I am the POLLer of these netherworlds: Best Song On Van Halen's First Album

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"For some reason Warners wants us to know that this is the biggest bar band in the San Fernando Valley. This doesn't mean much--all new bands are bar bands, unless they're Boston. The term becomes honorific when the music belongs in a bar. This music belongs on an aircraft carrier." - Robert Christgau

Poll Results

Ain't Talkin' Bout Love 31
Runnin' With The Devil 11
Little Dreamer 2
On Fire 2
Eruption 2
You Really Got Me 1
Atomic Punk 1
Jamie's Cryin' 1
I'm The One 0
Feel Your Love Tonight 0
Ice Cream Man 0

da croupier, Sunday, 3 June 2012 23:11 (six years ago) Permalink

I kind of can't believe this hasn't been done, but I couldn't find anything in search. Curious if anyone has any sense of how outtanowhere this album seemed at the time. Kiss, Aerosmith, the aforementioned Boston, all obvious touchstones, and I know they big Mountain fans, but it still seems like they just shot out of a cannon already their own damn thing.

da croupier, Sunday, 3 June 2012 23:13 (six years ago) Permalink

playing songs that sound as if they were shot out of a cannon

go down on you in a thyatrr (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Sunday, 3 June 2012 23:23 (six years ago) Permalink

Pretty impossible to choose between running, jaime, talkin bout love, and on fire

Always thought little dreamer was the sneaky good song on this album

wack nerd zinging in the dead of night (upper mississippi sh@kedown), Sunday, 3 June 2012 23:37 (six years ago) Permalink

Runnin' With The Devil- Considering how much sheer rock and roll speed and thrill power is on this album, it is telling that it starts with this ominous “Black Sabbath in Cali” tune. I found the simple life ain’t so simple indeed.
Eruption- This one track from lore just recorded as a lark as producer Ted Templeton heard Eddie VH using it to warming up with this piece, which was more of a live intro than a complete track pretty much for better or for worse dropped the atom bomb on electric rock guitar.
You Really Got Me- VH were never prodigious song writers and so quite a few covers from their live sets ended up on records. I do think in a historical circle kind of way, it is cool that “You Really Got Me” is here as it kind of puts book ends on the rock guitar riff from 64-78 in a way.
Ain't Talkin' Bout Love- There are some great tunes on this record, but I think this one is the best and most finely stilled moment of Van Halen’s music. It’s all in there.
I'm The One- Man this song is really fast.
Jamie's Cryin'- I really love that sarcastic “peanut’s teacher/wah wah” sound EVH gets on the main riff, it really brings the nastiness to the tune. The riff was so cool it ended up in Tone LOC’s “Wild Thing”.
Atomic Punk- This one is another burner and probably one of VH’s most “metal” sounding tunes.
Feel Your Love Tonight- I’d say this tune could be looked at as an archetype for west coast pop metal.
Little Dreamer- More mid-tempo centered around a fat riff, definitely still in the vein of west coast pop metal that came later, if a bit bluesy sounding for VH.
Ice Cream Man- This one I think comes from David Lee Roth and showcases his schtik pretty well. I think the Van Halen’s dad’s music probably got them to be into doing this kind of tune for a change of pace and I think that added to the element of fun in their discography.
On Fire- Again, VH put the pedal to the metal and head out at breakneck speed.

I voted for "Aint Talking About Love".

earlnash, Monday, 4 June 2012 00:01 (six years ago) Permalink

prob "ain't.." for me. am i fucked up that i listen to - if not necessarily 'like' - about 3 of their records more than this one?

it's smdh time in America (will), Monday, 4 June 2012 00:12 (six years ago) Permalink

Kiss, Aerosmith, the aforementioned Boston, all obvious touchstones, and I know they big Mountain fans

To my ear the strongest influence has always been ZZ Top. Boogie band through and through, and the "brown sound" owes a lot to BFG.

Also this album smokes and this poll is diabolical. I will probably vote for "Ain't Talkin' Bout Love" but quien sabe.

all yoga attacks are fire based (rogermexico.), Monday, 4 June 2012 00:14 (six years ago) Permalink

it seems impossible that I hadn't really noticed DLR's mic placement until now.

all yoga attacks are fire based (rogermexico.), Monday, 4 June 2012 00:16 (six years ago) Permalink

I do think the Mammoth/VH bar band that did funk like Kool & the Gang and KC & the Sunshine band tunes in their set did really seep into EVH's playing and is in their sound too.

earlnash, Monday, 4 June 2012 00:33 (six years ago) Permalink

James Gang also unrecognized early influence.

Elvis Telecom, Monday, 4 June 2012 00:35 (six years ago) Permalink

Runnin', Ain't Talkin' or Little Dreamer. This is impossible.

