Are Van Halen Underrated All Time?

When discussing greatest bands of all time Van Halen rarely gets mentioned, but their first six albums (The David Lee Roth first era) could well be one of the top collections of that number of albums all time. Now I am in NO WAY arguing Van Halen is the greatest, or even top few but they merit a higher ranking than the one most people seem to always put them at. Are they sold short because of the poppish Sammy Hagars days or are they bunched in with all the 80s hair bands (even though they rocked the late 70s as hard as any band)?

Eddie Van Halen has an argument as the best guitarist of his generation, very few (if any) frontmen have the combination of chops, swagger, presence, energy and overall rockandrollness to compete with David Lee Roth, Alex Van Halen is at worst very good, and Michael Anthony once had a bass that looked like a Jack Daniel’s bottle. Also, the band was tight as shit, killed it live (minus Eddie’s boozy phases) and they had phenomenal range playing a lot of different styles of rock and roll.

Don’t forget Mike’s harmony vocals. Very few bass players can sing backing like that.

VH rock.

HELL yeah. LOVE Van Halen. The new stuff with David Lee Roth is pretty good, too, although not quite as good as Can’t Get This Stuff No More and Me Wise Magic off the first Best Of album in the late 1990s.

I agree. They are underrated and somewhat ignored. I’m old enough to have seen them in their heyday and to have had to adjust to their new sound with their 1984 album (with the prominent use of keyboards on that one). And Eddie. Come on! No one came even close to his skills at the time. His Eruption solo is still copied by everyone, including by this guy on the cello:

Van Halen was cheesy, I much prefer the one with Wesley Snipes as the werewolf assasin.

[quote=“marasan”]I agree. They are underrated and somewhat ignored. I’m old enough to have seen them in their heyday and to have had to adjust to their new sound with their 1984 album (with the prominent use of keyboards on that one). And Eddie. Come on! No one came even close to his skills at the time. His Eruption solo is still copied by everyone, including by this guy on the cello:


[/quote]

The 1984 keyboard shit is overblown as well. They only used keyboards on two tracks and the intro, and the album has a lot of underrated jams like Drop Dead Legs and Top Jimmy, and classics like Hot for Teacher and Panama.

The problem was at that time in the hard rocking psyche keyboards were the domain of prog rock nerds and new romantic pussies. In retrospect that is not the case, but at the time, a pretty big move.

It’s always mystified me that Jump is the most popular VH song ever. Not a bad song, but really not their real sound.

[quote=“Deuce Dropper”]The 1984 keyboard shit is overblown as well. They only used keyboards on two tracks and the intro, and the album has a lot of underrated jams like Drop Dead Legs and Top Jimmy, and classics like Hot for Teacher and Panama.

The problem was at that time in the hard rocking psyche keyboards were the domain of prog rock nerds and new romantic pussies. In retrospect that is not the case, but at the time, a pretty big move.[/quote]

They did have some good songs on that album and on the ones to follow. But keyboards have always turned me off unless we’re talking Stevie Wonder’s Superstition or something similar (Rush’s use of keyboards did this to me too). I checked out some early Van Halen songs today that I haven’t heard in a long time. Man, talk about flashbacks. I had to stop listening because of all the memories (I kid you not).

[quote=“marasan”][quote=“Deuce Dropper”]The 1984 keyboard shit is overblown as well. They only used keyboards on two tracks and the intro, and the album has a lot of underrated jams like Drop Dead Legs and Top Jimmy, and classics like Hot for Teacher and Panama.

The problem was at that time in the hard rocking psyche keyboards were the domain of prog rock nerds and new romantic pussies. In retrospect that is not the case, but at the time, a pretty big move.[/quote]

They did have some good songs on that album and on the ones to follow. But keyboards have always turned me off unless we’re talking Stevie Wonder’s Superstition or something similar (Rush’s use of keyboards did this to me too). I checked out some early Van Halen songs today that I haven’t heard in a long time. Man, talk about flashbacks. I had to stop listening because of all the memories (I kid you not).[/quote]

In my view, Van Halen ended with 1984, so I consider them to have done two keyboard songs in 6 albums. I just don’t think of them as the same band without Dave.

