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  1. #1
    Good Enough darthadv's Avatar
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    Default The Meaning Behind the Album Titles and Covers

    I tried searching the threads, but only one of them partially addresses my question. I would like to see if we can come up with a definitive list of what thinking (or lack there of) went into the naming of an album or the selection of its cover art. I'm sure some of you guys will have a lot better info than I do, so please share; I've put together what I could find (several from wikipedia).

    Van Halen - self-titled and just shots of the band members, so nothing too scientific here

    Van Halen II - "II" for it being the second album, used by other bands as well, but the cover art is just the logo updated from the first album

    Women and Children First - part of a line of the song "Could This Be Magic?", the album has a posed shot of the band framed in a green border

    Fair Warning - cover art from a painting ("The Maze" - 1953) by William Kurelek; not sure about why this painting was chosen or about the meaning of the album name - is it because the band were on the outs and they were giving their fans a "fair warning" of what the material would be like (i.e., darker, etc.)?

    Diver Down - from wiki: "The album cover displays the "diver down" flag used in maritime signaling to indicate a diver is currently submerged in the area, and caution is advised to nearby boats. Asked about the cover in a 1982 interview with Sylvie Simmons (Sounds, June 23, 1982), David Lee Roth said it was meant to imply that "there was something going on that's not apparent to your eyes. You put up the red flag with the white slash. Well, a lot of people approach Van Halen as sort of the abyss. It means, its not immediately apparent to your eyes what is going on underneath the surface.""

    1984/MCMLXXXIV - a reference to George Orwell's novel?; any idea where the smoking baby angel idea come from?

    5150 - the name of ed's studio and a reference to "a California police term for a mentally disturbed person (a reference to Section 5150 of the California Welfare and Institutions Code)" (from wiki); the cover is a play reference to the Greek god Atlas who supposedly held the Earth from falling into oblivion as punishment for some sin he committed

    OU812 - a joke response to "Eat 'Em and Smile;" the cover is just black and white head shots of the band; one question I've always had - why is the track listing on the back arranged alphabetically rather than in order of appearance on the record?

    For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge - from wiki: "The album's title came from lead singer Sammy Hagar, who wanted to push the issue of censorship with naming Van Halen's album with a vulgarity, "That's when censorship was a big issue. I wanted to name the album just Fuck." Hagar eventually backed away from the outright vulgarity after he was (mis)informed by his friend, boxer Ray "Boom Boom" Mancini, that the word "fuck" was an acronym for the phrase "For unlawful carnal knowledge.""

    Balance - a good explanation can be found for both the album cover and name here:
    http://www.vhlinks.com/vbforums/showthread.php?t=560
    "Alex Van Halen wanted to explore the notion of Balance questioning and reflecting the duality and contradictions of human experience."
    The Japanese version of the cover does not have the conjoined twins photo, but a picture of a single child; I remember reading somewhere that it was considered too provocative or disturbing a picture for the Japanese buying public.

    Van Halen III - "III" for the third version of VH; not sure where the man being fired at by a cannon came from.


  2. #2
    Eruption Railrunner130's Avatar
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    Default

    I believe that Alex was traditionally in charge of the album artwork.

    I remember an interview with Sammy about the origins of OU812. He mentioned it was a reference to someone (most likely Mike) coming back from lunch after either a really hot or not-so-good meal. Sammy, not feeling so great either, took one look at Mike and said "Oh, you ate one too."

  3. #3
    Atomic Punk ziggysmalls's Avatar
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    When I first heard of Diver Down, I thought of muff diving. Not sure if that had anything to do with it. In Ohio, scuba diving is not really popular but snacking on carpet is.

  4. #4
    Good Enough darthadv's Avatar
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    after listening to the album this morning, i noticed that dave mutters something about "fair warning" at the end of "mean streets"...

  5. #5
    Eruption
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    Quote Originally Posted by darthadv View Post
    after listening to the album this morning, i noticed that dave mutters something about "fair warning" at the end of "mean streets"...
    "... and someone said Fair Warning. Lord, strike that poor boy down!"

  6. #6
    Eruption Dr5115's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Railrunner130 View Post
    I believe that Alex was traditionally in charge of the album artwork.

    I remember an interview with Sammy about the origins of OU812. He mentioned it was a reference to someone (most likely Mike) coming back from lunch after either a really hot or not-so-good meal. Sammy, not feeling so great either, took one look at Mike and said "Oh, you ate one too."
    Yeah, I remember hearing that on a radio interview at one time

  7. #7
    Good Enough darthadv's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dr5115 View Post
    Yeah, I remember hearing that on a radio interview at one time
    i guess they've changed their story on OU812 at least once... maybe they didn't want to acknowledge dlr back in the day... i could almost swear that i've read somewhere (don't remember where) that it was a tongue-in-cheek response to "eat 'em smile"... could be just coincidence, though...

  8. #8
    Baluchitherium Rovus's Avatar
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    I recall with the first album, Ed said that the studio tried to push the cover art should depict the band as a punk band or something like that, hence the trend of the time.

    I think Dave said that he chose the artwork for 1984/MCMLXXXIV.

