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Van Halen - 1979 Van Halen II



ARTIST: Van Halen
ALBUM: Van Halen II
LABEL: Warner Bros
SERIAL: HS 3312
YEAR: 1979
CD REISSUE: 1987, Warners Bros, 3312-2 * 2000, Warners Bros, 9 47738-2 (remastered)

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:

LINEUP: David Lee Roth - vocals * Edward Van Halen - guitars * Michael Anthony - bass, backing vocals * Alex Van Halen - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 You're No Good * 02 Dance The Night Away * 03 Somebody Get Me A Doctor * 04 Bottoms Up * 05 Outta Love Again * 06 Light Up The Sky * 07 Spanish Fly * 08 D.O.A * 09 Women In Love * 10 Beautiful Girls

WEBLINKS: www.van-halen.com


Background
Considering all the recent hype about the reunited Van Halen during 2007 (minus Mike Anthony), and also that we have a bunch of reviews already, VHII seems to be the missing joker in the pack. Wind the clock back to 1979, and Van Halen were all over the radio with their brand of hyperactive hard rock - taking the world by storm during 1978 with their OTT self titled debut. Warner Bros, keen to retain all the attention seeking with the band, managed to get their sophomore effort out into the market relatively quickly all things considered - less than a year after VH1. While some consider this album to be a throwaway effort when compared to some of their other releases, it managed to achieve a couple of things. Firstly it kept the band in the public eye. Secondly, they got onto radio with their commercial single 'Dance The Night Away'. Probably one of the reasons why VHII came out so quickly is that the band were excellent in the studio (the sound and mix backs this up), while some of the songs were old demos which didn't take long to bring up to 1979 standards. So what about the rest of the album?


The Songs
I have never considered this album to be throwaway. This LP was thrashed by yours truly back in the day, and while all my schoolmates were dining out on VH1, many of them never realized that VHII was already on the shop shelves! Kicking off with 'You're No Good', it's an interesting selection as an opener, let alone being on the album at all - considering Linda Ronstadt had mild success with it five years earlier on her 1974 album 'Heart Like A Wheel'. The aforementioned single 'Dance The Night Away' showcased the band's near perfect vocal harmonies, whilst hard rock workouts such as 'Somebody Get Me A Doctor, 'D.O.A (Dead On Arrival)' further confirmed Eddie Van Halen's stocks in the guitar hero department. Fun tunes such as 'Bottoms Up', 'Outta Love Again' and ''Beautiful Girls' saw Dave Lee Roth take command, and pick up the ante with his gonzo antics and trademark screams. Elsewhere, the flamenco solo 'Spanish Fly', another commercial effort 'Light Up The Sky' and the mild and mid-paced 'Women In Love' fill out what to me is an enjoyable album that didn't exactly typify what 1979 was all about (consider punk, new wave, power pop et al), but I'll take it anyway.


In Summary
By 1980, the band had moved onto their third album 'Women And Children First'. Released nearly one year to the day after VHII, 'WACF' was the first VH album to feature totally original compositions, and moved them away from their party pop sound to a more rawer state. As history would show, Van Halen went onto bigger and better things, and are currently back in the saddle during 2007 with Roth, the two Van Halen brothers, plus Eddie's son Wolfgang on bass. Continue to watch this space regarding this band. Some snippets from Amazon.com re: this album. Firstly, the black and yellow guitar on the back of the album is buried with Dimebag Darrell Abbott (Pantera). Eddie Van Halen placed it in his casket at his funeral because Dimebag had said it was his favourite. However, Edward himself stated in interviews that the guitar itself was not actually used on the Van Halen II album; as it had only been completed just in time for the photo shoots for the second album. David Lee Roth is shown in a cast in the inner liner notes, he allegedly broke his leg making the leap on the back cover.


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Tags: Van Halen 
 
Comments
#1 | Eric on October 27 2007 00:11:31
In the waning days of my senior year in High School, this album hit the shelves. Already blown away by the debut, this was something of a disapointment when I bought it, but ya know what? This is the only other VH album I own and it still sounds terrific! I still love Anthony's background vocals on 'Women In Love'!Thumbs Up

After this record I lost interest quick.
#2 | dangerzone on October 27 2007 15:28:17
I've always been a little disappointed with VH II. For me it's the least listened to VH album. Somehow the songs don't click like the debuts, even though there are some clear classics like 'Light Up The Sky'. The next four Roth albums are where it's at.
#3 | sabace on December 25 2007 20:00:23
THE INSTANT PARTY LP!
 
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