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Best of Both Worlds

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The Best Of Both Worlds
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Audio CD, July 20, 2004
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Best of Both Worlds + Van Halen: 5150
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Van Halen rocketed to stardom with their raucous, 10X-platinum-plus 1978 self-titled album, one of the greatest debuts ever. Anchored by Eddie Van Halen s guitar wizardry & David Lee Roth's vocal showmanship, the band's dynamic sound reinvented hard rock. A run of multi-platinum Top 10 discs followed, peaking with 1984, another 10X-platinum blockbuster & Roth's swan song. Sammy Hagar replaced the vocalist, a transition that cost the band no momentum. The Red Rocker's VH debut, 1986's 5150 , hit #1 on The Billboard 200, as did 1988's OU812. The Grammy-winning 1991 release, For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge, reached #5. This new compilation spotlights Van Halen's always-stellar musicianship over the course of 25 years & two world-class frontmen, & continues the story with three brand new Hagar-fronted tracks!

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One shouldn't have too much difficulty imagining a two-disc Van Halen compilation entitled The Best of Both Worlds. The first disc will showcase the David Lee Roth-fronted version of the band that reenergized hard rock with its titanic 1978 debut and peaked commercially with 1984's, uh, 1984. Disc two will take up where David Lee was left off--from 1986 on, when Sammy Hagar (and, briefly, Hagar-sound-alike Gary Cherone) took over the mike. Well, unfortunately, that's not the anthology assembled this time out. Rather than sequence the selections chronologically and, in the process, display the band's evolution (or devolution, depending on where one stands in the great Roth/Hagar debate), the band has opted for a more eccentric sequencing strategy. After the opener "Eruption" confirms the sass and chops of the young VH, three fairly uninspired new tracks featuring a back-in-the-fold (for now?) Hagar interrupt the flow. Unfortunately, the flow never really recovers, as Roth and Hagar tracks leapfrog one another through the next 29 selections. Three live Hagar takes on songs from the Roth era finish things off in confusing fashion. Obviously, there's plenty of powerful music here, but do fans really need a lesson in what happens when worlds collide? And didn't David Lee earn at least one photo in the package? --Steven Stolder


Disc: 1
1. Eruption - Van Halen
2. It's About Time
3. Up For Breakfast
4. Learning To See
5. Ain't Talkin' 'Bout Love
6. Finish What Ya Started
7. You Really Got Me
8. Dreams
9. Hot For Teacher
10. Poundcake
See all 19 tracks on this disc
Disc: 2
1. Panama
2. Best Of Both Worlds
3. Jamie's Cryin'
4. Runaround
5. I'll Wait
6. Why Can't This Be Love
7. Runnin' With The Devil
8. When It's Love
9. Dancing In The Street
10. Not Enough - Van Halen
See all 17 tracks on this disc

Product Details

  • Audio CD (July 20, 2004)
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Label: Warner Bros.
  • ASIN: B000286S8S
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (391 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,449 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

