Tag: Van Halen

So this is the new Van Halen song I guess. (“She’s the Woman”)

So this is the new Van Halen song I guess. (“She’s the Woman”)

Music
As most music fans know by now, Van Halen played at the Cafe Wha? last night to get things going in anticipation of their upcoming album, A Different Kind of Truth. I spotted a picture of the setlist on Twitter and my eyes were drawn to a tune called "She's the Woman." Hmmm, I thought to myself, that name sounds familiar. And sure enough, it's actually a song that pre-dates the group's debut LP and has circulated in demo form among VH fans for years. Here's what it sounded like circa 1976: VH fans will doubtless recognize the main riff and bridge here, which was used in the all-time classic track "Mean Street." I haven't heard a clip from the 2012 version, so I can't say how much of the original is intact. I have to imagine that Eddie wouldn't quite so lazy as to duplicate th...
30 for 30 — Our Favorite MTV Music Videos of All-Time

30 for 30 — Our Favorite MTV Music Videos of All-Time

Featured Posts, Music, TV & Radio
It seems like forever since watching videos on MTV was a regular part of our lives, but once upon a time it was. We could go on and on about how the station -- which turns 30 on August 1 -- turned to crap years ago for one reason or another, or about how the "M" in MTV seems to stand for Mook now, but let's not go there. Let's make this post a happy remembrance, one in which we celebrate what was rather than lament what isn't. So in that spirit of celebration, here is a list of our 30 favorite music videos of the MTV era (which kicked off on August 1, 1981). Not the best videos, necessarily, but the ones that had the most impact on us. Oh, and for you ranking junkies -- sorry, this is strictly in alphabetical order. 1. Daft Punk, "Around the World" In college we had a primitiv...
Cross-pollination: My favorite instrumentals (on Popdose)

Cross-pollination: My favorite instrumentals (on Popdose)

Blogstuff
It's been a long time since my last super-awesome Popdose mixtape, so I decided to jump in again. I imagine this week's mix would win the approval of Eddie Van Halen, noted hater of lead singers (he did coin the phrase Lead Singer Disease after all). Of course my inclusion of one of VH's lesser-known tracks ("Sunday Afternoon in the Park") helps. Here's one track that didn't quite make the cut, although it is certainly as worthy as the others. It's "The Sheltering Sky," from King Crimson's Discipline. And yes, I threw Kiss into the mix. Related articles The Popdose Podcast: Episode 18 (popdose.com) The Popdose VIDEO Interview: Nick Offerman ("Parks & Recreation") (popdose.com)
Pop Culture Capsule — July 20-26, 1986

Pop Culture Capsule — July 20-26, 1986

Capsules, History
Here's a look at America's top movies, music, and books for the week of July 20-26, 1986. TV was in summer rerun mode, but it was pretty much all about The Cosby Show anyway. I remember most of these things (except the books), but I had no idea Patti LaBelle hit #1 over Janet Jackson and Peter Gabriel. Good for her! Top 10 Movies 1. Aliens 2. The Karate Kid Part II 3. Ruthless People 4. Top Gun 5. Back to School 6. About Last Night... 7. Ferris Bueller's Day Off 8. Legal Eagles 9. Running Scared 10. The Great Mouse Detective Top 10 Albums 1. Patti LaBelle, Winner in You 2. Janet Jackson, Control 3. Peter Gabriel, So 4. Top Gun soundtrack 5. Genesis, Invisible Touch 6. Billy Ocean, Love Zone 7. Whitney Houston, Whitney Houston 8. Bob Seger, Like a Rock 9. The Moody Blue...
Album cover of the week: 1984

Album cover of the week: 1984

Album Cover of the Week, Music
Call it 1984 or call it MCMLXXXIV-- Van Halen's sixth album is one of the great achievements in rock for the entire decade of the 1980s. It also happens to sport a pretty badass front cover: The band's original vision for the 1984 cover involved four dancing, chrome women. The artist that Warner Bros. wanted to commission for the cover, Margo Nahas, declined the job as it was too complex. Her portfolio found its way to Van Halen however, and when they stumbled upon a painting of hers -- featuring an angel baby smoking a cigarette -- they knew that was what they wanted for 1984. The angel, who was rumored to be David Lee Roth as a child, is actually modeled after Carter Helm, the son of one of Nahas's friends. She styled his hair with some "goop" and gave him some candy cigarettes...
Listening Booth – Van Halen, “Crossing Over”

Listening Booth – Van Halen, “Crossing Over”

Listening Booth
This track won a coveted spot on one of my mixtapes back in 2007, and I'm bringing it back again.  It's a gem of a song from the Sammy Hagar era of Van Halen, although you wouldn't know it from how it was marketed (it wasn't).  It's the brooding and emotional "Crossing Over", a b-side from the Balance album. The whole song is very atypical of the era, which makes sense since it was written by Eddie while David Lee Roth was still in the band.  But to his credit, Sammy does a fine job here.  The payoff is the extended outro/fade. Here's "Crossing Over", via YouTube.
Album review: Spinal Tap – Back From the Dead

Album review: Spinal Tap – Back From the Dead

Music
I don't think I could ever get tired of watching the 1984 mockumentary classic, This Is Spinal Tap, or listening to the accompanying soundtrack.  That movie and, more importantly, its music perfectly straddled the fine line between brutal satire and straight-laced performance.  It's this quality that spawned not only legions of fans for a fictitious band but more awesomely the legendary tale about the Scorpions storming out of a screening of the movie because the parody hit a little too close to home. It's as if Spinal Tap (Christopher Guest, Harry Shearer, and Michael McKean) and director/co-writer Rob Reiner gazed into a crystal ball and saw just what a joke the heavy metal genre would become by the end of the decade, which makes the movie and songs even better after the fact.  But wh
Album cover of the week: Fair Warning

Album cover of the week: Fair Warning

Album Cover of the Week
One look at the grim and violent imagery on 1981's Fair Warning, and you know that this isn't your typical Van Halen album.  In truth, Eddie Van Halen almost quit the band prior to its recording and had to be talked out of it by brother Alex.  The tensions amongst the band revealed themselves in a set of songs that was far darker than anything on the three previous albums, and is probably the reason why it was the lowest-selling VH album of the David Lee Roth era. The artwork is, I feel, quite reflective of the inner turmoil the band was undergoing.  Whether or not it actually came to blows I don't know, however. Credit for this rather sinister and memorable artwork goes to the late William Kurelek (1927-1977), a Canadian artist and author.  Kurelek painted "The Maze" - the work
The best (at least in terms of my iPod)

The best (at least in terms of my iPod)

Music
Creating and maintaining an iPod playlist with my favorite songs has been an interesting experience for me. I call the playlist "The Best" not because I really think these are the best songs ever, but because they are the ones that resonate the most with me. As the playlist has grown (it's now at 46 songs) some items of note have emerged. The first is that two of my all-time favorite bands, Kiss and Rush, are not represented once on the list. The second is that although I'm a pretty upbeat guy most of the time, I seem to respond the most to songs that are more subdued or melancholy. The third is that if a song has strong vocal harmonies it automatically wins points with me.So with that, here is the current list of The Best, with some commentary. As a side note, at least a few of these c...