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!
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