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Revisiting Old Van Halen that I didn't listen to in high school; next up Diver Down

mesa/boogieman

Senior Member
Messages
1,854
Disclaimer: Yes I was THAT pop kid in the eighties. Had Culture Club, Huey Lewis & the News, Duran Duran and Wham! in regular rotation. Of course I listened to VH's hits but that was it. All I knew off of Diver Down was Pretty Woman.

Dr. Tweedbucket was right. This is an under-rated album.

Where Have All the Good Times Gone; I think this is an enjoyable song. Very catchy how they do it.

Hang 'Em High. Awesome riff, but for some reason the song doesn't grab me on 1st listen.

Secrets: Got a nice Ladies Nite in Buffalo vibe.

The Full Bug: killer song!

Big Bad Bill: Eh, I could take it or leave it.

Over the years, I've heard Cathedral, Little Guitars and Happy Trails. Little Guitars is my favorite tune off this album. Love Eddie's clean/crunch tone he's got on it.

Next up; Fair Warning :)

Edit: I forgot to mention Dancing in the Street. I like that song. I did not know it was supposed to be an original.
 
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R3deemed

Member
Messages
7,580
This is probably the most slagged on VH/Roth album. However, it is one of my absolute favorites: Intruder/Pretty Woman, The Full Bug, Little Guitars, Where Have All the Good Times Gone... The guitar tone is unparalleled IMO, get's your feet moving and it's happy through and through!

I will admit, though, that I "unchecked" Big Bad Bill and Happy Trails on my iPod.
 

Phila67

Member
Messages
1,930
The cool thing about Big Bad Bill is Jan Van Halen on clarinet, and Ed on a ES-335 (I believe). So with Wolf, does Van Halen set a record for recording with the most generations in one heavy rock band?
 

Shnook

Member
Messages
4,581
At the time I thought it was the weakest VH release but found a few songs on there to like. I like it a little more these days. Back then I was so into the energy of Fair Warning that Diver Down was just a huge let down minus about 4 songs. Obviously Hang 'Em High rocked my world.
 

sahhas

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
15,672
remember hearing "pretty woman" a lot when i played basketball in my driveway back when that was released....

didn't really know who they were much at that pt. i mostly listened to the radio back then....
 

smallbutmighty

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
9,200
Diver Down: The good stuff is really, really good, and the bad stuff is really, REALLY bad. Not much middle ground on this album.

The Good (IOW, the originals):
Cathedral
Little Guitars
Hang 'em High
The Full Bug
Secrets

The Bad (IOW, the covers):
Dancing in the Streets (single worst Van Halen song ever)
Where Have all the Good Times Gone
Pretty Woman
Happy Trails

The Ugly (IOW, the one cover that doesn't suck)
Big Bad Bill
 

Telefunky

Member
Messages
2,727
If anything, Big Bad Bill is the MOST interesting song in VH history because it's a snapshot of Ed and Al growing up, and where they got all that mad swing from... Jan Van Halen.

Name another rock band can just throw down serious swing jazz like that, and all the more surprising because the brothers only studied classical piano.

Michael Anthony is playing a stand-up bass and absolutely killin'. VERY few rock players can do that. Almost none, actually.
Eddie is comping chords with a feel and tone that rivals some legendary jazz cats.
Alex is playing brushes like the serious old school cats, and if you didn't know, that's a Tremendously difficult thing to do.
Roth is on top of his game here, any other rock singer would sound ridiculous in this genre.
And of course, Jan Van Halen blowing some of the hippest, baddest lines with a smoky tone and swing that's just 100% world class.

If you can think of a SINGLE rock band that could have pulled that off, please let me know.
 

pete692

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
4,942
Diver Down has the most hidden gems because Eddie convinced a whole generation of fans that it sucks, so many people avoided it. When I first sat down and gave it a listen, it just blew my mind. I really think Eddie felt like he was cheating with the covers, but they provided a fantastic launch pad for some of the best soloing of his entire career.
 

Telefunky

Member
Messages
2,727
Diver Down has the most hidden gems because Eddie convinced a whole generation of fans that it sucks, so many people avoided it. When I first sat down and gave it a listen, it just blew my mind. I really think Eddie felt like he was cheating with the covers, but they provided a fantastic launch pad for some of the best soloing of his entire career.


Agreed 100%. Eddie's solo break on "Dancing In The Street" is one of his best. It effortlessly follows the changes and perfectly showcases his fluid, falling-down-the-stairs approach to phrasing. It's very stylistically reminiscent of his solo on "Somebody Get Me A Doctor"
 

Zuma

Member
Messages
68
Lots of VH fans just hate...hate this album. There are a few duds, but also some great songs. Came out when I was in High School, life was good, hard for me to hate on this one. Not always big on the VH cover tunes, but I thought the into to Pretty Women made the song, at least for me.
 

67blackcherry

Member
Messages
11,867
Diver Down - probably the worse DLR album, but still full of great stuff.
Dancing in the Streets - horrible song, probably one of Ed's best solo's.
Hang 'em High - great riff, I love how they're extending the solo section on the current tour.
Little Guitars - flawless.

Just wait until you get to Fair Warning.....
 

gtrdave

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
5,120
I'm one of those weird people that really likes Diver Down.

'Course, I think Fair Warning is their best album ever, so what do I know...
 

walterw

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
37,769
ditto, and ditto.

diver down is a brilliant EP hidden inside an OK album.

and "dancing in the streets" is a hoot! eddie comes up with these otherworldly delay-syncopated analog synths, and dave slaps it onto a motown cover! that to me is the yin and yang of VH right there.
 

Dr. Tweedbucket

Deluxe model available !!!11
Messages
47,879
Fair warning was a very short album and in spite of having some of Van Halens best work, it had a few clunker/filler songs on it too. :red So, what they should have done was removed the clunkers from Fair Warning and added the gems from Diver Down and made one very long and very KILLER album. It may have been Van Halens best! :idea

In fact, I actually did this on a CD :) and it was so hot it melted my CD player :cry:


Where have all the good Times Gone?
Cathedral
Little Guitars
Hang 'em High
The Full Bug
Secrets
Mean Street
Sinner's Swing!
Hear About It Later
Unchained
So This is Love?
 

hawkeye17

Member
Messages
1,064
I always thought Diver Down was underrated too. Cathedral is flat out one of the most creative and brilliant solo guitar pieces ever.
 

Jube2550

Member
Messages
3,087
Diver Down was the only VH album in my vinyl collection that was in cherry condition and remained that way for many years. When it came out some friends and I would spin the opening to Where have all the Good Times Gone over and over and then stop. It was nothing like Fair Warning. The album was not "cool" enough like the early material, even the album cover was boring. Like how much more red could it be??

The album has grown on me over time with Little Guitars and Hang 'em High as standouts. Is the album under-rated, underappreciated, perhaps? Even the Mrs. likes Pretty Woman. I recall it was the only VH MTV video in 1982 and somewhat cool even if it was (multi-cultural western theme done by long-haired CA rockers) a bit weird.

 




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