Well, ladies and the gents! Here it is the gamechanger that set my world on fire and which to this day is my número Uno all-time #1 studio album. Here’s my story…
January 1981. Beatles and Lennon solo records were flying out the door of all record shops at a frenzied rate, and we all know why. How could you not be impacted by Lennon being gunned down by Chapman I mean I had just turned 13 and on my walls were Kiss/Cheap Trick/ACDC/Judas Priest and then this happens. So I couldn’t wrap my head around that fact someone would gun down a musician of all things. So with so much Lennon being heard I went and took my allowance and went down to the local record shop (Sam The Record Man) to buy a Beatles album. When I walked into SAMs and kicked the snow off of my boots sure there was a massive display of Beatles/Lennon albums but off to the left at the front of the hard rock section was a green cover with 4 long haired dudes doing a pose in true Rockstar fashion. I was drawn to it. I picked it up, and wow look at these renegades. That picture on the front cover sold it to me along with with the song titles as well and the fact that it came with a poster! ( more on that later!)
So well the Beatles/Lennon purchases would have to wait. I was mesmerized, it’s like that picture of the band on the back cover was calling me ‘ c’ mon little Deker come and join the party’ uh ok sez I, I’m only like 13 but ….yeeeeeeeeeah! So there it began friends once I got home and dropped the needle on the vinyl I was hooked! The liveness, rawness, the songs, the musicianship, the vocals man these guys were heavy but heavy in my way that was in line with what I was listening too…..and ah here’s the poster that came with it ..I remember clear as day the sticker on the outside of the album that said VH poster included. Well much to my dismay the poster was not of VH but Roth topless tied to chain link fence!!? Arrrrrrrgh ..hello trash can! But who cares about the poster here’s comes the tunes and Boy were they are rocking! Now what you are about to read below I can’t really add anything new to it cause this is VH for god’s sake, but I will give my spin on how I felt and still do in regards to this Maximus Opus!
Also of note, I caught Halen live on the 2012 tour, and they played three tracks from W&CF which were Cradle Will Rock, Everybody Wants Some and Romeo Delight!
Let’s see how Dave/Eddie/Alex/Micheal took a 13 yr old boy (me) at the time and gave him a swift hard kick of musical supremacy outside the head!
AND THE CRADLE WILL ROCK- wow man, this is a keyboard driven through a Marshall stack! The VH boys lay it down thick and hard right out of the gate and Dave begins the album as the ringleader and when he says….’have you seen Junior’s grades” holy shit! Dave must be talking to my Parents about my grade 8 math marks through the grooves of the album!
EVERYBODY WANTS SOME- Alex lays down some Amazon war tribe beats as Dave interrupts swinging off of his vine with some off-key Tarzan yodeling and then Eddie interjects with his guitar and holy crap I have never heard the guitar at this time sound so heavy on record. Man it’s just plain sick and geez were not even 10 minutes into this album and VH is my favorite all time band circa 1981!
FOOLS- Eddie makes noodling guitar thingy noises at the beginning. With Dave as his sidekick and then the long intro sounds like the ending of the song but actually, it’s the beginning of the song. The band with Mike and Alex just chug along, and Dave lays down his sermon on all things like School and being tired of Golden Rules, being tired of pushing broom in the workplace and they don’t want no class reunion the circus just left town! F*%k, Dave has spoken, and I’m a follower! All Hail Roth-isms!
ROMEO DELIGHT- what an opening few bars of Edward doing whatever it is he’s doing and then Mikey and Alex blasting in at super speed and here comes Dave telling us about his quest to find a squeeze for the night! Wow, four songs down and this is so friggin good! Why could KISS not sound this heavy on studio albums?? Especially since cash flow in the late 70s was not an issue for $immon$ and Stanley….man what a song and what a way to end side 1 Whew…
TORA TORA-is basically when cranked in your house a VH B-52 Bomber dropping military shell after shells onto your senses. Take cover people there’s no escaping VH.
LOSS OF CONTROL- is basically that. It’s VH being Loss Of Control at the speed of sound! This song just pounds whatever senses you have left into the ground! No wonder they called there Women and Children Road Trip the Van Halen 1980 Invasion Tour. Yep there taking no prisoners! Eddies solo can peel paint off of the barn door with this little number!
TAKE YOUR WHISKEY HOME- if memory serves me correct this my brothers (Todd)if not fav but one of his fav VH tunes ever. Ed strums some acoustic Dave rolls off some lyrics out his baby not wanting him around…and then Alex and Mike join the bash and they say f*#k that were drinking the whiskey before anyone goes home.
COULD THIS BE MAGIC- wow VH makes a u-turn heads into the liquor store parking lot and realize they’re a little short on the change to buy some Jack Danniels or Whiskey and pull out the acoustics and try and panhandle for the rest of the money to buy there stash. Dave and Eddie take it all acoustic it’s a little break in a pretty damn heavy album!
IN A SIMPLE RHYME- this song ends the album with a hard kick to the crotch. It’s VH flying on all the cylinders and headed towards the finish line kicking ass and taking names later. The solo in this song is so friggin good.
GROWTH or TANK- take your pick. This was a little outro of the album that was gonna segue into the next studio album(Fair Warning), but it never happened cuz um VH forgot!
IN CONCLUSION – This album assaulted my senses back then and still does to this day! Perhaps if Fair Warning was my first purchase or 1984 was those could easily be my fave or actually any of the Dave era albums. Pretty surprising that Women And Children First could overtake another fav album of my at the time ACDC Back In Black, but VH did! Amazing how It only took VH under 35 minutes to change my musical landscape forever!