My Sunday Song – “Once” by Van Halen

For My Sunday Song #142, we are going with a song by underrated Van Halen singer Gary Cherone.  The song is “Once” off the album Van Halen III.  The song wasn’t a single and the album wasn’t a hit, but it had some great songs and Gary Cherone (singer for Extreme) never got the recognition he deserved for this album.  So we will give it here.

“Once” is an epic song at over 7 minutes long.  It opens with the piano and is a much slower tempo song.  There is a mystical and yet eerie feel to the song.  And even a sadness as it seems to be about love loss.  It is filled with so many layers and textures that you hear something different each time you give it a listen.  It has an almost early Genesis feel to it.

The song focuses on the groove with the piano and Gary’s voice which is actually also understated in the song.  but Eddie’s guitar work is also sensational.  He dances in and out of the song and during the long instrumental break of the song, he is trying all sorts of things.  It seems to be a very experimental song for them and I thought it worked as it was so different than everything else Van Halen had done.

Interesting on the song is that bass is played by Eddie and not Michael Anthony.  In fact, on Van Halen III, Michael only played bass on 3 tracks.  His time was numbered with the band by this point for sure.

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