It is impossible to argue that Van Halen was underestimated. But you can say that certain songs from hard rock legends have not received the love and attention they deserve.
Van Halen tracks like “Fools”, “One Foot Out the Door” and “Feels So Good” have been overlooked mostly because they are overshadowed by more instantly amazing songs. Somewhere around the mid-90s, when Van Halen finally ran into a rocky creative ground, some underrated cuts were anything but ignored on subversive or underrated albums such as. Balance and Another kind of truth.
We highlight the most overlooked song from each Van Halen album below.
From: Van Halen (1978)
There really is not much about Van Hallen’s universally acclaimed debut album that can be considered underrated. It’s almost as if they first released their biggest hits LP. Most of the songs were forged during the band’s early club days and remained a large part of their set on almost every show performed with David Lee Roth. Even Sammy Hagar sang “Ain’t Talkin ” Bout Love” almost every night. After appearing on almost every Roth-fronted tour, often as the opening track, the freewheeling “On Fire” was still the only song from Van Halen not to perform during any of the band’s three reunion tours after Roth.
“You are not good”
From: Van Halen II (1979)
“Dance the Night Away” gets more attention than any other song on Van Hallen’s quickly recorded second album, which makes sense given how well it shows the band’s unabashed sunny pop sensitivity. But they decided to lead the album with a moody and threatening cover of “You’re No Good”, a bold choice given that Linda Ronstadt released her own hit version of the song just five years earlier. “So what, man,” producer Ted Templeman recalled in his 2020 autobiography that Roth said. “Well scare people with our. “
From: Women and children first (1980)
Van Halen was able to spend a little more time in the studio for their third album, which got them experimenting with overdubs and more complex arrangements. Buried among future staples like “Romeo Delight”, “Everybody Wants Some !!” and “And the Cradle Will Rock …” on the first page of the album, “Fools”, the band finds supersize one of their club day songs. It ends up being quite epic with an extended guitar solo, a Godzilla-sized guitar riff and one of the album’s most undeniable choruses.
“A foot out the door”
From: Fair warning (1981)
Though Women and children first“And the Cradle Will Rock …” was the first Van Halen song that contained keyboards, the electric piano riff was run through a phase shifter and amplifier and wound up, like a guitar. On the other hand, there are no errors Fair warning“One Foot Out the Door” (and the previous instrumental “Sunday Afternoon in the Park”) is powered by a synthesizer. The instrument adds an exciting new dimension to the band’s sound, leading to the massive crossover success “Jump” three years later. The two-minute long “One Foot Out the Door” devotes half of its operating time to one of Eddie Van Halen’s most inspired guitar solos.
“The Full Bug”
From: Dive down (1982)
Dive down remembered mainly for his compromises. Carried by years of constant touring and recording, Van Halen recorded Roy Orbison’s “(Oh) Pretty Woman” as a time-consuming single. The plan returned. When the song became a hit, the label demanded a new album – immediately. The exhausted group scraped together a set of 31 minutes that contained three instrumentals and another four cover songs. It all coincided surprisingly well as the band showed new depth and subtlety on tracks like “Secrets” and “Little Guitars.” Oddly enough, the album lost a couple of new straight-forward rock songs in the mix. “The Full Bug” is the better of the two, featuring a peacocking Roth vocal as well as admirable acoustic guitar and harmonica by the singer.
“Drop Dead Legs”
From: 1984 (1984)
The four singles released from Van Halen’s sixth album, most notably “Jump”, led them to new levels of fame. Chances are “Panama”, “I’m Waiting”, “Hot for Teacher” or “Jump” are playing on the radio somewhere near you right now. No surprise when the other four songs were invented 1984 would be overlooked. And the truth is, they do not reach the same high standards as the more famous tracks. Still, the clumsy, strutting “Drop Dead Legs” comes close, with a commanding Roth performance that makes room for an extended instrumental coda.
From: 5150 (1986)
Sammy Hagar’s arrival freed Eddie Van Halen to write material that he could not even consider when David Lee Roth was the band’s singer. The catchy synth-pop of “Why Can’t This Be Love”, the soaring “Dreams” and the group’s first straight ballad, “Love Walks In”, got most of the attention and the mature, dynamic but still rocking “Best of Two Worlds “is a fan favorite. The album’s title track deserves the same amount of love. It is one of Eddie’s most intricate guitar compositions with a spectacular instrumental section that opens. Hagar rises to the event both lyrically and vocally and shows that he can be convincing, even when he is not singing about girls, cars or tequila.
“Feels so good”
From: OU812 (1988)
Van Halen’s second album with Sammy Hagar found that the band branched out even further than it did on 5150. The country-inspired “Finish What You Started” and the beautiful ballad “When It’s Love” got the most airplay, while the fan favorite “Cabo Wabo” got a music club and tequila brand named after it. But on an album filled with curveballs, one of its most straightforward songs is also one of its most enduring. “Feels So Good” is a simple, optimistic keyboard-driven love song that features a knockout vocal by Hagar with the help of his new best friend, Michael Anthony.
From: For illegal carnal knowledge (1991)
Possibly inspired by Metallica’s show-stealing performances on the shared Monsters of Rock tour, Van Halen traded the growing diversity of their three previous albums for a back-to-basics guitar-centered approach to For illegal carnal knowledge. Eddie Van Halen’s use of a power exercise on the lead single “Poundcake” got a lot of attention, as did the uplifting “Right Now”. But the most refreshing riffing may take place in “Judgment Day.” Eddie Van Halen puts his whammy bar through hell on the song, but the suffering was worth it.
“Take Me Back (Deja Vu)”
From: Balance (1995)
It is well documented that Van Halen was not on the same page during the making of their last album with Sammy Hagar. It’s hard not to read “Don’t Tell Me (What Love Can Do)” as their attempt at grunge-inspired seriousness, and they pull it off with surprising success. Eddie Van Halen’s instrumental showcase “Balucitherium” also holds up to repeated listeners better than you expected. But the most underrated song on Balance is the sad, bittersweet “Take Me Back (Deja Vu)”, which contains a nice and evocative use of acoustic guitars.
From: Van Halen III (1998)
Eddie Van Halen repeatedly pointed out that the last album he bought was Peter Gabriels So. Twelve years later, the influence of the 1986 masterpiece shows itself in the atmospheric and impeccably produced “Once Upon a Time”. The slow-burning eight-minute meditation proved to be the best match for new singer Gary Cherone and one of the few highlights from Van Hallen’s otherwise frustrating III.
“You and your blues”
From: Another kind of truth (2012)
Not much on this album can really be considered underrated … or overrated for that matter. But it’s mostly Van Halen’s fault for going 14 long years without releasing a new studio album. More than half of Another kind of truthSongs were reworked unreleased songs from the band’s early years, and they are pretty good. Still, fans weren’t as excited about “Tattoo” as LP’s first single. A better choice: the new “You and Your Blues,” in which Roth deconstructs blues clichés over an infectious Eddie Van Halen riff. It’s all characterized by the band’s background wok still sweeping, even without Michael Anthony (who was replaced on the album by Eddie’s son Wolfgang). While we are at it, “She’s the Woman”, “Outta Space”, “Stay Frosty” and “Big River” are also better choices than “Tattoo”.