EZ Snappin, Monday, 4 June 2012 01:21 (six years ago) Permalink

I think Kris said something on the old ILM about how "Ain't Talkin' 'Bout Love" was the only time that flanged guitar sounded tough. Such a great guitar sound on that.

EveningStar (Sund4r), Monday, 4 June 2012 02:08 (six years ago) Permalink

On Fire or Ain't Talkin'...went with On Fire for its ott facemelt quotient.

Johnny Fever, Monday, 4 June 2012 02:36 (six years ago) Permalink

ain't talkin' bout love, no other choice

spextor vs bextor (contenderizer), Monday, 4 June 2012 03:00 (six years ago) Permalink

My guitar teacher, who can play anything, nonetheless had to break down and buy a new guitar just to make Van Halen type shit a little more manageable (I guess Eddie's hands are really big, and the way he gets around the guitar not always intuitive?). Anyway, my teacher likes to point out the irony that the finger tapping stuff in "Eruption" that first got all the attention - "Runnin' with the Devil" doesn't have much in the way of a flashy guitar solo, as if Eddie knew just what he had and wanted to save it for a little later - is actually the easiest stuff to do on that track. He's constantly amazed at the precision and syncopation of the other stuff Eddie is frequently pulling off at pretty fast tempos.

Josh in Chicago, Monday, 4 June 2012 03:09 (six years ago) Permalink


Josh in Chicago, Monday, 4 June 2012 03:09 (six years ago) Permalink

'Ain't Talkin' 'Bout Love'... what a riff!

The Jupiter 8 (Turrican), Monday, 4 June 2012 05:54 (six years ago) Permalink

I love the surfiness of Ain't Talkin. went with that, but damn near impossible poll

Chris S, Monday, 4 June 2012 06:09 (six years ago) Permalink

yeah, "ain't talkin" is it. crazy thing is, the riff could hardly be easier.

all yoga attacks are fire based (rogermexico.), Monday, 4 June 2012 22:56 (six years ago) Permalink

lol @ opening Xgau review, even if I can't quite follow it

Roger Barfing (Shakey Mo Collier), Monday, 4 June 2012 23:00 (six years ago) Permalink

it's kind of OTM!

all yoga attacks are fire based (rogermexico.), Monday, 4 June 2012 23:02 (six years ago) Permalink

Kiss, Aerosmith, the aforementioned Boston, all obvious touchstones, and I know they big Mountain fans, but it still seems like they just shot out of a cannon already their own damn thing.

Montrose seem like the obvious precursor, ironically given who replaced DLR.

A++++++ would deal to again (Matt #2), Monday, 4 June 2012 23:58 (six years ago) Permalink

And Black Oak Arkansas. Or at least Big Jim Dandy, who DLR basically aped.

EZ Snappin, Tuesday, 5 June 2012 00:09 (six years ago) Permalink

Automatic thread bump. This poll is closing tomorrow.

System, Tuesday, 12 June 2012 00:01 (six years ago) Permalink

Sorta tempted to vote for "Eruption", but even though it is Eddie Van Halen's best guitar performance, there are other tracks here that have actually certain pop qualities in addition, so I went for "Running With The Devil" instead. Also love "Jamie's Cryin'" and "Ain't Talking 'Bout Love".

Best album in this genre until "Hysteria".

The GeirBot (Geir Hongro), Tuesday, 12 June 2012 10:07 (six years ago) Permalink

I ain't got time to fuck around... FUCK YOU

Ward Fowler, Tuesday, 12 June 2012 10:23 (six years ago) Permalink

just listened to this last week, didn't see this poll until now. voted "Ain't Talkin' Bout Love" b/c of the 2 Live Crew sample & its badass brazenness but this is such a strong album; "Atomic Punk" sounds like a completely different band except for Eddie's periodic flairs.

Euler, Tuesday, 12 June 2012 10:25 (six years ago) Permalink

I voted for "Ain't Talkin'" here; guess I will again --


xhuxk, Tuesday, 12 June 2012 12:59 (six years ago) Permalink

I keep thinking I don't like Van Halen that much until polls like this come up. Don't know this whole album but the radio tracks are all unbelievable.

Victory Chainsaw! (DJP), Tuesday, 12 June 2012 13:10 (six years ago) Permalink

yeah as a singles act they were fucking fierce

decrepit but free (underrated aerosmith bootlegs I have owned), Tuesday, 12 June 2012 13:26 (six years ago) Permalink

holy shit I had forgotten what a force of nature David Lee Roth is

Victory Chainsaw! (DJP), Tuesday, 12 June 2012 19:12 (six years ago) Permalink

I mean, people talk about the guitar work on this album but let's not overlook the singing, which is fucking crazy

Victory Chainsaw! (DJP), Tuesday, 12 June 2012 19:18 (six years ago) Permalink

voted for ain't talkin bout love for sheer gale force rawk, but Little Dreamer is still my personal favorite. and Janie.

