Summertime Spin- Van Halen: Diver Down (1982)

Well, folk’s this is the end of Summertime Spins for this year! Thanks for reading along and commenting on the albums that basically take me back in time! I thought it was only fitting to start the Summertime Spins with a Van Hagar party album (5150) and now end it with a Van Roth party album (Diver Down).

Thanks for reading along.

1982 was a great year for me to be a fan of Van Halen. 1981 was when I discovered VH and bought my first two ever records by the Los Angeles foursome. “Woman & Children First” and “Fair Warning” were the two albums I bought in 81.

In May 1982 “Diver Down” was released after the single “Oh Pretty Woman”(Roy Orbison) was issued as a single a month or so before(more on that later)

I bought the single of Oh Pretty Woman on 45 right when the single came out and to my surprise, the B side of the single was “Happy Trails”!

Ha, there is VH already messing with my 14-year-old mind back in 82!

Diver Down was a short album. 31 minutes in total. 12 songs. ^

Posted above is one cool back cover shot taken back in 1981 when VH opened up for the Rolling Stones in Los Angeles. Two things are interesting about this pic.

1- If you didn’t know better (at which time I didn’t) you would think this photo was from a VH headlined show.

2-Arena Rock reader Jeff Japp was actually at the Orlando shows(where the back cover pic was taken). Here’s Jeff’s review.

Better yet Jeff caught VH the second night as well. Click the link below. Better yet give Jeff a follow as he’s a great guy who has seen 100’s of shows and has kept all his ticket stubs! It’s such a great blog.

When Diver Down hit the streets I remember reading reviews of it and some of them were calling VH lazy. lol

I get it as Diver Down featured 5 cover tunes. As a 14-year-old dork at the time, I kinda bought what the critics were saying. 

Diver Down clocks in at 31 minutes and about 13 minutes of DD are cover tunes! LOL, Basically David Lee Roth, Micheal Anthony, Ed, and Alex Van Halen only had to craft just over 17 minutes of original material. 

But to be fair to VH, sure the album may come across as lazy but after reading Ted Templeman’s book Ted explains the band was basically pressured by Warner Brother Records to put out an album so I can see why people would call them Lazy Halen when that really wasn’t the case.

Side One.

Having said all of this. Diver Down is a ton of fun. Opener “Where Have All The Good Times Gone” is a great track. A song did originally by The Kinks but this song was Halenizied so it could pass as an original tune. 

The second track “Hang Em High” is a bonafide VH classic. Ed tears apart his fretboard while Roth goes into creeper mode vocally. Ed’s solo is I think one of his best while Alex plays the complete crap out of his drums during Ed’s solo.  Killer Tune!

Ed doddles on his guitar on “Cathedral” which leads into “Secrets” which Roth wrote great lyrics and delivers a stellar vocal as well! Micheal Anthony must always be mentioned as a huge catalyst in the backing vocals of VH as well as holding down the fort with his Bass playing.

Another musical interlude is “Intruder” which speaking of creepy sounds creepy with that twisted synth mixed with Ed’s guitar and were off into “Oh Pretty Woman.”^

“Intruder/Oh Pretty Woman” was only intended as a single with Happy Trails being the other track. Dave and Alex wanted to make videos so this was the plan originally. A 45 single and that’s it. But of course, Pretty Woman stormed up the charts and then both Management and Record Company wanted a full album.

Side 1 is done.

Onto Side 2.

“Dancing In The Streets” in 82 I was so so on it. 2020 I appreciate it more as I read the back story on it coming from Templeman’s mouth. Love the sound of Alex’s drums on this tune and of course the guitar!

“Little Guitars (intro”) is Eddie laying down some cool classical licks on acoustic which inturn locks right into” Little Guitars(the song)” and there’s Alex’s drums front and center leading the charge. Whatever sound Ed is making or whatever he is doing is phenomenal. This is another one of those VH tracks that has all the classic trimmings of greatness. 

Catch as catch, catch as catch can…

Here comes the fun family jam along with tune in  “Big Bad Bill Is Sweet William Now”. Basically its Dave, Micheal, Eddie, Alex, and the brother’s father Jan who cranks on the clarinet on this track which is just simply put FUN!

“The Full Bug” is a doozy of a track. VH is like a runaway locomotive on this track. Full out rock with a harmonica solo added as the band is letting everyone know that the party is still going full throttle!

“Happy Trails” ends Diver Down in acapella version proving when you’re all sauced up and the plug is pulled electrically you can dig down deep to let us all know that the party has officially ended!

Considering Diver Down the album was started in March 1982 and was released in May 1982 the boys had some work to do and they pulled it off as this is one of those fun summer albums.

^-Check out that back cover track listing. It does not follow the actual tracklisting on the printed vinyl version. In the Templeman book, Ted explains that the record company would need time beforehand to figure out the back cover printing and artwork. So at one point that was supposed to be the actual tracklisting of Diver Down that see posted up above.

