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  1. #1
    Eruption zoident's Avatar
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    01.15.16 @ 10:42 PM
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    Default 5150′ VS. EAT EM AND SMILE

    Rock and roll history is rife with intra-band family feuds, but perhaps none received quite as much publicity or caused a bigger fan base rift than Van Halens ugly divorce from singer David Lee Roth in 1985. Certainly, this was the battle royal of 80s hard rock! After all, no other American band did quite as much as the Roth-fronted Van Halen to set the template later aspired to by future generations of bands. It therefore stands to reason that the debate over which of the first albums released by these warring factions the Sammy Hagar-fronted Van Halen and hastily assembled David Lee Roth band is better continues to polarize hard rock fans to this day. We asked two writers to each argue one side of this debate, and heres what they had to say:
    Eat Em and Smile is Better Than 5150′
    by Eduardo Rivadavia

    Heres the thing you have to understand about this argument: no one or at least no one who actually cared about Van Halen prior to Jumps unprecedented crossover into the pop charts sided with Roth when his departure from the band became official that summer. Between the undoubtedly amusing but unnervingly kitsch cover tunes heard on Roths 1985 solo EP, Crazy from the Heat, and the singers sheer egotistical overexposure, most Van Halen fans (including yours truly) were nearly as fed up with Diamond Daves antics as Eddie, Alex and Michael. Good riddance, we said!

    But when the newly minted Van Hagar unveiled their first collaboration, 5150, in March of 1986, its synthesizer-drenched, thoroughly modern contents veered so radically from Van Halens beloved old blueprint that diehard fans couldnt help but question their loyalty. And when the surprisingly formidable David Lee Roth band (complete with a guitar hero of its own in the inimitable Steve Vai), surprised most everyone that July by appealing to that nostalgic VH aesthetic with Eat em and Smile, the battle lines were formally drawn.

    Sure, Eat em and Smile, also boasted a sugary sweet single in Goin Crazy! (still better than Dreams!) and another pair of insufferable classic pop covers (Im Easy, Thats Life), but it also packed a wealth of electrifying, athletic rockers in Yankee Rose, Shyboy and Elephant Gun all of them bursting with the sort of fleet-fingered guitar showboating and larger-than-life personalities Van Halen fans were hungering for. Heck, even the Roth bands rare true experiments namely the sultry cult favorite Ladies Nite in Buffalo? fared better than Van Hagars wholesale departure into synth-rock (not to mention the pointless avant-garde filler that was Inside).

    So while Eat em and Smile is anything but perfect, you have to admit, wherever you stand on the still far-from-settled Roth vs. Hagar debate, that the red-hot parts of Eat em and Smile share a lot more in common with Unchained than anything found on the calculated, cold and clinical 5150.

    5150′ is Better Than Eat Em and Smile
    by Matt Wardlaw

    David Lee Roth is never at a loss for words and he chose them well when taking stock of his vocal arch-nemesis Sammy Hagars work in comparison to his own. As the pair were preparing to launch an unlikely co-headlining tour in 2002, Roth quipped, Sam throws a party. I am the party.

    But which party was better? In 1986, both Van Halen and Roth were at a crucial crossroads as they prepared their first post-breakup releases. Roth appeared to have one clear advantage he was moving forward with the recognizable multi-platinum voice, which can be a big hole for a band to fill.

    But most bands dont have the luxury of having Eddie Van Halen in their arsenal. Since he was clearly established as one of the genres most important guitar players, there was little doubt that there would be interested eyes and ears waiting to hear what he and his bandmates would do next in the recording studio.

    No question, the choice of Hagar as Van Halens new singer caused more than a few fans to scratch their heads. Remember, this was an era where vocalist swaps werent quite as common as todays practice of finding a clone of your current singer on YouTube. But as Hagar who had built a formidable resume of work both solo and with Montrose would prove with his debut on 5150, his presence gave Van Halen the necessary tools to satisfy in a whole new way.

