Summer of 1985!
I hear on our local radio station that David Lee Roth exits Van Halen and is replaced by Sammy Hagar! As a VH/ Hagar fan I’m A-Ok with this move as myself and Muc a year earlier in Oct of 1984 saw Hagar Live so we knew he would deliver.
After I heard that Roth was out I called Tbone stat but he was out at his camp for that summer so I wasn’t gonna phone about any silly OL thing but this was warranted!
So I called. Tbones mother answered and called him to the phone.
The first thing T said to me was it must be true,” I laughed and said “holy shit how did you hear about Dave splitting?”
Tbone said that he was hanging out and they’re was a couple of friends that knew he listened to VH and they told him that Dave was out! Tbone did not believe it but no sooner is he told this by his camp friends than the phone rings,his mother calls him and tells him that its Deke on the phone….
Tbone knew it was true! Hahahahaha…
Now onto 1986!
In these hallowed pages of Arena Rock their aren’t many times I was out scooped but when it came time for Van Halen to release their Sammy Hagar(Dave Rothless) debut 5150 Tbone hooked up with Jack Loaf and skipped out of our first period Grade 13 class (1986) and went down and picked up 5150! I being the scholar did not skip school that day so when second period rolled around that day Tbone and JackLoaf were back with there that fresh copy release of 5150 at our school(Lakeview High School) I was like and this is putting it mildly….”you two sons of Bitches!!” Ha! That’s the edited version!
Later that day we were bunkered down in Tbones basement for the Van Hagar debut and Wowzers I likey what I heard and still do….
One Two Three Rock Box!
GOOD ENOUGH- “Helloooooo Baaaaaaby” chirps Sammy and were off with a squeal of delight from Edward Van Halens guitar and here’s brother Alex joining in on his electronic drums circa 1986 and slammimg straight ahead on bass is the Van Halen brothers favourite human kicking bag Michael Anthony. (Side note ..Ed its 2015,your Billboard interview slamming down Anthony’s contributions was to me sounding like sour pissy grapes….take the high road man..) Good Enough kicks some real good serious straight ahead goofy cool lyrics and some deadly music and we all breathe a sigh of relief! Love the song tempo change after the solo and throw down vocally some Woot Woo… It’s 1986 and we’re all digging Van Hagar! Rack a What?
WHY CANT THIS BE LOVE- I remember this track like it was yesterday. We were like I said earlier in Grade 13 when 5150 hit the street and to build hype VH released Why Can’t This Be Love as a single before the actual release of the full album. Now in one of my classes in High School some rock dudes were kinda hemming and hawing about Hagar singing lead and Roth being gone yada yada. For once I kept my musical trap shut and stayed out of it but one classmate who wore fancy dancy sweaters and played sax in the High School band who I didn’t even know listened to rock(or maybe he did?) pipes up and said ‘ I like the new guy (Hagar) better!” Ha I thought the third floor that we were on was gonna collapse! Boom end of discussion! Bell Rang…Class is now in session! Anyhoo this song starts with Eddie farting around with the opening on his Halen synth and Bam here comes the rest of the fella’s and Van Hagar drop a great song into our laps! Hagar shows that he’s no slouch in the lead vocal department and nails done a great vocal and Eddie does a chill solo and Alex Pounds the drums and Mikey holds down the fort with his bass!
GET UP- Ed starts off with some guitar hero snaz and brother Al speaking of drums launches into hyper speed and Get Up puts any doubt to rest that Halen is laying off the gas! GET UUUUUUUUUP! MAKE IT WORK…..sings Sam and him and Mike stand toe to toe with each other vocally and before you know it the song chills out with Ed and Al and then ramps up into Eds solo and my heads gonna blow as WTF Is he doing to that guitar! Love this tune…
DREAMS-power rocker tune fuelled by Eds banging tempo on the keys and Sammy gives her vocally big time on this tune and hits registers that even makes the staunchest of Roth supporters say what?! Dreams rocks in a great way. Great writing on this tune,performance. It’s all here folks!
SUMMER NIGHTS- one of my favs from this album! Ed noodles around at the beginning of this tune and does some Guitar hero action and Sammy tosses down some “lines into the fishing hole. Them girls are biting good tonight!” Sam sez that not me! The chorus is awesome Mikey carries the backing vocals and Ed flings riff after riff and Al power drives the tune at the end to the fade out…
BEST OF BOTH WORLDS-Ed begins what became a staple in the live show in the Hagar era. Great driving Halen song! These were the good OL happy Hagar daze of yesteryear! Great song and better solo with Mike being Freddy Steady on Bass and Alex flinging around cymbals like Keith Moon!
LOVE WALKS IN- hmmmm very interesting. You know Van Halen as in Ed was tampering with keys already with mid tempo rock tracks(I’ll Wait from 1984 is a Classic in moi’s book!) so it didn’t really surprise me that this kinda song would appear along with Dreams and Why Can’t This Be Love on 5150. Sammy could deliver this stuff with ease and great melodic solo from Eddie. Hate using the term Power Ballad associated with Halen so let’s say Melodic Ass Kicker!
5150-Wowzers the title track and Ed starts off with some nifty picking and Al follows suit on the drums and the song picks up its pace for a few seconds and once Sam I Am starts singing that the ” Love line is never straight or narrow” love the tempo change and the chorus ramps up! Ed flings down some cool twirly cool doodle as fuck solos and it ramps back up again!
INSIDE- Ha! No one ever talks about this track! Time to show it some love! It’s a mix mash of Sammys lead vocals and a background of yakking and Sammy just me being crazy or just a bit too high! Cool little riff! And better yet is that Al chirping the word “Alimony”in the background? Ha! Hey so that’s what’s going down on the Inside! Ed mashes up some synth with his guitar and the song ends! Boom Done!
IN CONCLUSION- the build up and the hype for 5150 back in 1986 was friggin huge! Imagine the pressure of following Roth and the 1984 album but Sam and his new friends deliver this album in spades and just think a few months later here comes Diamond Dave with Eat Em And Smile! 1986 yeah man,a great year musically speaking for myself,Tbone and others!