Why Can't This Be Love

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
"Why Can't This Be Love"
Van Halen - Why Can't This Be Love.jpg
Single by Van Halen
from the album 5150
B-side"Get Up"
ReleasedFebruary 26, 1986
Length3:47 / 5:00 (extended version)
LabelWarner Bros.
  • Mick Jones
  • Donn Landee
  • Eddie Van Halen
  • MIchael Anthony
  • Sammy Hagar
  • Alex Van Halen
Van Halen singles chronology
"Hot for Teacher"
"Why Can't This Be Love"

"Why Can't This Be Love" is a song by the American rock band Van Halen for their seventh studio album, 5150 (1986). The song was released as the lead single from 5150 on February 26, 1986 through Warner Bros. Records. It was the group's first single with lead vocalist Sammy Hagar, who replaced founding member David Lee Roth. It was released on both 7" and 12" single formats, the 12" single featuring an extended version of the song. The song is driven by bouncy lead keyboard work from Eddie Van Halen performed on an Oberheim OB-8.[1]

It was a hit single for the band, rising to number three on the Billboard Hot 100 in the US and helping 5150 reach the number one slot on the albums chart, a first for the band. It was also a top 10 hit in Germany and a top 20 single in the Netherlands and Sweden.

Live performances and in popular culture[edit]

During the 5150 and OU812 tours, Eddie Van Halen played the keyboard parts (using either a Kurzweil K250 or Yamaha KX88 connected by MIDI to an OB-8 backstage) while Hagar played the guitar parts and the solo. Since the For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge tour, Van Halen has taken over the guitar parts and the keyboards are played backstage. Starting during the 1995 Balance tour, Michael Anthony and Eddie Van Halen would sing the second verse of the song during live performances. They would continue to do this on both the 1998 and 2004 tours.

The song was covered by Gigolo Aunts on Everybody Wants Some! (of Van Halen), released in 1997 by CherryDisc Records (Catalog Number: CH 5794-2). It was covered by Arab Strap on their EP The Shy Retirer and their self-released live album The Cunted Circus.

In 2010, a two-part episode from the Canadian hit show Degrassi: The Next Generation was named after this song.

The song is often a source of humor since it contains the tautological lyrics Only time will tell if we stand the test of time. In 2008, The Telegraph named this the 8th worst lyric of all time.[2]

The B-Side, "Get Up", was used by Japanese pro wrestler Mr. Pogo as his entrance theme music.

During the Gulf War, the song was considered to be a favorite with American fighter pilots.[3]



Chart (1986) Peak
Australia (ARIA)[4] 8
Germany (Official German Charts)[5] 8
New Zealand (Recorded Music NZ)[6] 32
Netherlands (Single Top 100)[7] 15
Sweden (Sverigetopplistan)[8] 11
US Billboard Hot 100[9] 3
UK Singles Chart[10] 8
US Top Rock Tracks (Billboard)[11] 1


  1. ^ OB-8 patch "Rock Unison"
  2. ^ Neate, Rupert (2008-07-09). "Worst lyric of all time: I'm serious as cancer, when I say rhythm is a dancer". ISSN 0307-1235. Retrieved 2019-04-25.
  3. ^ http://everyplatewebreak.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk/bluepill/pop/159.html
  4. ^ "Australian-charts.com – Van Halen – Why Can't This Be Love". ARIA Top 50 Singles. Retrieved August 04, 2016.
  5. ^ "Musicline.de – Van Halen Single-Chartverfolgung" (in German). Media Control Charts. PhonoNet GmbH. Retrieved May 10, 2016.
  6. ^ "Charts.nz – Van Halen – Why Can't This Be Love". Top 40 Singles. Retrieved May 10, 2016.
  7. ^ "Dutchcharts.nl – Van Halen – Why Can't This Be Love" (in Dutch). Single Top 100. Retrieved May 10, 2016.
  8. ^ "Swedishcharts.com – Van Halen – Why Can't This Be Love". Singles Top 100. Retrieved May 10, 2016.
  9. ^ "Van Halen Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard. Retrieved May 10, 2016.
  10. ^ "Official Charts Position - Van Halen - Why Can't This Be Love". Retrieved August 20, 2019.
  11. ^ "Van Halen - Chart history". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved May 10, 2016.

External links[edit]