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  1. #1
    Baluchitherium
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    Favorite VH Album

    VH, WACF, FW, 5150, OU812
    Favorite VH Song

    Dreams/Unchained/InASR/5150
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    11.25.17 @ 04:30 AM
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    Default Rhinofy - 5150 [Bob Lefsetz's blog]

    I know, I know, we're supposed to like David Lee Roth Van Halen better, and I do, but...

    That does not mean that Sammy's version of the band was no good...

    So Dave thinks he's a star, a veritable one man band, covering classics and promoting them with extravaganzas on the breakout MTV. And then...

    Word comes down that the Van Halens have hooked up with Sammy Hagar. Who they famously met through their exotic car mechanic, back when musicians were rich, before everybody found out the money was in tech and players invested in startups instead of iron.

    And I'm a Sammy fan. Probably because of Montrose, but even more the Capitol years, with Carter...do you know the second solo, which started off with "Red," but had the hilarious "The Pits" on side two? I bought it, I became a fan.

    But then...

    John Kalodner recognizes Sammy's greatness, signs him to Geffen and he starts having hits. The debut had two, "There's Only One Way To Rock" and..."I'll Fall In Love Again"! Produced by Keith Olsen, I won't say you hear the Fleetwood Mac influence, but there's a melody, a subtlety, sonic extras that were absent previously.

    And then, on the follow-up, there's another one of these melodic smashes, "Your Love Is Driving Me Crazy"...

    And then comes the apotheosis, the ubiquitous "I Can't Drive 55."

    The track was great, it's just that Sammy looked like such a doofus in the video, wearing the one piece yellow outfit. Huh? I thought the guy was a heartland rocker. But now Sammy inhabited a place somewhere between Fontana and Hollywood...a no man's land. I mean it was a great track, but did you have to chew the scenery?

    That's MTV... Everybody knows your name overnight, and then everybody looks at each other and says...eewww!

    Now Eddie Van Halen's trajectory was just the opposite. Seen as a Starwood/Gazzarri's metalhead in new wave crazy L.A., with every album the cognoscenti shifted its opinion, suddenly Eddie was seen as possibly the world's best guitarist, certainly the most innovative player with any traction. But he had no lead singer, his was a band without a frontman.

    So you match the credible with the cartoon and..?

    Sammy tones down his act. Retires the clothes and becomes about the music. Although it takes the better part of two years to hear the result. And when "Why Can't This Be Love" hit the airwaves...at first you weren't sure, but almost immediately thereafter you couldn't hear it enough.

    It was Eddie's playing, the sound. From the intro to the breaks, it was an Eddie tour-de-force, with Sammy doing what a frontman should do...SING! Sammy was the anti-Dave, he was a team player, with no antics...and he could hit the notes! Despite being so heavy, there was a certain melody in the track, suddenly Eddie was playing with someone who could sing.

    As Sammy did all over the album.

    The opener was a little atonal, but after experiencing the single, you were gonna give the album a chance. But really, it was the two songs that finished side one that closed you...

    "Dreams"...that's what we all have, and Eddie mastered the keyboard once again, as he did with "Jump," and created something infectious, that just made you feel good.

    But his guitar skills were back in "Summer Nights." It was the perfect melding of Eddie and Sammy. Eddie was wailing and Sammy was singing about the good times. Far different from the Dave days, when the songs had a twist, a deeper meaning, but...you could not deny that unlike Dave, Sammy could sing. Sure, it was a different band, a different thing, but it was bigger than the sum of its parts... Very few Dave-era fans were lost, Sammy's came aboard and a whole bunch of new fans were made, stoked by the ear-friendly music.

    But I wouldn't be writing this if it weren't for the cut that opens side two, my favorite on the album, the absolute highlight of the Sammy era, "Best Of Both Worlds." And Sammy's good, but really it's all about Eddie, the dynamics. From loud to quiet to loud once again, it's positively Zeppelinesque, without being a rip-off. It's a roller coaster, with hills and dives, twists and turns, I can listen to it all day long, it makes me feel so good, powerful, like the rest of the world doesn't matter.

    And "Love Walks In" is a gorgeous ballad, something Dave could never do. And instantaneously the almost impossible is achieved. Yes, Genesis replaced its lead singer, but they were not superstars when they did. Van Halen was at the top, and then they got Sammy and they were BIGGER!

    And from there...

    "OU812" was almost as good.

    But then sophomoric Sammy gained undue influence and despite great sales, the music was less meaningful and more pedestrian. "Poundcake"? Dave would never sing that. Sammy doesn't believe in subtlety, and he continued to pull the rest of the band along with him and then...

    It all expired.

    The Van Halens got together with Gary Cherone, a blatant mistake.

    And then reunited with Dave.

    Then Sammy.

    Then Dave.

    But one thing's for sure, the star is Eddie... Who's got nothing in his life other than music, that was Sammy's bitch with him, that he never wanted to take time off.