    Alex, I do know, chose the artwork for Van Halen III.

    Also, when you watch the movie Jaws The Revenge, you'll notice the "diver down" flag on the scuba diving port and whatever you call it.
    Bobby Cohn: Who's going to be at Waynestock?
    Wayne Campbell: Um, uh...Aerosmith & Pearl Jam!
    Garth Algar: Ha ha ha ha ho!
    Bobby: Who else?
    Garth: Uh, me...and...and Wayne...
    Wayne: ...and uh...VAN HALEN!!!
    Garth: Wow. Van Halen. Who else?
    Bobby: Yeah, who else?
    Wayne: Uh, an old man fashioning a kayak out of a log?

    - Wayne's World 2

    "God gave men both a penis and a brain, but unfortunately not enough blood supply to run both at the same time." - Robin Williams

    "Continuous effort - not strength or intelligence - is the key to unlocking our potential." - Winston Churchill

  9. #9
    Forum Frontman Double Down's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by darthadv View Post
    i could almost swear that i've read somewhere (don't remember where) that it was a tongue-in-cheek response to "eat 'em smile"... could be just coincidence, though...
    That's what I believe. My guess is that OU812 is a play on words to Eat Em And Smile.
    .
    .
    .
    VH with Dave ('78-'84) - The best years....the "real" VH.
    VH with Sam ('86-'96) - Incredible era....."We have renamed this town 'New Halen!'.
    VH with Gary ('98) - Fucking disaster. WTF was that??
    VH with Wolf/Dave ('12-'15) - Amazing comeback. Smokin' album and tours.

  10. #10
    Good Enough Dont disturb my Paradise's Avatar
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    11.23.17 @ 09:42 PM
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    OU812 is always a mystrey title. You gotta go back to an album by Lowell George called "Thanks I'll eat it here", it was from 1978, he was is Little Feat. I'm not saying its a referance at all, but its kinda funny that a Lowel George cover is on OU812 called "A Apolotical blues:". It could be a tongue in cheek referance to Lowell and the album I mentioned......
    Then again it could be directed at Daves "Eat em and smile"
    Just a observation.
    What is understood need not be discussed

    "Dont disturb my paradise. I've asked you once. I've asked you nice" - "SERIOUS JU JU"

    "I am in a blissful state. Dont bug me!!!" - Richard Dreyfuss "The Goodbye girl" 1977

  11. #11
    Eruption
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    Quote Originally Posted by ziggysmalls View Post
    When I first heard of Diver Down, I thought of muff diving. Not sure if that had anything to do with it. In Ohio, scuba diving is not really popular but snacking on carpet is.
    I thought the same thing...and I'm sure Dave did as well. BTW, everytime I see a car with a "diver down" flag license plate, I think of Van Halen, so maybe they were trying to be a little subliminal with the album art.

    As for OU812 (Oh, you ate one too), I assume it is meant to copy the Meet the Beatles album cover.
    Last edited by VHisback; 02.15.07 at 09:03 AM.

  12. #12
    Eruption
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dont disturb my Paradise View Post
    OU812 is always a mystrey title. You gotta go back to an album by Lowell George called "Thanks I'll eat it here", it was from 1978, he was is Little Feat. I'm not saying its a referance at all, but its kinda funny that a Lowel George cover is on OU812 called "A Apolotical blues:". It could be a tongue in cheek referance to Lowell and the album I mentioned......
    Then again it could be directed at Daves "Eat em and smile"
    Just a observation.
    I think all the Hagar-era albums' naming was directed (at least partially) towards Dave.

    Dave release Crazy From the Heat, Van Halen releases 5150 (police code for the criminally insane)

    Dave releases Eat 'em and Smile, VH releases OU812

    Dave releases Your Filthy Little Mouth, VH releases F.U.C.K.

    Coincidence? I think not.

  13. #13
    Romeo Delight
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    Quote Originally Posted by VHisback View Post
    I think all the Hagar-era albums' naming was directed (at least partially) towards Dave.

    Dave release Crazy From the Heat, Van Halen releases 5150 (police code for the criminally insane)

    Dave releases Eat 'em and Smile, VH releases OU812

    Dave releases Your Filthy Little Mouth, VH releases F.U.C.K.

    Coincidence? I think not.
    There's a problem with this theory. Your Filthy Little Mouth came out several years after FUCK.

  14. #14
    Atomic Punk LLFHS's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by darthadv View Post
    OU812 - a joke response to "Eat 'Em and Smile;" the cover is just black and white head shots of the band;
    LowLifeFlatHeadScum

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  15. #15
    Atomic Punk LLFHS's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by VHisback View Post
    I think all the Hagar-era albums' naming was directed (at least partially) towards Dave.

    Dave release Crazy From the Heat, Van Halen releases 5150 (police code for the criminally insane)

    Dave releases Eat 'em and Smile, VH releases OU812

    Dave releases Your Filthy Little Mouth, VH releases F.U.C.K.

    Coincidence? I think not.
    Both Van Halen and DLR had secretaries working for them named Lincoln.






    LowLifeFlatHeadScum

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