Van Halen’s lesser-known cover of The Kinks

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Wherever there was a party in Pasadena, California in the mid-1970s, you could be assured that Van Halen was not that far away. For a number of years before being signed to Warner Bros. Records, the debutant hard rock band played anywhere: backyards, school gyms, fraternity houses, basement bars and seedy clubs were all up for grabs as they began to establish. their sound and their image.

As a group of the people, it was only natural for Van Halen to include a good number of covers in his repertoire. “We are able to play six different Kinks songs,” said David Lee Roth. Sounds magazine in 1982. “Because at one point in our bar days I bought a double album from K-Tel or something that had 30 Kinks tracks in it. We learned everything on one side and we played them in the mud during the club concerts, twice a night each, because they sounded so good and they were great for dancing ”.

The one the band decided to record for their debut album and debut single was “You Really Got Me,” perhaps the most famous of all Kinks songs. Thanks to Eddie Van Halen’s virtuoso guitar playing and Roth’s gigantic personality, Van Halen’s version of the song became a staple in their repertoire and one of the band’s earliest hits, reaching the top 40 on the Hot 100 display panel.

By the time the band hit 1982 Down diver, Van Halen were completely fried. Over half a decade of nonstop recordings, tours and promotions meant the band depended on covers and instrumentals to complete the new album. It didn’t matter: Van Halen was too big to fail, and even a minor album like Down diver sold millions of copies when it was released.

“When we got out of the Fair warning tour last year [1981], we were going to take a break and spend a lot of time writing this and that, ”said Eddie Guitarist in 1982. “Dave had the idea of, ‘Hey, why don’t we start the new year by just releasing a single? He wanted to do ‘Dancing in the Streets’. He gave me the original Martha Reeves & the Vandellas tape, and I listened to it and I said, “I can’t understand anything with this song.” I couldn’t figure out a riff, and you know how I like to play: I always like to do a riff, as opposed to just hitting barre chords and strumming. So I said, ‘Look, if you wanna do a cover, why don’t you do’ Pretty Woman ‘? It took a day.

Roy Orbison’s cover of “Pretty Woman” was indeed a success, reaching number 12 on the Hot 100 display panel. Instead of spending time writing new tracks, the band returned to the studio and recorded a number of other covers, including “Where Have All the Good Times Gone” by The Kinks. The Kink Kontroversy album. Van Halen admitted that “the solo was more sounds than lines. I ran the edge of my pickup up and down the strings for some of these effects. I think I used my Echoplex in this song.

The band decided to take a real break after Diver down, with a year and a half devoted to writing and recording the group’s peak commercial, 1984. This album featured some of the band’s greatest hits, including number one record “Jump” and classics like “Panama” and “Hot for Teacher”. More importantly, the album did not feature any covers, a trend that continued for all subsequent Van Halen records.


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