    And Eddie was so good, that hooked up with journeyman Sam, he once again made memorable music, he didn't need Dave.

    But Eddie always needs somebody.


    Spotify link: http://spoti.fi/p6HcZ8

    Previous Rhinofy playlists: http://www.rhinofy.com/lefsetz

    "The shit I read on this site." -- Dave's Dreidel (Nov 6th, 2013)

    "Don't ever confuse talent with fame." -- Bob Lefsetz

    "There's very little greatness in this world, but in the crucible of quality there's a special corner reserved for Van Halen." -- Bob Lefsetz

  2. #2
    Atomic Punk Little Dreamer's Avatar
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    12.10.17 @ 04:07 PM
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    Default

    Not a bad review, BUT...

    you cannot review 5150 and not even mention the song "5150." It's definitely part of the VH Top 10, no matter the era.

    I think "Good Enough" and "Get Up" were important because although not VH classics, they establish the band hadn't sold out and could still deliver heavy, fast rock. Without those songs, it would've sounded like VH went commercial.
    Last edited by Little Dreamer; 06.14.13 at 08:48 PM.
    Little Dreamer

  3. #3
    Sinner's Swing! evhintexas's Avatar
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    Fair Warning
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    Push comes to shove
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    12.09.17 @ 03:43 PM
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    Default

    Sam is good and all but Dave is the man !!!
    "The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants."

    “A patriot must always be ready to defend his country against his government.”

  4. #4
    Eruption
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    Secrets
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    11.01.17 @ 03:25 PM
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Little Dreamer View Post
    Not a bad review, BUT...you cannot review 5150 and not even mention the song "5150." It's definitely part of the VH Top 10, no matter the era.
    I agree. That song is easily, hands down the best thing VHS did with Hagar.

    I also kinda disagree with Dave being able to sing Love Walks In. Granted he'd never do it. But at that time, and I stress at that time, I think he could've sang something like that. Listen to Coconut Grove. He could sing ballady if he wanted to. Again, at that time. Not now.
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  5. #5
    Baluchitherium
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    Favorite VH Album

    VH, WACF, FW, 5150, OU812
    Favorite VH Song

    Dreams/Unchained/InASR/5150
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    11.25.17 @ 04:30 AM
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    Default

    Umm...I don't believe this is a review. It's a blog post/snapshot of a time in the past that revolves around Van Halen's 5150. If you want a review, I can post a shit ton of links for you.

    This blog post is excellent because he's showing VH some love and this blog has a serious amount of readers. It's one of the most subscribed-to blogs on the Interwebs. I'm just happy anytime I see VH getting a positive mention somewhere.

    "The shit I read on this site." -- Dave's Dreidel (Nov 6th, 2013)

    "Don't ever confuse talent with fame." -- Bob Lefsetz

    "There's very little greatness in this world, but in the crucible of quality there's a special corner reserved for Van Halen." -- Bob Lefsetz

  6. #6
    Atomic Punk bsbll4's Avatar
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    Favorite VH Album

    Van Halen/ADKOT
    Favorite VH Song

    Hot For Teacher
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    12.11.17 @ 07:30 AM
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    Premium Member

    Default

    Out of all the phrases to describe WCTBL, "so heavy" would probably be last on the list.

    I also don't understand his contention that VH got less meaningful the more time they spent with Sam. The music got more serious and the lyrics more introspective to the point where, in the videos for Balance, no one wanted to smile.
    CNN may think my opinion matters, but you shouldn't.

  7. #7
    Sinner's Swing! Rokgtar's Avatar
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    12.11.17 @ 03:56 AM
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    Default

    This is all fine and good, but I don't get why people think Dave couldn't sing. He may have lost it now, but for the six pack, he was brilliant. And yes, he SANG.

  8. #8
    Atomic Punk CaboChris's Avatar
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    Favorite VH Album

    Fair Warning/5150
    Favorite VH Song

    Unchained/Best of Both Worlds
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    12.09.17 @ 12:23 AM
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rokgtar View Post
    This is all fine and good, but I don't get why people think Dave couldn't sing. He may have lost it now, but for the six pack, he was brilliant. And yes, he SANG.
    Because that's the beauty of being in a studio. You can spend hours splicing and dicing to get a quality take. What was captured for the six pack was a voice that was unique but live sounded like shit. DLR didn't even try at times to be a singer in concert. I remember reading an interview with Paul Rothschild who said what you heard on album from Jim Morrison was the best he could get from him and that it was like pulling teeth to even get that. Its the same with these entertainers that dance the concert away. They're always out of breath and sound like shit. Less entertaining and a little more singing.

  9. #9
    Sinner's Swing! Rokgtar's Avatar
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    12.11.17 @ 03:56 AM
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    I can't argue with that, Cabo. Dave has never been a great live singer. But this dude was critiquing a studio record, and acting like Dave was never up to the task. Sam is a great live singer, no doubt, but I really only care about the recorded work. That is what makes a legacy IMO.