^^-Intruder/Oh Pretty Woman was only intended as a single with Happy Trails being the other track. Dave and Alex wanted to make videos so this was the plan originally. A 45 and that’s it. But of course, Pretty Woman stormed up the charts, and then both Management and Record Company wanted a full album.



48 thoughts on “Summertime Spin- Van Halen: Diver Down (1982)”

      1. LOL – hey, no biggie. It was comparable with the show I was at. I have to say, when I was younger I loved the big stadium shows. Now, I’m much more into the intimate smaller venues. Keep up the good posts, and rock on!

        Liked by 1 person

  1. I’m in the same boat, never a fan of this one back in the day (love them all now). I didn’t understand why so short and so many covers, now I know. Thanks for the education and the new site to add to the collection to visit.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Awesome John. Jeff will apreciate it. That man has seen 100’s of shows. He’s a great guy. Diver Down for sure is a fun spin. Nothing serious. Just crank it up!


  2. I know all about being a 14-year old Dork, Deke!
    Enjoyed the Summertime Spins series – interesting to read about the printed vs. actual tracklist, I like those inconsistencies.
    I remember with the printed lyrics to the Sloan song, Fading into Obscurity, the printed line was “a career that is held” vs. the line Chris actually sang “a reputation that’s held.” A minor detail, but I enjoy seeing those decisions that get changed after things have already gone to the printers!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Speaking of Chris. You see he’s doing a online solo show for 10 bucks in September? I will get a ticket for that guy/band as they were always accommodating to the fans after the show especially Chris. It’s the least I can do.
      Kinda cool to flip over some albums now esp. the VH records as most them had a different running order than the one that appears final.
      Cool to see that stuff.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Basically a year. April 81 Fair Warning came out and they toured 6 months on that and than Diver Down the following April (82). Ted says the band was scattered about doing their own things but the when Pretty Woman came out Ted says Dave and Alex wanted to do the big video which they did and it got banned by MTV lol
      That’s all they wanted to do was the song and video. The song took off up the charts and the next thing you know here comes Diver Down. lol and a tour.


      1. Plus add in the lifestyle and having a singer 24-7 in party mode day after day i’m sure got on people’s nerves.
        Lot’s of burnout factor for sure.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Deke just letting you know how unsettling it was for me to read the Summertime Spin series during the Australian winter. So I think it’s only fair that I take your series and keep it alive during the Australian Summertime, while you shovel snow. Lol.

    So expect a Down Under Summertime Series coming in December, January and February.

    And by the way, Diver Down doesn’t get the respect it deserves. From a guitar point of view there is a lot of unbelievable EVH stuff on this album.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. LOLOL. Brilliant Pete!
      Look forward to that. Keeping the Summertime Spin series alive!
      Damn it you had to remind me about shoveling snow! lol
      Lot’s of cool EVH riffs. Even the covers Ed makes him his own!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. This was my first Van Halen. My first cassette too. Bought it at the St. Jacobs Farmer’s Market right when it came out. For those sentimental reasons it is my favourite VH. I am probably the only person that likes it the best, but it has a special meaning to me.
    I also love that back cover so much that I use it as part of background for my site.

    As for Little Guitars, Eddie was a fan of Carlos Montoya, a famous flamenco guitarist. When I found that out I started buying Carlos Montoya records.
    Also, Eddie had 2 mini Les Pauls for this song. It is the only song he uses those guitar for. Hence the name Little Guitars.

    Nice write up. Perfect to end the Summetime Spin.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Bop and what I like best is how Diver Down impacted you as a listener upon discovering it. Who cares what others think its how it made your skin vibrate when listening to it the very first time. (I stole that last sentence from Brent Jensen) lol
      Thanks for dropping by.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Awesome album…..the original songs in this album are all VH classics….I mean you put those 4 tracks on an album with anything else and you get a strong album.
    Didn’t realize the back cover photo was from a show where they were the opener….I guess you learn something every day…lol

    Liked by 1 person

  6. The first Van Halen record that I bought was the single a pretty woman in Happy Trails. They did a good job on Pretty Woman… they kept Orbison arrangement pretty much intact and just put their brand on it.

    I also like Dancing in the Streets. Was one of them against doing that? It seems like I read an article that one of them was against it.

    Loved the Stones reviews.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Nice. Jeff Japp has seen a crazy amount of shows. Give him a follow.
      Your right about Dancing In The Streets. Templeman in his book says that when they recorded it 82 EVH was all for it but as Ted says by 85 EVH was saying the exact opposite which surprised him. lol
      Dude Drama.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. After I read the Sammy bio… I thought wow… Eddie is different to say the least. Not getting along with Dave… yea I get it but drama follows him with every one except his brother.

        Liked by 1 person

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