    Of course, Van Halen had begun to explore more melodic pastures with the 1984 album, bringing keyboards prominently into the mix on songs like Ill Wait and Jump. But they were now able to take those ideas even further on 5150′ with songs like Why Cant This Be Love and Dreams. There was even yikes! a power balled, Love Walks In.

    Hagar also helped the band to score their first-ever No. 1 album (the first of several) with 5150. Many can lament that Van Halen with Roth was more of a party band, but future tequila billionaire Hagar certainly brought his own good times into the mix. Van Hagar concerts often felt like close and personal okay, maybe drunken family reunions.

    David Lee Roth is the party? Fair enough but Hagar brought songwriting consistency and more importantly expanded range to Van Halen. Most of Eat Em and Smile depended on old tricks to succeed, and sometimes relied too heavily on flash and Roths personality instead of substance. As his 1988 follow-up Skyscraper proved even more clearly, even if you assemble the absolute best army of players and Bissonette, Sheehan and Vai certainly fit that description a strong songwriting chemistry needs to be in place in order to achieve career longevity.

    But theres no need to look ahead. Song for song, 5150 is ultimately a better album than Eat Em and Smile. Against all odds, lightning struck twice for Van Halen as the combination of Hagar, Eddie and Alex Van Halen and Michael Anthony built a collaborative brotherhood that in 1986 felt pretty special. Today, even though that partnership is regrettably long fractured, 5150 still holds up.
    VOTE HERE http://ultimateclassicrock.com/5150-...-smile-debate/

  2. #2
    Hot For Teacher Pat's Avatar
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    12.09.17 @ 12:49 PM
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    Default

    It'd be a ridiculously difficult decision to pick one for me - LOVE both albums. It's just too much, my brain would go into meltdown if I had to choose!
    Salt shaker, little lick a lime...

  3. #3
    Atomic Punk
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    06.25.15 @ 09:06 AM
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    Today I will say 5150. Tomorrow, probably EEAS. Both are very, very good albums.
    "I respect that youre passionate about this but what your saying is complete idiocy..." - MF5150 on McDonald's "preying" on young kids.

    "He was born a human, he's a horse's ass by proxy." - It's Mike on Eddymon.

  4. #4
    Atomic Punk I Coulda Hada VH's Avatar
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    12.11.17 @ 06:50 PM
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    I was watching an old episode of "That Metal Show" a few months ago, and "5150" vs "Eat 'Em And Smile" was the "throw down". George Lynch's response was, "I'd rather listen to Eddie being Eddie than somebody else trying to be Eddie."
    "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"

  5. #5
    Emperor of VHLinks.com Brett's Avatar
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    12.11.17 @ 05:33 PM
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    Default

    This thread will go well.
    Webmaster
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    Tons of Van Halen!

  6. #6
    Atomic Punk CaboChris's Avatar
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    12.09.17 @ 12:23 AM
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    Default

    EEAS isn't even in the same galaxy as 5150 imo. One was a continuation of the "formula" and the other was groundbreaking.

  7. #7
    Atomic Punk edwardv's Avatar
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    12.11.17 @ 05:27 PM
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    Default

    Vai vs Ed EEAS best Roth solo album but I'll take 5150 any day over it.
    EVH 1979: Well, actually it's not much of a vacation, because we run everything ourselves. We design our own album cover, we have to be in the office every day to sign checks - the whole corporation revolves around us. Nothing can be done without our approval. We even have photo approval.

  8. #8
    Good Enough Kevin Dodds's Avatar
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    09.15.17 @ 08:03 AM
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    Default

    Oh, man... "Why Can't This Be Love"???!!! UGH! "Dreams" and "Love Walks In" are Journey songs. Ed's sound is all chorused out -- doesn't sound brown at all.

    EEAS is such a masterpiece it actually scared me when I was 14. IMHO -- it is vastly superior.

    But at the time -- I refused to listen to Roth, listened to 5150 five times per day and saw VH twice in 1986.

