Van Halen, Van Halen (1978)
It starts with Runnin’ With The Devil. What a kick-ass way to start an album. Then there’s Eruption. That cat is making alien noises with his axe. And then that cover of You Really Got Me. It’s an amazing way to start an album. But it gets better with Ain’t Talkin’ Bout Love. That is killer man. And side two has Jamie’s Cryin’ – these guys released their greatest hits as their debut! And they did it right in the punk-era; they made their own music in their own bubble. An American rock music that was not without its antecedents but felt like it was without precedent. Especially with that genius on guitar. And his equally gifted brother thumping the skins. David Lee Roth owned the microphone and the stage. And even thought the Van Halen brothers seem keen to write Michael Anthony out of their story that dude’s backing vocals are such a huge part of the Van Halen sound. I remember being blown away by Van Halen as a kid; blown away. Eddie was (is) a freak. And every time I hear this album I think how remarkable it is to have been released at this time. It’s a unique masterpiece; in many ways it was as punk – in and of its making, its defiance – as anything that was actually punk. It lit a fire for so many. And it still burns when you hear this record. I can’t remember where I got this copy (Groovy, at a guess). And I can’t remember when I first heard Van Halen’s self-titled debut. I know it wasn’t the first album by the band that I heard. I started off with 5150 and 1984 (already part of The Vinyl Countdown). Van Halen is only ever my favourite band when I’m listening to them. But that’s good enough. That’s how it works. Their music makes you believe in the power of a great rock song and a great rock performance. Especially the case with Roth-era Van Halen. Masters.
Sample Track: Ain’t Talkin’ Bout Love
The Vinyl Countdown is a document of every LP I listen to, brand new discoveries and old-old favourites; extremely pre-loved, previously abandoned or with the shrink-wrap having just been removed it’s all here at The Vinyl Countdown