    Giving Sam his due, he has a powerful set of pipes, in the studio or in concert. He's aged well.

    I just hate when people slag Dave for his studio work as if he was not up to the task. He was, and its evident in the product.

    I really do wish Dave was a better singer live... Even in the studio nowadays. Yes, he was out of breath a lot in concert from running around and whatnot in the 80's and plus as noted he didn't seem to want to sing the songs all that well live. But, something happened to the guy's voice in the early 90's and he has lost that great mid range tone and soul he used to have. He still has it down low but God, the high notes don't suit him at all. Cigarettes? Sinus trouble? A collapsed vocal cord? Trying to sing out of his natural range? I don't know.

  10. #10
    Atomic Punk CaboChris's Avatar
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    12.09.17 @ 12:23 AM
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rokgtar View Post
    I just hate when people slag Dave for his studio work as if he was not up to the task. He was, and its evident in the product.
    I agree

    I really do wish Dave was a better singer live... Even in the studio nowadays. Yes, he was out of breath a lot in concert from running around and whatnot in the 80's and plus as noted he didn't seem to want to sing the songs all that well live. But, something happened to the guy's voice in the early 90's and he has lost that great mid range tone and soul he used to have. He still has it down low but God, the high notes don't suit him at all. Cigarettes? Sinus trouble? A collapsed vocal cord? Trying to sing out of his natural range? I don't know.
    I miss what he used to sound like too as I said, his voice was very unorthodox if I could use that word. Young Dave was one of a kind. If he just sang in the low register and concentrated on being the best singer in that range then I think all the criticisms of his voice will go away.

  11. #11
    Atomic Punk I Coulda Hada VH's Avatar
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    12.11.17 @ 07:27 AM
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    >>But he had no lead singer, his was a band without a frontman.<<

    That is one of the dumbest things I've read in a long time.
    "It's so lonely at the top because it's so crowded at the bottom" - Diamond David Lee Roth

    "If at first you don't succeed, then skydiving is not for you"

    "Be careful what you wish for because you just might lose what you already have"

    "Women and Children First ... The REAL Van Halen III"

  12. #12
    Good Enough BlindtotheWorld's Avatar
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    12.11.17 @ 05:45 AM
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    Quote Originally Posted by I Coulda Hada VH View Post
    >>But he had no lead singer, his was a band without a frontman.<<

    That is one of the dumbest things I've read in a long time.
    You realize this is a reference to the time period between Dave leaving and Sammy joining, right? So yes, he had no lead singer.
    "...it's steak and whiskey time in America." - bklynboy68

  13. #13
    Atomic Punk I Coulda Hada VH's Avatar
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    12.11.17 @ 07:27 AM
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    Quote Originally Posted by BlindtotheWorld View Post
    You realize this is a reference to the time period between Dave leaving and Sammy joining, right? So yes, he had no lead singer.
    I do now!
    "It's so lonely at the top because it's so crowded at the bottom" - Diamond David Lee Roth

    "If at first you don't succeed, then skydiving is not for you"

    "Be careful what you wish for because you just might lose what you already have"

    "Women and Children First ... The REAL Van Halen III"

  14. #14
    Atomic Punk ziggysmalls's Avatar
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    12.11.17 @ 05:47 AM
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    Premium Member

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    Quote Originally Posted by CaboChris View Post
    I agree



    I miss what he used to sound like too as I said, his voice was very unorthodox if I could use that word. Young Dave was one of a kind. If he just sang in the low register and concentrated on being the best singer in that range then I think all the criticisms of his voice will go away.
    Early Dave to me is like early Eddie. Just so damn unique with his phrasing, low registers, screams, etc. It's not like he went into it going "ok I can sing in tune, let me just sing in a rock voice." It was something totally unique to my ears.

    Don't take it as a shot against Sammy for giving Dave a plug. Both guys are great but to my ears Sammy is a more like a Roger Daltry where Dave is sort of like Janis.

    Anyway I have been jamming a lot of 5150 lately and its a great album. Even the tired songs sound fresher to my ears.

  15. #15
    5150 C Brown's Avatar
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    09.28.17 @ 10:23 AM
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    Default

    For me personally, 5150 is the Sammy record that has staying power. I wore that thing out in the summer of 1986. It's still in my summer rotation.

    Totally agree with the blogger regarding Poundcake. FUCK (and in particular Poundcake) put me into semi-VH retirement. More power to those who love it. You have more music to enjoy.

    For me, power drill + Sammy doing air cunnilingus = 4-year VH haitus. It was like an outtake from Spinal Tap with a drill instead of a tiny stonehenge, and "I love my baby's poundcake" subbing for "lick my love pump."
    ~Sometimes I wonder whether the world is being run by smart people who are putting us on or by imbeciles who really mean it.~

    Mark Twain

 

 

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