I was 12-13 when Dave left and just getting into them (VH were my fave band right through high school) and at the time I’d always waver between whether I preferred DLR or SH. But now, going back to them, the DLR stuff holds up much, much better over time than the SH stuff.

Me too. When I got into VH, it was mostly Hagar albums, but now I lean heavily toward Diamond Dave. They did do some great songs with Sammy, though–Poundcake springs to mind, and Finish What Ya Started, and the Balance album (I used to a poster of that album cover).

DD, how can you say VH ended with 1984 when they put out a whole new album with Dave last year? No Michael Anthony, of course, but Wolfgang Van Halen does just fine.

Me too. When I got into VH, it was mostly Hagar albums, but now I lean heavily toward Diamond Dave. They did do some great songs with Sammy, though–Poundcake springs to mind, and Finish What Ya Started, and the Balance album (I used to a poster of that album cover).

DD, how can you say VH ended with 1984 when they put out a whole new album with Dave last year? No Michael Anthony, of course, but Wolfgang Van Halen does just fine.[/quote]

I guess I am an era guy. Not a huge fan of Michael Jordan’s Washington Wizards days or Joe Montana’s KC Chiefs years either.

Jump is the only Van Halen song I know. Just like all I know of Aerosmith is Love in an Elevator and that Armageddon song… something about dying. Or is that Bryan Adams? We don’t have much rock music in the UK these days. It’s all disco pop.

Early Van Halen was pretty good albeit not underrated. But anyone who would place Journey or Foreigner higher on the list deserves to get shot

Music is subjective. All musical discussion are fruitless.

Although you would all do yourselves a favour if you listened to Frank Ocean a little bit.

I saw Van Halen back in '78; they were disappointing. They made it to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame a year before Madonna. Not sure what that means about their rating. :ponder:

VH1 had a list of the 100 greatest “rock” artists (made in 1998). Van Halen came in 48th. I wouldn’t put them any higher than that.
rockonthenet.com/archive/1998/vh1artists.htm

Sammy Hagar was great on one album with Montrose. That is all. :neutral:

I think I agree with that. I stopped paying attention after that album. In 1985, I started listening to stuff from the 60s and 70s, and also got into blues and jazz. I saw Stevie Ray Vaughan in 1984 in a small place in Southern California. I was definitely losing interest in Van Halen around that time.

[quote=“zender”]I saw Van Halen back in '78; they were disappointing. They made it to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame a year before Madonna. Not sure what that means about their rating. :ponder:

VH1 had a list of the 100 greatest “rock” artists (made in 1998). Van Halen came in 48th. I wouldn’t put them any higher than that.
rockonthenet.com/archive/1998/vh1artists.htm

Sammy Hagar was great on one album with Montrose. That is all. :neutral:[/quote]

Interesting list.

Police at number 10? The fuck?

[quote=“zender”]I saw Van Halen back in '78; they were disappointing. They made it to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame a year before Madonna. Not sure what that means about their rating. :ponder:

VH1 had a list of the 100 greatest “rock” artists (made in 1998). Van Halen came in 48th. I wouldn’t put them any higher than that.
rockonthenet.com/archive/1998/vh1artists.htm

Sammy Hagar was great on one album with Montrose. That is all. :neutral:[/quote]
I hate those ratings! Devo and Santana on the same list? That’s just wrong. Miles Davis and The Clash? Can we have a top ten list of the worst music ratings lists of all time?

Yeah, those lists always surprise me.

Here’s a greatest-artists list that doesn’t have Van Halen, Queen or Pink Floyd in the top 100.
It puts The Police at #70.

It isn’t limited to “rock” music like the other list supposedly is. That makes it all but impossible for me to compare acts.

Rolling Stone: 100 Greatest Artists of All Time
listology.com/blindsider/lis … -immortals
The comments following each person/group on the list are worth reading.