As I believe I mentioned before, I recently went through a bit of a David Lee Roth-era Van Halen phase. For a couple weeks their songs were in high rotation on my various digital music devices.
That got me thinking. How would I rank the DLR songs? More to the point, what are my five favorite DLR songs?1 Purely subjective and subject to change, of course.
“Runnin’ With the Devil” – The first single that the band wrote, it was a minor hit. I’ve always dug it for its power, how little it sounded like typical 1978 music, and because it freaked me out a little when I was little. A song about the devil? Yikes!
“Panama” – This went to #13 on the pop charts, but I don’t think I appreciated it fully until years later. Looking back, it may be the ultimate DLR-VH song: a heavy rocker with a healthy dose of pop sensibility, sexuality, and humor.
“Everybody Wants Some!!” – There are a lot of great intros in the VH catalog, but I think this is my favorite. I love the slow build, the booming drums, the ominous growling from Eddie’s guitar, and Dave’s animal-vamping which explode into the first verse. Bonus points for the classic Better Off Dead.
“Intruder/(Oh) Pretty Woman” – VH was never afraid of tackling someone else’s song. Here is a classic cover, both faithful to Orbison’s original and thoroughly Van Halen. Throw in the epic “Intruder” lead-in, and you have one of the best covers ever.
“Hot For Teacher” – The last DLR single, another brilliant combination of hard rock, punk, sex, and laughs.
To be fair, here are my favorite Sammy-era Van Halen songs.
“Best of Both Worlds”
That’s right, just three. The Van Hagar songs have not aged as well as the DLR songs. I love you and have defended you, Sammy, but in truth your songs just don’t measure up.