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  1. #1
    On Fire Van Heineken's Avatar
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    09.17.10 @ 12:12 PM
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    Default Is 1984 Van Halen's Who's Next masterpiece?

    I was watching the Who's Next episode of the Classic Albums documentary series this morning and was surprised to hear Daltrey saying that he never liked it when the synthesizer was featured as a lead instrument in the Who when they had what he considered to be one of the best guitarists in the world in the band. Sounded a helluva lot like the same stick Eddie said he got from Dave about the fans not wanting to see their guitar hero playing keyboards.

    Funny in hindsight that both Daltrey and DLR were so limited in their vision, but it also struck me watching the program how may similarities there are between the Who & VH, Townshend and EVH, Who's Next and 1984, etc.

    You could very much argue that much as Townshend's revolutionary synth work led to the Who's zenith (Won't Get Fooled Again and Baba O'Reilly) and a broader soundscape to follow (Quadrophenia, Eminence Front, Empty Glass, etc.), it was a similar path for VH with Jump giving the band their first #1 single and paving the way for more keyboard work to come (Dreams, Right Now, Not Enough, etc.).

    Ed always says Clapton/Cream were his biggest influences, but watching this documentary, I think VH has a helluva more in common with the Who particularly Townshend and VH. Both incredible songwriters, guitar heroes, showmen, sometime alcoholics and both inclined to play way too loud!!! Pete and Ed both have love/hate relationships with their singers, so they certainly share that in common too.

    Of all the greats that preceeded them (Who, Stones, Zep, etc.), I think VH is more like The Who than the others.
    “Bring on a brand new Renaissance...cos I think I'm ready."

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    It's not the best music I've ever heard; but it's sure as fuck the best porno music I've ever heard!

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  2. #2
    Atomic Punk Van Squalen's Avatar
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    I don't. The Who never sold out to pop influence. Daltrey never penned a chunka cheese like Jump, and The Who's synth was never as electric boogaloo as Van Halen's synth. I hear far more of Bonham and Page, Ray and Dave Davies, Sir Clapton and Kenny Baker, as well as a large smattering of mid to late seventies Top 40 radio pop, in Van Halen's early works than I do Daltrey/Townshend.

    To compare Who's Next to 1984 is kinda like comparing Fair Warning to Bon Jovi's Slippery When Wet.

    Just not in the same league.
    Last edited by Van Squalen; 08.24.08 at 10:31 AM.

  3. #3
    Top Of The World dr.bullet's Avatar
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    Default

    definitely, you can compare the two.

  4. #4
    Eruption nicholas_kudochop's Avatar
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    08.08.17 @ 07:08 PM
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    Quote Originally Posted by Van Squalen View Post
    I hear far more of Bonham and Page, Ray and Dave Davies, Sir Clapton and Kenny Baker
    See..personally, I just don't hear much Clapton in Halen's playing. I can understand that EVH really admired Clapton..but as far as it influencing him, and coming through his music? I just don't hear it.

  5. #5
    Atomic Punk Van Squalen's Avatar
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    I hear no Townshend in Van Halen whatsoever.

  6. #6
    Hang 'Em High Reckless Fable's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Van Squalen View Post
    I don't. The Who never sold out to pop influence. Daltrey never penned a chunka cheese like Jump, and The Who's synth was never as electric boogaloo as Van Halen's synth. I hear far more of Bonham and Page, Ray and Dave Davies, Sir Clapton and Kenny Baker, as well as a large smattering of mid to late seventies Top 40 radio pop, in Van Halen's early works than I do Daltrey/Townshend.

    To compare Who's Next to 1984 is kinda like comparing Fair Warning to Bon Jovi's Slippery When Wet.

    Just not in the same league.
    I don't think that is what Van Heineken was arguing. You are comparing the results versus the causes or philosophical approach of writing music and choosing what form to make a particular sound. Of course, for the reasons that you mentioned above, the results of the music VH and The Who eventually created were definitely distinctive and different, but VHkn was just saying the similarities of the eccentric guitar players' idea to introduce keyboards within each of their bands, led to some very similar protestations from each of the respective lead singers.

    While the songs themselves that were written with these similar approaches do sound very different, the common ground was that they all reached across to a broader audience that wouldn't have been there had they not gone that route in writing their music. The particular values you may ascribe to each of those songs (i.e. VH making cheese and the Who not so cheesy) is your own. I think the facts and parallels that Van Heineken compared were quite convincing.

    As an aside, in my own value based opinion around keyboards, I think VH was more a victim of the era in which they released their keyboard tunes--I think Ed writes well on the piano, but in the 1984 - 1988, the synth was all over the place and no one really knew how dated it would sound just 10 years later. Dave was always the cheesy lyrics guy, but that is what makes VH, VH. It is hard to compare Daultry's keyboard-song lyrics to Roth's without comparing the entire work of each one.

    Also, rock music swung back pretty hard in the 90's back towards crunchy guitars, more closely tied to the 70's and away from over processed electronics (NIN notwithstanding) of the 80's.

    I may be in the extreme minority of fans who find Fair Warning to be VH's best work, but I still like Jump. It is a pretty catchy tune and I love the chord changes in the bridge part a lot. It is kind of cheesy, but so what. It makes me smile and puts me in a better mood every time I hear it.

  7. #7
    Eruption
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    09.16.17 @ 05:43 PM
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    I'd say Van Halen 1 was more of a masterpiece than 1984.

