Women & Children First
Van Halen's third album is released on this day, March 26, 1980. No cover tunes. Edward Van Halen brings in the Wurlitzer electric piano for "And The Cradle Will Rock." People are still stunned to learn the main riff in this song isn't being played on the guitar. We talked about this once before in our breakdown of "1984." We ain't reinventing the wheel, here, people. There's plenty of other pages who've staked their claim on "things that happened today....,"
Heavy Metal Thursday once named a boat after this album, "Women & Children First," so we've got that going for us. Which is nice. A 1983 Chris-Craft 410 Commander. Equal parts Millennium Falcon, SS Titanic, and Cadillac Sedan DeVille.
We never sunk it, never crashed it, no fatalities. Nobody ever went to jail. The boat never sank. We limped in more than once on one engine. There were bikinis and liquor. We cranked "Everybody Wants Some!" over the sound system whenever coming and going from the marina and especially when there looked like somebody nearby might complain about the noise. Captain's orders.
"And The Cradle Will Rock/Everybody Wants Some" is the only single released for the album....just in time for summer, '80.
Track listing for "Women & Children First," also includes "Romeo Delight," a fan-favorite. Anybody who truly believes David Lee Roth "forgot the fuckin' words," missed the entire point of Van Halen and probably secretly needs a 1980s do-over.
It's 1983. It's The Us Festival. Heavy Metal Day. We've talked about it, here, and you can use you black belts in google fu to go out there and see the whole thing if you want; Quiet Riot, Motley Crue, Ozzy, Triumph, Scorpions and the Mighty Van Halen closes out the day. Ain't nobody ever been paid that much money to drink that much Jack Daniel's and inhale that much cocaine for a single show in the history of Rock and Roll. Cite that in your "research."
David Lee Roth is equal parts Dean Martin, James Brown, Chuck Norris and PT Barnum. He's the MC of the 1980s. Nobody else was going to close down the day but David Lee Roth. And the only people who put iced tea in Jack Daniel's bottles is The Clash. Write that down, too.
August 25, 1981, Greensboro, North Carolina. Van Halen destroys the place. It's just another day on the road. Summertime, 1981. Listen to this audio or go play your Elvis Costello records in your mom's room. It's all ready to go for you, right where "Everybody Wants Some," is about to start. Be a big boy and listen to David Lee Roth and Alex Van Halen. Use your imagination.
Another personal favorite from "Women & Children First" has to be "Take Your Whiskey Home." A tasty acoustic intro. Dave's being Dave. The greatest one-two combination in the history of Rock. They weren't the first version of Plant and Page. They're just better.
Nobody talks about this album and walks away feeling like they know some shit without mentioning Nicolette Larson's backing vocals on "Could This Be Magic?" So let's do this, instead. Give her some respect. You knew the song. And you're acting like you knew she sung on a Van Halen record, too. And that's ok. Come out of your mom's closet and go over there through her shit. She's probably got this record in there, too.
David Lee Roth being David Lee Roth. PT Barnum. Raise your hand if you think he and Larson ever slipped off into a closet somewhere. Dave's been telling you straight to your face for 40 years exactly what it's all about; "Sex, drugs and Rock and Roll."
Enjoy the rest of your day. There's really no excuse, otherwise.