When I was on vacation during this past Summer, I found a ton of 45 Singles with the Picture Sleeves at a place called House of Vinyl and I ended buying 7 Van Halen 45’s. First up last week was “Dance the Night Away” from 1979. And second we have the song “Pretty Woman” off the band’s album ‘Diver Down’ from 1982.
The copy I found was interesting to me. First was the fact the song was called “Pretty Woman” and not “(Oh) Pretty Woman”. When the single was first released, it went without the (Oh) part of the title and later issues corrected that and put the (Oh) back in. So that tells me I have an original issue copy. The second thing I found interesting is that the back cover of the picture sleeve has the flip side being “Happy Trials” which was actually the B-Side on the album. However, this copy is a promotional copy and it only has “Pretty Woman” on Side A and Side B. One Mono version and one Stereo version like the last one. That got me thinking was this in the wrong cover and what I can find is that it is not. It looks like they slipped the Promo copies in the same sleeve as the actual single to the public at least according to what I found on Discogs.
Another thing I thought was cool about the label on the Single was how the Engineer, Donn Landee, was actually listed. That does not happen very often. According to Ted Templeman’s book, he feels that he couldn’t be as a good as a producer he was without the help of an amazing engineer and Donn was that to him. He wanted Donn to get as much credit for these albums and songs as he did so he had his name added. Pretty freaking cool if you ask me.
The single the band chose to kick off this album was a cover song from Roy Orbison called “Pretty Woman”. I find it an odd choice to do another cover, but in fact there are 5 covers on the ‘Diver Down’ album and that is conversation for another time. The song was written by Roy and Bill Dees and stems from an incident that happened during a conversation they were having. When Roy and Bill were talking, Roy’s wife interrupted and said she was going out and Roy politely asked her if she had enough money. Bill spoke up and said “A pretty woman never needs any money” and then a song was born.
The Van Halen version sticks pretty much to the sound and vibe of the original. The big differences are the drums are pure Alex and there is a pretty cool guitar sound that is pure Edward. David Lee Roth gives off the same Orbison vibes, but he is lacking that quintessential Orbison vocal sound. He does give it the Roth flair and his own cocky style. It is a fun song, but a poor choice for a single in my opinion. This sounds straight from and no different mix for the single so nothing new or special about it other than a cool promo copy.
Now the video for the song is not just the song “Pretty Woman”, it also has the instrumental song preceding the song on the album called “Intruder”. They did that to make the song longer for MTV.
I hope you enjoyed the song and we will see you next week with another Van Halen single. Thanks for hanging with us for a short time.