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Women & Children First

4.4 out of 5 stars 158 customer reviews

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Vinyl, December 14, 2010
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Editorial Reviews

180-gram pressing. Van Halen flexed their artistic muscles for this 1980 album, which once again relied on the vocals of David Lee Roth and guitar playing of Eddie Van Halen. The LP went to #6 in the Billboard charts and served up songs that are among the band's greatest tracks "And The Cradle Will Rock", "Everybody Wants Some" and "Could This Be Magic?".

Product Details

  • Vinyl (December 14, 2010)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Rhino
  • ASIN: B0046YK4NE
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (158 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #181,325 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
1980 saw the release of Van Halen's "Women and Children First," their third album in a chain of classic releases spanning the late 70s into the early 80s. "Women and Children First" is probably the bands' most under-appreciated album. This is due to the fact that it's in the middle of a chain of classic releases like "Van Halen," "Van Halen II" and "1984." Yet it hasn't quite received the cult status of "Fair Warning" or the sales of "Diver Down."

Although "Van Halen II" (1979) is a classic album, it's slightly underwhelming when compared to the magnificent self-titled debut (1978). It's the classic case of the "sophomore slump," when a band that has been playing clubs for years uses up all its best material on the debut, and then has to use what's left over for the follow-up (although what was "left over" was still pretty good!). For "Woman and Children First," the band recorded a whole new batch of songs that sounded fresh, and less like leftovers.

It goes without saying that Van Halen was at their prime during the Roth years (1978-1985). The debut album and the follow-up see Van Halen young, fast and furious. This was also the case by the time Van Halen released "Women and Children First," but the band also sounds a little more loose, more relaxed, but without losing any of the fire or passion that made them so great. Eddie's playing, which goes without saying, sounds terrific. Every song on "Women and Children First" has one, or two killer, killer solos. Bassist Michael Anthony and drummer Alex Van Halen provide a stellar rhythm section and David Lee Roth shines as only he can. There has never been, nor will there ever be, in the history of rock n' roll, a singer that has the charisma, charm, showmanship and ironic wit of David Lee Roth.
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Format: Audio CD
Yes, albums get remastered all the time - and more often than not, the "new improved remaster" is not drastically or noticeably different from the previous CD issue. Not here folks, the DLR-era Van Halen remasters are nearly revolutionary. It's like listening to these albums with new ears, really - the drums are deep and tight, the bass is full and round, Eddie's guitar is in your face and David Lee Roth is breathing down your neck. Women and Children First is usually the album I'd pick on any given day as my favorite - it shows the band at it's most diverse. It's got loads of those dark chord progressions that they were the kings of (until whatever happened to them that made them turn into radio-friendly unit-shifters), some of Roth's best lyrics, and it's even got the late great Nicolette Larson singing uncredited background vocals on "Could This Be Magic" (probably a return favor for Eddie playing uncredited guitar on "Can't Get Away From You" on her 'Nicolette' album). At the time, there was no other band like Van Halen - they were path blazers and true bundles of rock and roll energy bursting with creativity and great SONGS that didn't pander to pop radio. So, if you're like me and were wondering if these new HDCD remasters are worth buying these CDs once again, I assure you - your ears will be amazed at what a great job was done. Oh yeah - you also get that poster shot of David Lee Roth chained up to the fence that originally came with the LP restored in the insert booklet which was proof that all the girls that had that poster up on their walls in the summer of 1980 wanted some too.
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Format: Audio CD
Women And Children First is one of Van Halen's best albums, even if it isn't among their biggest sellers. This is clearly David Lee Roth's album with his charisma dominating every track. They certainly could not make an album this fun with Sammy Hagar or Gary Cherone. This is Van Halen at their most laid back.
Although the tracks here are longer than on their first two albums, the album never ceases to sound like a party. The most straight-forward track is the opener "And The Cradle Will Rock..." which still sounds pretty loose when compared to later albums with Roth like Fair Warning and 1984. Tracks such as "Everybody Wants Some", "Fools", and "Romeo Delight" are all very strong riff-rockers which sound like they were made for the concert stage. The hyperactive "Loss Of Control" leads to the more laid back classic rocker "Take Your Whiskey Home", the strongest track here. The acoustic "Could This Be Magic?" is very catchy with the band sounding a little tipsy during the chorus. "In A Simple Rhyme" closes the album with a bang, another underrated classic. This album is best enjoyed in its entirety as each track blends into the next flawlessly. After this album, Eddie Van Halen exerted more control over the band's direction. This lead the band to its greatest success but losing the looseness and innocence that made them special. Fans who only have the albums with Hagar or those having just the most popular albums like Van Halen or 1984 should definitely check this out.
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By A Customer on September 14, 1999
Format: Audio CD
This VH CD is the first where the band sounds like a band and not merely 3 guys backing up Eddie's pyrotechnics. That's not to say Eddie's fretwork isn't outstanding, it is but his playing really supports and fleshes out the songs instead of the songs merely being showcases for his playing. I don't think the band has ever rocked harder/better. From the opening roar of "...And the Will Rock" to the closing 10 seconds of the album that may have inspired the entire thrash metal genre, this CD comes on like a sledghammer in heat. Every song has the band working as a tight unit, particularly Fools and Romeo's Delight. VH proves they can still rock with a sense of humor (Everybody Wants Some!, Take Your Whiskey Home). This album is probably also the band's most varied without being downright weird like Diver Down. Tora! Tora! Tora!/Loss of Control is a sonic freakout. Could This Be Magic is VH's "Bron 'Y' Aur Stomp", an acoustic shuffle that is a nice counterpoint to the rest of the album's heaviness. My only complaint is that the CD clocks in at a very brief 34 minutes. C'mon Ed, how about a boxed set of complete remastered Roth-era recordings!?
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