My Sunday Song – “Panama” by Van Halen

For My Sunday Song #149, we are not going real deep for this one.  We are going to one of their big hits and a personal favorite called “Panama” off the album ‘1984’.  The song reached #13 on the Billboard Hot 100.  For me, the song brings back memories of my Senior Trip in High School when we went to Panama City, Florida…the song was blasting in the car on the way down!!

The song has two theories behind its meaning.  The first is it is about a car and the second theory is it is about a stripper.  The lyrics work either way as it is a wonderful double entendre.  The song does mention all the typical car parts and hell there is even a part during the bridge where you hear an engine revving.  That car engine is actually Eddie’s 1972 Lamborghini Miura S with a mic up to its tailpipe.

The album 1984 brought the keyboard sound into the bands music, but this song would have none of that.  It had Eddie blasting through some brutal riffs and Alex was pounding away at the drums and the brothers gave us the Van Halen of old.  Dave is his classic self and is belting out the lyrics and even giving us a little of that spoken verse style he does so famously towards the end.


The video for the song was a staple on MTV, but there was a little controversy to the video.  MTV did not allow advertisement in videos, but if you look at Michael Anthony’s bass, it is the Jack Daniels Bottle Bass.  How the hell were they going to crop that out…yeah, that is right, they couldn’t.  So, Van Halen got away with a nice advertisement placement in their video which I am sure Jack Daniels absolutely loved.

Check out the song and let me know what you think.  I hope you enjoy and have a Happy Sunday!!


Jump back, what’s that sound?
Here she comes, full blast and top down
Hot shoe, burnin’ down the avenue
Model citizen, zero discipline
Don’t you know she’s coming home with me
You’ll lose her in the turn
I’ll get her

Panama, Panama
Panama, Panama

Ain’t nothin’ like it, her shiny machine
Got the feel for the wheel, keep the moving parts clean
Hot shoe, burnin’ down the avenue
Got an on ramp comin’ through my bedroom
Don’t you know she’s coming home with me
You’ll lose her in the turn
I’ll get her

Panama, Panama
Panama, Panama

Yeah, we’re runnin’ a little bit hot tonight
I can barely see the road from the heat comin’ off of it
Ah, you reach down, between my legs and ease the seat back
She’s blinding, I’m flying
Right behind the rear view mirror now
Got the feeling, power steering
Pistons popping, ain’t no stopping now

Panama, Panama
Panama, Panama
Panama, Panama

Written by David Lee Roth, Eddie Van Halen, Alex Van Halen and Michael Anthony

9 thoughts on “My Sunday Song – “Panama” by Van Halen

  1. Ahh. The promise of summer and heavy metal songs that sound like sunshine and chasing girls around the park. This is one of those time machine songs that made the summer days seem so bright and long and the memories so vivid. I cannot hear Panama without thinking of my school friends. Thanks for posting.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I hadn’t realized that ads weren’t permitted in videos at the time – early example of product placement! It feels like that policy would no longer apply, I imagine the product placement would be pretty rampant these days

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Ah,what a great track! I still recall that moment when I heard this for the first time! All the fine party rock trimmings that made VH great John!
    Escpecially the hairdryer in the video that comes out of no wh​er​​e haha.
    Crafty video as well!


  4. I choose to believe it’s about the Miura. What a beast of machine! Also, it fits the image portraited by the great Bill Burr about leaving your family behind, blasting Panama as you floor your car down the highway, never to return.

    Liked by 1 person

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