    But in the long run -- EEAS is the winner. I love Dave's voice and lyrics just as much as I love Ed's guitar playing.

    KBD3
    Last edited by Kevin Dodds; 10.26.13 at 10:33 AM. Reason: misspell

  9. #9
    Atomic Punk
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    fair warning/ 5150
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    07.09.17 @ 07:00 PM
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brett View Post
    This thread will go well.
    Haha! At first I thought it was just the OP bringing up a quarter century old argument, but the article is current. Which is still bizarre to me. Might as well punt!


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  10. #10
    Good Enough
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    12.11.17 @ 01:04 PM
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    For me, there are pros and cons to both albums.... I was really put off by Van Halen's synth-heavy more pop leaning direction and especially the production on "5150." Even several of the harder rocking songs sounded like retreads of previous music (Get Up - Hot For Teacher). But there were still some real gems on that album.. Best Of Both Worlds remains one of my favorite Hagar era VH songs.

    Roth's album was a really good EP. There's like 5 songs I absolutely still love but the covers really hurt the album. My friend and I went to see the LA Forum show in December '86 on a whim without tickets, managed to score 10th row floor seats from a scalper in the parking lot and were just blown away by how impressive the band and production was.

    Roth really seemed like he was still hungry and had something to prove, Van Halen with Sammy seemed like they had nothing to prove because they were secure in what they had to offer. It was very much like when I saw Ozzy with Randy Rhoads vs seeing Black Sabbath with Dio in '81.

  11. #11
    Eruption zoident's Avatar
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    01.15.16 @ 10:42 PM
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    Quote Originally Posted by hagarfn View Post
    Haha! At first I thought it was just the OP bringing up a quarter century old argument, but the article is current. Which is still bizarre to me. Might as well punt!


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    Wouldn't do that bro yes its fresh

    Vote up to once per day until the poll closes on Nov. 3, 2013 at 11:59PM ET.
    Van Halen, '5150' 58.1%


    David Lee Roth, 'Eat 'Em and Smile' 41.9%

  12. #12
    Romeo Delight
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    Still listen to early DLR solo stuff. I liked the Hagar releases at the time, but recently tried to listen to 5150 and F.U.C.K. Just could not sit through it. IMO - the Hagar stuff did not hold up well at all. A few great tunes that are still relevant but not much else there for me today.

    So just based on the number of plays on the iPOD, Eat em and Simile by miles.

  13. #13
    Atomic Punk
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    fair warning/ 5150
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    Default

    Cool. I've never voted in any of these type's of polls. Gonna keep the record intact.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
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    RJD \m/


    Sig Pic courtesy of Greenpaw

  14. #14
    Little Dreamer Charlotte'82's Avatar
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    10.02.14 @ 07:06 PM
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    In '86, I was under the impression that the breakup of the real Van Halen was due to Roth getting the big head and leaving the band, so I bought 5150 and went to see the Van Hagar show (loved both!) and passed on Eat 'em And Smile and the DLR tour, but after reading "Crazy From The Heat", my impressions changed and I think I now prefer Eat 'em And Smile over 5150 after really giving the two albums a true comparison.
    Charlotte 1982
    Charlotte 1984
    Greensboro 1986
    Charlotte 1988

  15. #15
    Atomic Punk Eddymon's Avatar
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    12.11.17 @ 02:30 PM
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    Both are great, at the time I listened to both cassettes to death but to me top to bottom 5150 was more complete. The biggest things I didn't like though about 5150 was the synth and electronic drums, they are just too good of a band for that shit. Seemed like Ed had some different sound in mind especially since he first had Patty Smythe on his wish list for singer.
    EEAS was heavier but to me it was Dave just trying continue the VH sound with 3 new guys.
    'Old Van Halen, when I was in it-classic Van Halen-makes you wanna drink, dance and screw, right? And the new Van Halen encourages you to drink milk, drive a Nissan and have a relationship.' - David Lee Roth.

 

 

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