While Van Halen is currently on the road promoting ‘A Different Kind of Truth,’ their long-awaited reunion album with David Lee Roth, the band’s namesake and chief riffologist Eddie Van Halen has been strangely absent on the interview front and hasn’t done any of the expected national press.
Instead, the bulk of the official band commentary has been via video interviews released by the band themselves. Guitar World took the silence of EVH as an opportunity to offer a “tip of the hat” to the band’s incredible legacy, ranking the ‘50 Greatest Van Halen Songs of All Time’ within their new issue, which features Eddie on the cover.
The list will no doubt be the subject of many debates amongst the Van Halen faithful, but at the very least, it gives somewhat equal consideration to both the DLR era and the Van Hagar era of the group. As you might expect, the Roth half of the catalog accounts for the bulk of the list, and “Van Cherone” is nowhere to be found in the rundown.
At the top of the list is the mandatory desktop drumming instigator ‘Hot For Teacher,’ while ‘A Different Kind of Truth’ itself notches two slots on the list with ‘Tattoo’ coming in at #41 and ‘She’s The Woman’ landing at #45.
‘Dancing in the Street,’ ‘Poundcake,’ ‘Top of the World,’ ‘Best of Both Worlds’ and ‘Dance the Night Away’ are among the songs that fall behind those two ‘Truth’ cuts. How you feel about that….well, that’s at least one place where the debate might begin.
Ranking lists like this is tough — there’s some definite shuffling we’d do on our end as admitted Van Halen diehards….and if this was a list based on “greatest riffs,” well hell, you’d really see some real shuffling and bickering going on behind the scenes here at UCR HQ.
Van Halen fans won’t want to miss this article, even if they disagree with some choices, as it’s loaded with interesting factoids (‘Right Now’ was written with Joe Cocker in mind) and literary tributes from fellow six stringers including Megadeth’s Chris Broderick, Zakk Wylde and Kerry King of Slayer.
King writes (the words of nearly every guitar player since 1978) that “seeing Van Halen live made me want to play. Eddie was the sh-t. I saw them six times on their first U.S. tour.”
Top 10 Van Halen Songs As Rated By Guitar World
10. ‘And The Cradle Will Rock’
9. ‘You Really Got Me’
6. ‘Mean Street’
5. ‘Runnin’ With The Devil’
4. ‘Beautiful Girls
2. ‘Ain’t Talkin’ ‘Bout Love’
1. ‘Hot For Teacher’