With the passing of Eddie Van Halen, I decided to list some of my favorite Van Halen songs.
Many of these were hits, some not. Some have Dave, others have Sammy. VH received so much airplay since the late 1970s that their music is hard to miss. Many of their songs are hard rock staples still played on the radio.
“Jamie’s Cryin” (1978) – A single from the first album. Raw, screaming guitar work.
“Runnin’ With the Devil” (1978) – From their first album, it did not chart very high, but it resonates with attitude. Great riffing, another prototype VH guitar songs.
“Dance the Night Away” (1979) – From their second album. My favorite VH song. It sounded so fresh and with an infectious groove. It takes me back to when I first heard it. Music is like that, it’s personal.
“And the Cradle Will Rock” (1980) – From the third album. I love the chord progression in this song and my second most favorite VH song. Eddie plays keyboards on the song, something that changed their sound, giving it a great new texture.
“Everybody Wants Some” (1980) – From album number three. A nice call and response, and great guitar riff.
“So This is Love?” (1981) – A single from the fourth VH album. Not the greatest of albums, by far the catchiest on the set. Nice performance by David Lee.
“Jump” (1983) – First first single from their massive hit album, 1984. Very catchy keyboard-driven song that went all the way to the top of the chart.
“Panama” (1983) – From the sixth album, it features a distinct beat and relentless guitar riff. Instantly recognizable, a prototype VH song.
Why Can’t This Be Love” (1986) – The seventh album and first with Sammy, who provides a killer vocal.
“Dreams” (1986) – Another synthesizer into that turns into a rousing gallop. Sounds similar to “Jump” in the arrangement, but still a grand song.
“Love Walks In” (1986) – A great Sammy song. Familiar keyboard intro that transitions into a power ballad, as sentimental as VH would get.
“When It’s Love” (1988) – From the eighth album. A number five song. VH wrote a very successful power ballad, something the group was not known for. They were getting much more comfortable with keyboard powered songs.
“Right Now” (1991) – From the For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge album. I don’t really spend too much time on VH lyrics, but this song is actually about something.
“Humans Being” (1996) – Recorded for the film Twister and featured on their greatest hits album. Not a big hit, but a decent song.