Van Halen – “When It’s Love” – 45 Single

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 final Van Halen single and we are still in to the Hagar Era. This was the second single off their second album with Sammy called ‘OU812’. The song is “When It’s Love” and it was the most popular song off the album. The song was released in June 1988 and went to #1 on the Mainstream Rock Chart as well as #5 on the Billboard Hot 100.

My copy of the single is the standard U.S. version with the B-Side being “Cabo Wabo” which you wouldn’t know that from the back cover as it doesn’t say anywhere what the B-Side is. When I first saw it, I was hoping it was a promo with the same song on each side and one in mono and one in stereo, but I don’t if they actually had those still in 1988. Regardless, my copy is in pretty good shape and plays perfectly which is all that matters.

Now both tracks on the single are the LP versions and no single edits. As I’ve mentioned in the past reviews, Donn Landee’s name is on the Single write under the writers which is something Ted Templeman started back in the David Lee Roth era. Nice to see that trend continued here.

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Van Halen – “Love Walks In’ – 45 Single

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 sixth of the 7 and we are still in to the Hagar Era and this was the third single off their first album together for ‘5150’ from 1986. The song is “Love Walks In” which was released on July 23, 1986 and went to #22 on the Billboard Hot 100. The song was credited to the whole band as usual, but I believe lyrically it came from Sammy as the song is about Alien Abduction and Sammy has stated he has been. Ok! I am not sure where to really go with that information.

My copy is in a little rough shape with a slight tear at the bottom crease plus someone wrote 15 on the front. But otherwise, it plays well and that is all that matters. This version is the standard single version with “Love Walks In” on the A-Side and the B-Side is “Summer Nights”. Not a bad combo of songs.

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Van Halen – “Why Can’t This Be Love” – 45 Single

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.

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Van Halen – “I’ll Wait” (1984) – 45 Single

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 fourth of the 7 and this is the final Roth Era track and was the second single from the album ‘1984’. The song “I’ll Wait” went to #13 on the Billboard Charts and despite its success, the band never filmed a video which totally surprises me as this the heyday of MTV. But it still worked for them without a video so they probably saved a ton of money. As most songs with Van Halen, the writing is always credited to Eddie Van Halen, David Lee Roth, Alex Van Halen and Michael Anthony. But this time, Dave was having trouble with some of the lyrics and melody so Ted Templeman brought in his buddy Michael McDonald from the Doobie Brothers for which Ted produced their albums as well. Ted had a knack for using people he worked with on many projects.

The song was inspired by a media ad for Calvin Klein. I guess Dave really was taken by the hot model in the ad that he taped the picture next to his TV and all the lyrics are addressed to the model in the picture. Hey, whatever works right!

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Van Halen – “Jump” (1983) – 45 Single

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 couple so far as seen below…

And now we are on to our third of the 7 and this is another Roth Era track and one of their biggest singles ever…”Jump”. The song was released on December 21, 1983 and was the first single for the album ‘1984’ from the same year. The single went all the way to #1 and sold well over 1,000,000 copies.

The copy I have is the actual single that was released and not a promotional copy this time around. It has an A-Side with “Jump” and a B-Side with “House of Pain”. And if you notice on the label again, the engineer Donn Landee is credited again as Ted is a man of his word and wants Donn to get as much credit has him. Hell, Ted even gave up a point on each album and gave 1 point to Donn. That is appreciation folks.

According to Dave, the song was inspired by a new report he heard on the TV about a person threatening to jump from building. Dave pictured the people below says “Go ahead and jump”. Kind of sick sense of humor, but that’s Dave. Now the song isn’t really about suicide though. It is about going after what you want. Take that leap of faith and go after it.

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Van Halen – “Pretty Woman” – 45 Single

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.

