For My Sunday Song #125, the instrumental this week is one that blew my mind and I think changed the way guitar solos were done for most of the 80’s. The song is “Eruption” by Van Halen. Often thought of as the introduction to the band’s cover of the Kink’s song “You Really Got Me”, it is considered one of the greatest guitar solos of all time. In fact, Guitar World Magazine ranks it at #2. For me, it might be #1.
The Van Halen debut is considered one of the greatest debut albums of all time in no small part to the work that Eddie Van Halen did on this song. At only 1:42 in length, it is the most exciting and electrifying 1:42 you will ever experience in music. The song is accompanied by Michael Anthony on bass and brother Alex Van Halen on drums, but there is no denying the star is Eddie Van Halen.
The introduction of the song is based on a song by Cactus called “Let Me Swim” and it has a little piece of “Etude #2” by Rodolphe Kruetzer, but the rest is all Eddie. The song is famous for a guitar technique using the two-handed finger tapping. Finger tapping was not new, but never before had it been showcased in such an amazing way.
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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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For my third installment of The Debut, I have decided to take on the daunting task of discussing on what is regarded as one of the best debut albums in rock history, Van Halen’s debut simply called ‘Van Halen’. Why is it daunting? Because so many people have written about this album that there really is nothing I can add to the discussion other than my opinion which is probably no different than what has already been said.
We will start off with some general information about the album. The album was released on February 10th, 1978. I was only 9 at the time. It was produced by Ted Templeman who was famous for producing The Doobie Brothers, Van Morrison and Montrose (early Sammy Hagar connection). The album reached as high as only #19 on the charts and did sell over 1 million copies in its first year. It has now been certified Diamond Status with sells well over 10 million copies.
The band was originally discovered by Gene Simmons from the band KISS. Gene worked with the band and they did some demos, but nothing materialized as Gene headed back out on tour with his band. The ended up playing a lot of live shows around Hollywood including the Whiskey A Go Go and the Starwood. It was at the Starwood that they came to the attention of Mo Ostin & Ted Templeman with Warner Brothers Records. They later signed with Warner and went on to record their debut album.
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