My Sunday Song – “Unchained” by Van Halen

For My Sunday Song #141, we are now going to tackle 10 songs from Van Halen.  They could be with David Lee Roth, Sammy Hager or even Gary Cherone on lead vocals.  We will cover all the bases.  First up will be “Unchained” off the band’s fourth album, ‘Fair Warning’.  ‘Fair Warning’ came out in April 1981 and “Unchained” was the second single off the album released in July 1981, but I had also heard no singles were ever officially released so not sure what to believe.  Either way, the song reached #13 on the Billboard Mainstream Rock Chart.

The album suffered from poor sales, but the album was received very well by the critics.  In fact, “Unchained” is often named as one of the best Van Halen songs of all time.  I can’t say I disagree with that.

The song is noted for its use of the MXR M-117 Flanger which for us non-guitar people is a pedal used that can change the sound of the guitar.  For the guitar people, It uses a Drop Db tuning with suspended fourth chords interspersed (thanks Wikipedia).  Eddie made this effect very popular and helped increase the sales of such equipment. (Picture not actual EVH pedal).

mxr_flanger_002

The song also features producer Ted Templeman on vocals.  During a point in the song, Dave is pontificating on and on and Ted jumps in and says “Come On Dave, Give Me a Break” and Dave replies, “Hey, hey, hey, hey, one break coming up!”.  It is an awesome moment in the song.

But, honestly the song is awesome due to Dave’s performance on vocals as well as Eddie’s bad ass guitar playing including another brilliant solo.  The sounds Eddie is able to produce on guitar are unparalleled.  The riffs he comes up with mixed with the rhythm section of Alex on drums and Michael on bass are bombastic and explosive and turn songs into adventures that leave you exhausted, but wanting more.

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Check out the song below and let me know what you think.  I hope you enjoy the next set of Van Halen songs and have a Happy Sunday!!

“Unchained”

You said
I cannot get there from here, baby
And I don’t care where I’m goin’
Here’s to your thin red line
I’m stepping over
Thought you’d never miss me
‘Til I got a Fat City address
Non-stop talker, what a rocker!
Blue eyed murder in a size 5 dress
Change, nothing stays the same
Unchained, yeah you hit the ground running
Change, and nothing stays the same
Unchained, yeah you hit the ground running
No, I don’t ask for permission
This is my chance to fly
Maybe enough ain’t enough for you
But it’s my turn to try
Thought you’d never miss me
‘Til I got a Fat City address
Non-stop talker, what a rocker!
Blue-eyed murder in a side-swiped dress
Change, nothing stays the same
Unchained, and ya hit the ground running
Change, and nothing stays the same
Unchained, yeah ya hit the ground running
Change, nothing stays the same
Unchained, and ya hit the ground running
Change, and nothing stays the same
Unchained, yeah ya hit the ground running
Take a look at this!
Hey, man, that suit is you!
You’ll get some leg tonight for sure!
Tell us how you do!
(Come on, Dave, give me a break.)
Hey, hey, hey, hey, one break coming up!
Change, and nothing stays the same
Unchained, yeah ya hit the ground running
Change, and nothing stays the same
Unchained, yeah ya hit the ground running
Change, and nothing stays the same
Unchained, yeah ya hit the ground running
Change, and nothing stays the same
Unchained, yeah ya hit the ground running
Written by Eddie Van Halen, Alex Van Halen, Michael Anthony and David Lee Roth
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15 thoughts on “My Sunday Song – “Unchained” by Van Halen

  1. Love it. One of my top ten VH tracks. They were the first band I had EVERY album by as a kid. I spent one whole summer completely obsessed with them. Hoping there’s something from Women And Children First in this series.

    Liked by 4 people

  2. If you read Noel Monks book when Fair Warning started to slide on the charts Payola came into play to reboot the sales along with airplay. It worked pushed sales and shows sold out..

    Nice writeup John with some background info to go along with it..

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Yes! Yes! Yes! Have I ever mentioned that I love Van Halen? No? Well, let me tell you, I love Van Halen. Mostly.

    This is definitely top 5 Van Halen (I reckon). Such a great tune and Dave is in great form… I doubt he sounded better.

    Liked by 1 person

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