
3."One I Want"5:30
4."From Afar"5:24
5."Dirty Water Dog"5:27
6."Once"7:42
7."Fire in the Hole"5:31
8."Josephina"5:42
9."Year to the Day"8:34
10."Primary" (Instrumental)1:27
11."Ballot or the Bullet"5:42
12."How Many Say I"6:04
Total length:65:22

Personnel[edit]

Van Halen[edit]

Additional musicians[edit]

Production[edit]

  • Florian Ammon – programming
  • Dan Chavkin – photography
  • Ian Dye – programming
  • The Edward – mixing, mastering
  • Erwin Musper – engineers
  • Mike Post – production
  • Robbes – mixing, mastering
  • Ed Rogers – programming
  • F. Scott Schafer – coloring
  • Eddy Schreyer – mastering
  • Stine Schyberg – art direction
  • Paul Wight – programming

Charts[edit]

Singles[edit]

Year Title Chart Position
1998 "Fire in the Hole"[27] US Mainstream Rock Tracks 6
"One I Want"[27] 27
"Without You"[27] 1

Certifications[edit]

Region Certification Certified units/sales
Japan (RIAJ)[28] Platinum 200,000^
United States (RIAA)[29] Gold 500,000^

^ Shipments figures based on certification alone.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Gary Cherone Reflects on his Three-Year Stint In Van Halen". Rolling Stone. Retrieved May 18, 2013.
  2. ^ Evans Price, Deborah. "Van Halen Revs Up with New Singer", Billboard, 21 February 1998
  3. ^ Rolling Stone, September 2009, Issue 694, "Quick and Dirty with Michael Anthony" by Rod Yates, page114.
  4. ^ Carr, David; KNAC.com; 16 July 2009
  5. ^ Between the Bullets
  6. ^ a b Van Halen III at AllMusic
  7. ^ Kot, Greg (March 8, 1998). "Wastes Of Talent". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved July 1, 2018.
  8. ^ a b Sinclair, Tom (March 20, 1998). "Van Halen III Review". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved November 25, 2012.
  9. ^ Masuo, Sandy (March 15, 1998). "Album Review". Los Angeles Times. ISSN 0458-3035. Retrieved July 1, 2018.
  10. ^ a b Kot, Greg (March 2, 1998). "Van Halen III". Rolling Stone. Retrieved November 25, 2012.
  11. ^ Brackett, Nathan; Hoard, Christian David, eds. (2004). "Van Halen". The New Rolling Stone Album Guide. Simon and Schuster. p. 842. ISBN 9780743201698.
  12. ^ Albums
  13. ^ "Australiancharts.com – Van Halen – Van Halen III". Hung Medien. Retrieved October 8, 2020.
  14. ^ "Austriancharts.at – Van Halen – Van Halen III" (in German). Hung Medien. Retrieved October 8, 2020.
  15. ^ "Van Halen Chart History (Canadian Albums)". Billboard. Retrieved October 8, 2020.
  16. ^ "Dutchcharts.nl – Van Halen – Van Halen III" (in Dutch). Hung Medien. Retrieved October 8, 2020.
  17. ^ "Van Halen: Van Halen III" (in Finnish). Musiikkituottajat – IFPI Finland. Retrieved October 8, 2020.
  18. ^ "Lescharts.com – Van Halen – Van Halen III". Hung Medien. Retrieved October 8, 2020.
  19. ^ "Offiziellecharts.de – Van Halen – Van Halen III" (in German). GfK Entertainment Charts. Retrieved October 8, 2020.
  20. ^ "Charts.nz – Van Halen – Van Halen III". Hung Medien. Retrieved October 8, 2020.
  21. ^ "Norwegiancharts.com – Van Halen – Van Halen III". Hung Medien. Retrieved October 8, 2020.
  22. ^ "Swedishcharts.com – Van Halen – Van Halen III". Hung Medien. Retrieved October 8, 2020.
  23. ^ "Swisscharts.com – Van Halen – Van Halen III". Hung Medien. Retrieved October 8, 2020.
  24. ^ "Official Albums Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved October 8, 2020.
  25. ^ "Van Halen Chart History (Billboard 200)". Billboard. Retrieved October 8, 2020.
  26. ^ "Top Billboard 200 Albums – Year-End 1998". Billboard. Retrieved June 3, 2021.
  27. ^ a b c "Van Halen Chart History". Billboard. Retrieved October 9, 2020.
  28. ^ "Japanese album certifications – Van Halen – Van Halen III" (in Japanese). Recording Industry Association of Japan. Retrieved February 27, 2020. Select 1998年3月 on the drop-down menu
  29. ^ "American album certifications – Van Halen – Van Halen III". Recording Industry Association of America.