My Sunday Song – “Unchained” by Van Halen

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).

mxr_flanger_002

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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