  8. #8
    Atomic Punk Van Squalen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Reckless Fable View Post
    I don't think that is what Van Heineken was arguing. You are comparing the results versus the causes or philosophical approach of writing music and choosing what form to make a particular sound. Of course, for the reasons that you mentioned above, the results of the music VH and The Who eventually created were definitely distinctive and different, but VHkn was just saying the similarities of the eccentric guitar players' idea to introduce keyboards within each of their bands, led to some very similar protestations from each of the respective lead singers.
    LOL. Yeah. Both bands had boozing guitarists and added synth to their later work. I'm not sure that makes the Who more kin to VH than Zep or Creem or KC and the Sunshine Band for that matter. Jones did some amazing keyboard work with Zeppelin's latter day offerings (i.e., Trampled Under Foot, Thank You), and Page wasn't exactly unknown for his excesses.

    But if the rudimentary comparision was simply because Daltrey balked like Roth did at the addition of keys, then, sure, VH is just like the Who. My bad at overanalyzing the simplicity of it all.

    Though Dave didn't mind the keywork for Cradle or DITS, did he.

  9. #9
    Hang 'Em High Reckless Fable's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Van Squalen View Post

    Though Dave didn't mind the keywork for Cradle or DITS, did he.
    That he did not. Funny, although both Cradle and DITS involve keyboards, can you find to more polar opposites in the VH catalog?

  10. #10
    Atomic Punk Van Squalen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Reckless Fable View Post
    That he did not. Funny, although both Cradle and DITS involve keyboards, can you find to more polar opposites in the VH catalog?
    Still find it odd that Cradle was far and away the best track of the night, by a country mile, at each of the '07 shows I attended.

    DITS is a ridiculous song. But, no offense, so is Jump.

    VH had no business recording either one of those.

    By the same token, Dave had no business recording Just Like Paradise, Sam has no excuse for Dick in the Dirt, and Ed has no grounds for Catherine.

  11. #11
    Atomic Punk
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    Quote Originally Posted by Van Squalen View Post
    Sam has no excuse for Dick in the Dirt
    What?!

    ....he jumped up, and then she kissed him where it hurt...

    Dick in the Dirt is outta sight.

    Damn dude.
    Utilize. Improvise. Adapt. Overcome.

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  12. #12
    Atomic Punk Van Squalen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hagarfn View Post
    What?!

    ....he jumped up, and then she kissed him where it hurt...

    Dick in the Dirt is outta sight.

    Damn dude.
    Dude. Come on.

  13. #13
    Forum Frontman
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    Quote Originally Posted by Van Squalen View Post
    I hear no Townshend in Van Halen whatsoever.
    Really? I've had two students recently who really wanted to learn songs from The Who. Since I'd never worked on Townshend parts all that deep I told them we should really get into the songs and into his head. As I transcribed them I found myself really taken aback by how similar EVH's and Townshend's rhythm playing and writing is; I'd never made note of it before. Both don't necessarily feel inclined to repeat their parts exactly from one verse to the next, one chorus to the next, etc. They're also both amazing at working with what otherwise seems like chaotic drums parts, but through the craziness they're actually working together quite well.

    Like I said, I was surprised to discover so many similarities.

  14. #14
    Forum Frontman Double Down's Avatar
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    11.17.17 @ 12:11 PM
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    Quote Originally Posted by Reckless Fable View Post
    I don't think that is what Van Heineken was arguing. You are comparing the results versus the causes or philosophical approach of writing music and choosing what form to make a particular sound. Of course, for the reasons that you mentioned above, the results of the music VH and The Who eventually created were definitely distinctive and different, but VHkn was just saying the similarities of the eccentric guitar players' idea to introduce keyboards within each of their bands, led to some very similar protestations from each of the respective lead singers.

    While the songs themselves that were written with these similar approaches do sound very different, the common ground was that they all reached across to a broader audience that wouldn't have been there had they not gone that route in writing their music. The particular values you may ascribe to each of those songs (i.e. VH making cheese and the Who not so cheesy) is your own. I think the facts and parallels that Van Heineken compared were quite convincing.

    As an aside, in my own value based opinion around keyboards, I think VH was more a victim of the era in which they released their keyboard tunes--I think Ed writes well on the piano, but in the 1984 - 1988, the synth was all over the place and no one really knew how dated it would sound just 10 years later. Dave was always the cheesy lyrics guy, but that is what makes VH, VH. It is hard to compare Daultry's keyboard-song lyrics to Roth's without comparing the entire work of each one.

    Also, rock music swung back pretty hard in the 90's back towards crunchy guitars, more closely tied to the 70's and away from over processed electronics (NIN notwithstanding) of the 80's.

    I may be in the extreme minority of fans who find Fair Warning to be VH's best work, but I still like Jump. It is a pretty catchy tune and I love the chord changes in the bridge part a lot. It is kind of cheesy, but so what. It makes me smile and puts me in a better mood every time I hear it.
    Great post, dude.

    And I agree about Jump. It just gets killed around here but I couldn't disagree more with the heavy negative sentiment it gets. You put it perfectly, it puts me in a better mood every time. The song was fucking huge, the solo is vintage Eddie, the video dominated MTV airplay and it really showed how fucking cool these guys were, and it thrust VH to the forefront of the music world. I could care less about the keyboards and it blows my mind how offended people are by it. I just thank god we had no internet back then because I would never have been able to deal with the bullshit debates about it.


    Twenty four years later and I'll still turn up the volume when it comes on the radio because it reminds me of the year 1984 and I fucking loved that year.
    .
    .
    .
    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.

  15. #15
    Little Dreamer rx7dude's Avatar
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    07.22.15 @ 09:24 AM
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    I don't know about 84 and Who's Next but I always thought Van Hagar was influenced by The Who.

 

 

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