Kiss – “Christine Sixteen” – 7″ Single (The Kiss Review Series – Bonus Edition)

A couple weeks ago we talked through the Kiss 7″ Single for “Beth”. I know, I know…the Kiss Review Series will never die as I’ll always keep finding stuff to show off. Now, I found another one of their singles and this one is from their 1977 album ‘Love Gun’. It is “Christine Sixteen” and the song features Gene Simmons on the lead vocals. As far as chart success, it went all the way to #25 on the Billboard Hot 100. Not bad!

I say not bad because of the subject matter of the song, a lot of stations wouldn’t play it or would only play it after 7pm as if that made it any better. The basis of the song is about an older man infatuated with a girl of the tender age of 16. That wouldn’t fly at all today, but back then, it wasn’t terrible or unforgivable, merely frowned upon I would say based on the fact it still sold like hotcakes. Imagine the chart position if all the stations played it any time of day.

My version is the standard U.S. version, with no picture sleeve. It has the standard Casablanca/Filmworks sleeve which is pretty basic. The B-Side of the song might actually be better than the A-Side is it is Ace Frehley’s song “Shock Me”. More on that later. First let’s discuss the A-Side.

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‘Red: My Uncensored Life in Rock’ by Sammy Hagar with Joel Selvin – Book Review

I know, I know. I am a little late to this book as it came out way back in 2011. But I’m finally here, I’ve finally drenched myself in to the pages and I am ready to tell you all about it. Thanks for being so patient with me. Sammy Hagar! What is there to say about Sammy. I remember seeing “I Can’t Drive 55” on MTV and really starting to discover who he was. I found out he was the lead singer of the band Montrose from the 70’s and then around 1985, I remember he was named the new lead singer of Van Halen. That was when I really started to find out who he really was. I picked up some Sammy albums and definitely bought the Van Halen albums and I really liked him. Then in the 90’s after leaving Van Halen, he started up his solo stuff again. Eventually he turned in to what I felt was the Jimmy Buffet of Rock & Roll. He had this laid back, surfer dude, all sunshine, relaxation and Tequila. He has always seemed like such a cool dude! And this book proved that to be the case, but I discovered so much more.

The book has Sammy really focusing on his rock & roll life with nuggets of his early childhood, but thankfully he stuck to the music mostly. Well, almost thankfully, as I would’ve loved to hear more about his business side as he only touched on it (except for Cabo Wabo and the Tequila) a little and that seems to be the area where he made most of his money and let me tell you, the man looks like he made more money on the business side of his life then the music side and I find that fascinating. Hell, he sold his Tequila brand for around $100 million…DAMN!!! He had a fire safety sprinkler company before there as really such a thing. He’s had his bar Cabo Wabo which is now bar’s’ with an ‘s’. He seems to invest in the right things at the right time and I have never been that lucky.

But the main reason to read the book for any Sammy fan is the Va Halen stories and they don’t disappoint. I’ve heard that he was really harsh on Eddie Van Halen and he regrets that a little, but I don’t think it was that harsh. I don’t think it is anything we didn’t expect or know. Eddie was an addict and his behavior over the years has shown that. I think Sammy was being honest with how he interpreted the stories and that is what I want in a book. I can read other people’s books to get their side and then draw my own conclusion, but Sammy’s seemed authentic to me. The sunshine and roses of how he got with the band seems to coincide with what Ted Templeman said in his book which is all good. But the downfall is where it got interesting. The little things they did to each other, the backstabbing, the drugs and alcohol and just the shitty way things went down was outright riveting to me. Sammy laid it all out there for you to read. So go do it.

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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 – “Dance the Night Away” – 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. For the next 7 weeks, we will go through those singles in release order. And first up is “Dance the Night Away” from 1979.

For the band’s second album, “Dance the Night Away” was the first single released for the album. The copy I have is actually a promotional copy so the song “Dance the Night Away” is on both sides. Why is that you may ask. That is because as a promotional copy this was sent to radio stations. The first side has the song in Mono and B-Side is the same song but in Stereo. That way the radio station could use the side that fit their format if they were either an AM Radio station or an FM, I presume. The song is I believe the album track and not a edited version so nothing special about it other than it is cool.

The song was originally titled “Dance, Lolita, Dance” according to David Lee Roth, but Edward Van Halen thankfully talked him out of it. The song was one of the few off Van Halen II that were actually conceived in the studio and done so when the band was standing in a circle humming to each other. And according to Wiki, the song was inspired by Fleetwood Mac’s song “Go Your Own Way” which I can see. The song is a little more upbeat and less hard rock and maybe even more pop rock.

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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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