65 of 77 people found the following review helpful By Louie Bourland on July 20, 2004
Format: Audio CD
Van Halen is not only back with its first concert tour in over six years but with a brand new 'best of' compilation entitled "The Best Of Both Worlds". This double-disc set is nearly packed to its limits covering the band's two classic eras (1978-1985 with singer David Lee Roth and 1986-1996 with Sammy Hagar). In addition to the remastered tracks, the set includes three brand new songs with the return of Sammy Hagar. "It's About Time", "Up For Breakfast" and "Learning To See" capture a revitalized Van Halen full of fresh new ideas and a style that harkens back to its classic release "5150" (Hagar's first album with Van Halen).
As for the previously released material, it is a more comprehensive overview of the band's hits than what appeared on the 1996 "Best Of Volume 1" compilation. Sure, many of the tracks that appeared on the previous compilation are duplicated here but in addition, there is the VH classics "Hot For Teacher", "Jamie's Cryin'", "Top Of The World", "Pretty Woman", "You Really Got Me" and "Runaround" (plus many others).
Like every "Best of" collection that passes our way, there's always a downside. In the case of Van Halen's "Best Of Both Worlds", there are a few. First, the three live tracks which close the compilation feel completely out of place with the rest of the tracks. Also, the live material (which is three Roth-era tunes sung by Hagar from the band's 1993 live release "Live, Right Here, Right Now") is already presented elsewhere on the compilation in their superior studio versions. Secondly, the band's 1981 "Fair Warning" album is represented soley by the track "Unchained".
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27 of 31 people found the following review helpful By kevin m antonio on July 20, 2004
Format: Audio CD
Boy, all you folks who bought 'The Best of Van Halen' must be steamed! 'Cause this renders that disc superflous.
Now my (minor) gripes....
1). No chronological order! I thought it was gonna be like ZZ Top's recent 2 disc best of, start at the beginning and go forward. A disc of Dave and then of Sammy woulda been great, but what the hey. I guess this is how VH wanted it...
BUT... it works against them. The sequencing really plays up how much better a songwriter, singer, and performer Dave was. Nothing against Sammy, but his songs fall into 3 categories 1)I'm horny 2)She's gonna give me everything tonite 3)Prom themes ("Dreams", "Right Now"). Whereas Dave wrote stuff like "Jamie's Crying", "And the Cradle Will Rock", "Jump". The man was versatile. Plus he provides us with one of the greatest moments in rock at the end of "Beautiful Girls". Mr. Stud gets shot down: "Hey what's your name?... Hey! Where ya going?!?" BUT, he laughs at himself and shrugs it off ("I love 'em! I need 'em!"). And how many hard rockin' front men are confident enough to pull off something like that?
Plus I think Dave really challenged the band with his songs; just listen to the diversity of the arrangements (especailly with something like "Ice Cream Man" or "Could This Be Magic". Yeah, neither one's on this set, but do you think Sammy could thunk them up?).
2). Three live tracks?!? Yuck. I'da put in "Ice Cream Man", "Could This Be Magic" and "Humans Being". But I guess this is Warner's way of making us still have to buy the individual albums... or download or something... Sammy's diatribe during "Panama" is just embarrassing.
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40 of 48 people found the following review helpful By Mike London on October 4, 2007
Format: Audio CD
BEST OF BOTH WORLDS, while showcasing some undeniably powerful music, becomes, in the end, a mean spirited, classless greatest hits collection, meant at elevating Hagar over Roth every chance it gets. This anthology leaves the fans little doubt that the 1996 debacle of the Hagar firing/resignation (depending on who tells the story) and rehiring of Roth (and then immediate firing) rests solely on the head of Eddie Van Halen.

There's always fierce debate over two incarnations of Van Halen. Personally, I do not align myself exclusively with either camp, as I am a fan of the band's music made with both frontmen, though I do see the advantages and disadvantages of each.

When Roth fronted them from their commercial breakout in 1978 to the Van Roth's demise in 1985, Van Halen was known for wildly inventive guitar from Eddie, over-the-top vocals and theatrics from Roth, and killer live shows. Roth was the prototypical rock frontman: a larger than life caricature who embodied all the fratboy tendencies of the party-hearty rock and roll lifestyle. The genius of David Lee Roth as the prototypical rock and roll front man is his larger-than-life personae, his gonzo rock antics, and his wild, crazy partycentric lifestyle. Much of the appeal of Van Halen was this larger-than-life frontman.

Roth decided to pursue his own (aptly insubstantial) solo career, and Van Halen brought in Sammy Hagar, frontman to the heavy metal outfit Montrose. When Hagar replaced Roth, there was, naturally, no way for him to replace Roth as the front man without an image modification for the band. While Roth was almost a caricature of himself, a party-hearty animal, Sammy Hagar brought a much more down to earth approach to the whole rock front-man scene.
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