Van Halen "Diver Down"
Van Halen's fifth studio album "Diver Down" is released on this day in 1982. Singles from the album include, "(Oh) Pretty Woman," "Dancing In The Streets," "Where Have All The Good Times Gone!" "Big Bad Bill," and "Happy Trails." An album full of cover songs. What the hell? Because by 1982 Van Halen had been wide open and stuck on cruise control for about 4 years. At least. Read one of the books. Nobody topped Van Halen live in 1981-1982. That's a simple Rock and Roll fact.
Van Halen did what they wanted, when they wanted, and you know what happens when you squirt water at David Lee Roth, don't you? Oh, you don't know what he's gonna do to your girlfriend after the show?
"Diver Down" is a favorite, almost a sleeper album among die-hard Van Halen fans, but was a bit of a let down for the record company. Heavy Metal Thursday has long considered "Diver Down" to be the closest thing to a live album from the original, legendary, and most important Van Halen lineup as fans were ever going to get. So suck it up.
By 1982, every light bulb and warning buzzer on the Van Halen dashboard was flashing, flickering and making all kinds of fucking noise, only nobody was paying much attention. The coke was too good, some chick was blocking the way up to the cockpit, and, "look at all the people here, tonight!"
David Lee Roth is a superior song writer. Don't let the rest of his talents and stagecraft distract you from these facts. Scroll back up, we've laid down several facts for you to stick in your denim jacket. This is another Rock and Roll fact.
His turn of phrase is stellar. "Diver Down," is laced with cover songs but if you feel around down there you're gonna find some real gems, including "Hang 'Em High," "Secrets," "Little Guitars," and the "Full Bug."
Of all the covers on "Diver Down," the most important one to Heavy Metal Thursday is actually "Big Bad Bill (Is Sweet William Now)," because for those who don't already know, that's Jan Van Halen, Edward and Alex's dad, on the clarinet. Jan brought the Van Halen family over on a ship from Holland with nothing but fifty bucks and a piano. Jan was a professional musician and played music to help finance their trip to America. That's the American dream right there, folks.
Van Halen at the 1983 Us Festival. The only people who put iced tea in Jack Daniel's bottles is The Clash. And the only people who say dumb shit like "He don't even know the words....he's fucking up the song...," totally and completely missed the entire point of Van Halen, probably never saw them live, and very likely still have a room at their momma's house. Same bedspread, and shit. Need a 1980s do over.
We are Heavy Metal Thursday. And we are here to tell you people that we ain't apologizing for the 80s. So take that shit someplace else.