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.
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.