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Van Halen – ‘Women and Children First Sessions’ (Bootleg) – Album Review

I was out for Record Store Day in September and while waiting in line to buy my RSD purchases, this was sitting at the top of the shelf staring at me. I swear I heard it calling my name…”John, buy me!”. I stopped, looked around, no one else in the store heard it, but it said it, I know it did!! Now who was I to argue. I grabbed it, give it a quick once over and when I saw that it was a bootleg of demos from the Van Halen album “Women and Children First”, SOLD!! I mean look at the cover. They took the original album cover and made it way cooler. And to match the cover, the vinyl is even red to go with the stripes. Sweet!

I took it home and couldn’t wait to hear it. Now, I just bought several record store day items and I was way more excited about this album then the RSD purchases. And after listening to it, I am still more excited. Being a bootleg, I was worried about the sound quality of the demos and let me tell you, it was fantastic. These demos have been floating around for awhile and they are normally very muddied down and a little rough. These have been cleaned up nicely. The sound is crisp and clear and though they do sound like demos, they are also pretty damn cool.

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Van Halen – “Hot for Teacher” (The 45 Single)

I was out the weekend after Eddie Van Halen passed away casually digging for records with no intent of really looking for anything. I was still a little down from him passing and nothing makes me feel better than digging through stacks and stacks of records (my wife and kids, of course make me feel better as well). I digging through a small batch of 45’s and this was nonchalantly hiding in that batch. I pulled it out and the owner of the store said “that must of slipped through as I completely sold out of everything Van Halen this week”…no surprise.

The single is really cool as it is a gatefold housed in a clear PVC sleeve. It also includes a mini 4-panel poster with each panel being a member of the band, naturally. The single itself was the same single as the one issued in 1984 and strangely has “Little Dreamer” from the debut album as the B-Side.

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Gene Simmons – ‘The Vault’ – Album Review (Part 4 of 15 – Disk 3)

Welcome back to the Gene Simmons The Vault review.  We are now on Disk 3.  Below are the rules I am trying to follow with each review.

I will try and keep some consistency between each disk.  I will go through each song and mention who wrote, who played on it and what I think about the song. I won’t go through all the stories as you should get the vault to get all the information.  I will grade each song (ranking 1 to 5, 5 being best) and then take an average of the grades for the score of the disk.  I know most of these are demos, so I won’t be taking quality of the sound in to play that much because I know what I am getting and I am more interested in the overall song.

At the end of all the reviews, we will average the score of each review and come up with an overall ‘The Vault’ score which I hope will be a fair representation of the whole package.  I am going to do my best to do one a week, but as I said before, life sometimes gets in the way so I am not going to promise one a week.  Plus, this is 11 disks to digest and that is a lot as I am also doing the David Coverdale Series at the same time.  That is a bunch of music to go through.

The songs aren’t in chronological order.  Gene states they are more of a mood or vibe.  Disk 3 is mostly demos from songs that ended up on Kiss albums in some shape or form.  It also contains the long awaited demos that feature Eddie and Alex Van Halen.  This was the disk I was most pumped to hear.

Well, are you ready?  Then let’s get right to it.

The picture for Disk 3 is Gene in makeup with that famous tongue…it is quite fetching!!

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My Sunday Song – “Mean Street” by Van Halen

For My Sunday Song #150, we are ending the Van Halen set of 10 songs with “Mean Street” off the album “Fair Warning”.  The song reached #13 on the Mainstream Rock station and help propel the album to #5 on the Billboard charts.  It is the opening track and the song were the title of the album comes.

The song comes blazing out of the gate with the vintage Eddie style riffs that scream…I am the best guitarist and don’t you forget it!!  The opening was inspired by the slap funk bass style and I would say there is nothing the man can’t do with a guitar.  Then the song gets dirty and a little nasty.  Musically and Lyrically, it is a dark song for the band. I also love the fade out at the end with those wicked guitar parts Ed is playing while it is fading out.

The song seems to be about life on the streets.  The pain and agony of living on the street and the fighting to stay alive.  The streets will basically chew you up and spit you out.  Funny thing, the band aren’t from the streets so they really have no idea about “mean streets” now do they. Don’t get me wrong, that takes away nothing from the song.  It is badass and delivered very convincingly.

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