Peppermint Patty Hearst (VegemiteGrrl), Tuesday, 12 June 2012 20:04 (six years ago) Permalink

yeah everything about this album is incredible, I can't think of any other singer who was this balls-out crazy and still felt sincere

frogbs, Tuesday, 12 June 2012 20:06 (six years ago) Permalink

Ain't Talkin' is going to win (as it should) but I'm throwing a vote to Dreamer.

EZ Snappin, Tuesday, 12 June 2012 20:08 (six years ago) Permalink

Automatic thread bump. This poll's results are now in.

System, Wednesday, 13 June 2012 00:01 (six years ago) Permalink

I voted "Ain't Talkin' 'Bout Love," but yesterday I was driving somewhere and heard that slowed-down-car-horn intro to "Runnin'" on the radio and was like DAMMIT I WANT A REVOTE.

Julie Derpy (Phil D.), Wednesday, 13 June 2012 00:12 (six years ago) Permalink

wau @ the margin of victory, especially on an album where every track is a legit keeper.

Johnny Fever, Wednesday, 13 June 2012 00:51 (six years ago) Permalink

while i'm not really a fan of their covers, i *love* the segue from 'eruption' to 'you really got me'. also 'intruder' into 'pretty woman'


mookieproof, Wednesday, 13 June 2012 01:06 (six years ago) Permalink

weird margin. Runnin' should have won.

Hauntingly Unemployed American (President Keyes), Wednesday, 13 June 2012 01:09 (six years ago) Permalink

feel bad that I'm The One got no votes --- I really love the uber swing vibe on that

Peppermint Patty Hearst (VegemiteGrrl), Wednesday, 13 June 2012 01:49 (six years ago) Permalink

Back when I didn't have a car, I always imagined buying a new car and putting Runnin' With the Devil in on the stereo as I rolled out of the lot. When the time actually came to buy my first car in 10 years, I was too worried about not getting tricked into buying the latest warranty undercoat protection plan that I didn't bother to bring the CD. When all was said and done, I scrambled as I turned onto the parkway to flip to the local classic rock station and the best I got was Hollywood Nights. I mean, yeah, but no.

Weingarden By Kawhineyscope (how's life), Thursday, 14 June 2012 01:39 (six years ago) Permalink


Peppermint Patty Hearst (VegemiteGrrl), Thursday, 14 June 2012 01:46 (six years ago) Permalink

one month passes...


Black_vegeta (Hungry4Ass), Wednesday, 18 July 2012 11:38 (six years ago) Permalink

RIP Ice Cream Man

Marco YOLO (Phil D.), Wednesday, 18 July 2012 11:57 (six years ago) Permalink

confused by revive, went to google news/twitter and didn't see anything about VH

Barack 2 Chainz Obama (some dude), Wednesday, 18 July 2012 12:29 (six years ago) Permalink

i was laughing at how's life's last post. forgot to quote it

Black_vegeta (Hungry4Ass), Wednesday, 18 July 2012 13:09 (six years ago) Permalink

three years pass...

wtf is julian cope talking about here, i can't find any deviations in track sequences anywhere?

Secondly, magnificent as the first LP is, their simple act of re-sequencing it for the new Remastered series so that the three strongest tracks now open the record, is not only proof that Warners and Van Halen themselves got it wrong the first time, but hell, it almost makes the thing an entirely new record. While “Running With The Devil” is just about the greatest (and most bass heavyyy) career opener of the 1970s, if it’s taken the protagonists over 25 years to realise what every Van Halen head always intuitively knew when making C90 comps for mates, that is: you follow “Running With The Devil” with “Atomic Punk” and “On Fire”, then should they have bothered at this late stage?

brimstead, Wednesday, 18 November 2015 01:59 (three years ago) Permalink

maybe it's some metafiction bullshit or something? sorry for bumping a VH thread if so. http://www.headheritage.co.uk/unsung/albumofthemonth/van-halen-atomic-punks

brimstead, Wednesday, 18 November 2015 02:00 (three years ago) Permalink


getting a lot of mileage out of this recently. i know, not first album, but still

AdamVania (Adam Bruneau), Wednesday, 18 November 2015 02:07 (three years ago) Permalink

two years pass...

Released 40 years ago today.

...some of y'all too woke to function (C. Grisso/McCain), Saturday, 10 February 2018 21:35 (one year ago) Permalink

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mookieproof, Saturday, 10 February 2018 22:25 (one year ago) Permalink

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