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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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.
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For My Sunday Song #147, Van Halen’s song “Everybody Wants Some” will get the royal treatment this week. The song is off the album “Women and Children First” and the second one I have done from that album (because it is that good). The song was never a a single, but a B-Side to the song “And the Cradle Will Rock”.
The opening of the song is the tribal drum beat by Alex with Dave making some little noises in the background and Eddie comes in with that sinister riff. The music sounds menacing and when they kick it in to full gear, it is a slammin’ rock song. Eddie’s guitar playing on the solo has him two-handing the fretboard on his guitar and really breaking new ground as usual. The driving force though is Alex with that drum beat throughout. Really killer.
Lyrically, there isn’t much there. It is a pure sex song and Dave’s talking vocal performance is the star here. His vocals sound almost like he is ad-libbing the whole thing. Just making it up as he goes along, but it works so well. The first line on the second verse is “I Seen a Lotta People Lookin’ for a Moonbeam”, but seriously, can you understand one word of what he says…except for maybe moonbeam? No, as I don’t think he knew what the hell he was saying. The song ends with Dave going “Look, I’ll pay you for it, What the fuck”, but the “fuck” is not really audible with the way they phase it out the sound.
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For My Sunday Song #145, we are tackling “Atomic Punk” which is off Van Halen’s debut album. The space age song is a very deep cut and was never released as a single, but was the B-Side to “You Really Got Me”. It is one of those gems that only the true fans listen to probably more than some of the band’s big hits (maybe that is just me) I believe it helped drive the sales to way above 10 million copies.
The song is a sci-fi song about a dystopian society and Dave is the leader of this rag-tag crew. The opening of the song has these space age sounds coming from Eddie’s guitar almost like a space ship sound. Eddie captures the sound by rubbing his palm over the strings with the guitar going through one of his pedals. It is captivating.
Lyrically, there isn’t a whole lot here. Not in context or theme, but in length. This is more of a showcase for more of what Eddie can do. Not to take anything from Dave as he delivers the lyrics earnestly and convincingly as it does set the tone for the dark feel of the song. But it is Eddie’s guitar playing that is again in full force with all the tricks he throws at you. You hear something a little different and new each time you listen.
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For My Sunday Song #144, we are tackling “Romeo Delight” by Van Halen off their 1980 album ‘Women and Children First’. The song was never released as a single, but is one of the strongest on the album. The album, however, did well going as high as #6 on the Billboard charts. The album saw the band getting a little heavier and when it comes to Van Halen, the heavier the better for me.
The song is about going to the bar and looking for a fight and looking for girl to bed that night. A drinking and party and helluva good time song. Dave’s confidence comes shining through in his vocal delivery and you are pretty confident he is walking home with a lady.
Eddie’s guitar work is nothing short of amazing. The sounds he creates are mesmerizing and his solo is nothing short of stellar. There is even a point in the song where Dave is singing “Feel my Heartbeat”, Eddie is making this heartbeat noise with his guitar. He is taking is Low E string and tapping it against the pickup to create the effect. You want a sound and Eddie will deliver.
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Welcome to yet another edition of Tuesday’s Memes. When will the misery end. This week we will focus on the David Lee Roth memes floating around the interwebnetthingamabob. Yes, I am making up words. Well, Dave is a basically a real life meme as he is one hell of a character. Here is what I found and I hope you like.
2019 New Year’s Resolutions….
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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).
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.
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For My Sunday Song #127, I am covering the instrumental classic Steve Vai song “For the Love of God”. The song is off his 1990 album ‘Passion and Warfare’ which was my first Steve Vai album. After hearing him play with David Lee Roth and with Whitesnake, I was a huge fan of his and had to have this on CD.
The song has this dreamlike feel to it as if it is floating around you in the heavens. It is strange and wonderful all at the same time. His playing is exceptional and out of this world. Per Wikipedia…
Vai recorded the track on the fourth day of a ten-day fast. During an interview, he explained, “I do try to push myself into relatively altered states of consciousness. Because in those states you can come up with things that are unique even for yourself”.
The song goes on for over 6 minutes and actually ends with some spoken words. Those words are spoken by David Coverdale and are “Walking the fine line between Pagan and Christian.” So, does this still count as an instrumental? Yes, it most certainly does.
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I have done a collection of memes on the guitar, the bass, the drums, the keyboards, but never on the lead singer. Well, that is changing right now. Here are a collection of some of my favorite lead singers and just memes about lead singers. Whatever I could find. I hope you enjoy
Lead Singers in general…
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For this month’s edition of ‘The Original vs The Cover’, we are going to cover the song “You Really Got Me” by The Kinks vs the cover by Van Halen. When Van Halen originally released this song back in 1978, I thought it was an original…what did I know, I was only 9. The Kinks didn’t exist in my world yet. Apparently, I wasn’t the only one as Ray Davies has mentioned that fans have come up to them after shows and thought it was cool that they played a Van Halen song.
“You Really Got Me” was released on Sept 2, 1964 in the US and the song was off the band’s album ‘Kinks’. The song went to #7 on the Billboard Hot 100, but it went all the way to #1 in their home country of the UK. It was their third single at the time, but it was the first to really do anything for the band. It was so successful, it became their signature song.
The song has been described by Ray Davies as a “love song for street kids”. It is a rebellious track of sex and lust and all around gritty, dirty love. It is that energy both versions capture so well.
The Kinks’ version had a very Beatlesque quality to it which makes sense since the Beatles were huge at the time. The band wanted to capture that sound and they truly did. The song to me also had a real punk feel to it. It was aggressive and in your face, but it was the guitar sound that really made the song.
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