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. And we’ve been through a few so far as seen below…
And now we are on to our fifth of the 7 and this time we are in to the Hagar Era and this was the first single off their first album together for ‘5150’ from 1986. The song is “Why Can’t This Be Love” and was released on February 26, 1986. The song was the first released with new lead singer Sammy Hagar and went all the way to #3 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #1 on the Mainstream Rock Tracks. Not a bad start to this new era of Van Halen.
The version I have is the standard US Version of the single. Nothing special about, but it was in really great shape which is tough to find the picture sleeves in good shape. I like the big explosion on the back cover but not sure what the significance of it is to either song on this release unless they were going for the fact this was a new explosive release by the band…which it really isn’t.
The single, “Why Can’t This Be Love”, doesn’t see the classic Van Halen guitar sound. Instead, Eddie Van Halen is still playing with keyboards and synthesizers and this song is driven mostly by his Oberheim OB-8 analog synthesizer. The song seems to lean more to the pop-rock sound as it is upbeat and a little bouncy. It is very melodic and chipper and fits in Sammy Hagar’s wheel house as his vocals are so smooth. An interesting note is that even Alex Van Halen’s drums and Michael Anthony’s bass lines had some synths added to them. I think Van Halen has had cheesy lyrics before but nothing quite as awful as “Only time will tell if we stand the test of time“. Yeah, that pretty much sucks. It is a decent pop track, but it is a far cry from the heavy guitar sound that Van Halen fans loved.
The B-Side to the song was another album track called “Get Up”. This song brings the rock and the heavy and is probably the most rocking track on the album. It opens with some nasty, fuzzy-ass guitar work by Eddie and then Alex just pounds the hell out of his drums and the two brothers go to town destroying everything in their sites. Sammy comes in with a scream and the band is all in blasting away. The solo on this one is great as well albeit too short. They needed this as the B-Side so the fans didn’t jump ship thinking they had gone soft as you will hear with this one, they are still capable of going balls-to-the-wall batshit crazy!!
And there you have it. Next week we will go with another single from 5150 and until then, have a great day!!