Watch the video above for the full review
Van Halen – Do You Remember Where You Were When You Heard The First Van Halen Album?
Classic Albums Reviews : Van Halen : Van Halen : 1978
Can you remember where you were and the first time you heard this album?
I know for me as a 19-year-old teenager hearing this for the first time meant it was laser-etched into my memory in real-time. I can almost remember each track coming out of the speakers for the first time.
The first Van Halen album changed everything, it changed the way rock guitar would be played. After years of rock music being exported into the USA, 1978 saw the tables turn and Ted Templeman finally realise the dream he had with the first Montrose album.
Let me know your thoughts on when you first heard this album. For younger viewers who were not there at the time, what are your thoughts on this album? Does it still sound groundbreaking to you?
David Lee Roth, Eddie Van Halen, Alex Van Halen and Michael Anthony created an album that turned Van Halen into the Rolls Royce of Rock bands. In the video, I also talk about when I saw them for the first time supporting Black Sabbath.
Let me know in the comments!
Phil Aston | Now Spinning Magazine
Some Now Spinning Members Comments
It is very interesting to hear about the “English” perspective of this album/band, I completely agree with your comments, I was 21 and living in So. Cal. and when I heard the intro riff to “Ain’t talkin…” I got goosebumps(still do) . They definitely had a huge impact on hard rock. 1978 was an amazing year for music, as I recall, there were many new bands making their debut, The Police, the Cars, Devo, Dire straits, the pretenders, Joe Jackson, Elvis Costello…(i’m probably leaving out a few others) but it was a very memorable time, luckily it has been “captured”on tape,disc, and vinyl…classic stuff, indeed – Stan
Summer of 1979, the transition from middle school to high school. I started hanging out with older kids who were already in high school. I went to a pasture party with one of them who played it in his car on the ride out of town. Not the best place to listen critically. I believe VH opened for the Stones’ US tour and didn’t set the nation on fire. I finally got the album after reading about them in Rolling Stone magazine. Charlie White
It was the summer of ‘78, I was at a mate’s house – he had the album and said look at that guitar – one pickup and just a volume control and listen to this, as he dropped the needle on “Eruption”. I was dumbstruck – couldn’t get my head around how that could be a guitar I was hearing – even now Ed’s playing still blows me away …The album is one of the greatest debuts ever and Side 1 has to be one of the greatest LP sides of all time. Eddie reinvented the electric guitar literally and musically. Having ‘discovered’ Van Halen, I bought the next four VH albums as soon as they were released. Only got to see the band live once, in 1980 but am glad I did. Derek
I was also 19 in 1978 and used to get every music paper each week. I seem to remember reading a review of the album in Sounds and thinking I need to buy this!. I may also have heard a track on Alan Freeman’s Saturday Rock Show (not certain on that). I bought it though and as soon as the needle played track 1….wow! Ian
I was 14 years old and heard ‘Eruption’ which is still the greatest guitar showcase ever! The whole album still sounds as new and fresh as it did back in 1978. Totally brilliant. Steve
I would be 18 and I went to a local rock disco at the legendary Nottingham Boat Club. I can remember the DJ playing ‘Running With The Devil’ with that amazing drone-like sound intro, the cocky, laid back vocals of DLR, the thumping rhythm of AVH and Michael Anthony and then that soaring, wonderful solo from EVH It sounded like nothing else I had ever heard before. Still love it all these years later. Trevor
I first heard “Jamie’s Cryin'” on the radio when I was 14 but didn’t know who it was until about a week later when I saw the album on sale for $4.44 in the record section of our local department store and bought it because They looked cool, song titles sounded cool, and they thanked Gene Simmons! I took it home and was so blown away that I called one of my best buddies and played the entire album to him over the phone! Scott
I school friend gave me a copy of it on a cassette tape and said “You have got to listen to this. You’ll love it!” And my word he was right! Paul
In my bedroom with my Hitachi boombox. It was one huge volcanic eruption the moment I pressed Play. I consider it the greatest rock record to this day. Ferdiland
1978, I was 13. I heard Running With The Devil on the radio and I rushed out to get the album. Blew my mind back then as there was nothing like it at the time. They single handily killed off Disco which was at its peak in 1978. Stephen
One night…my father and a friend of his were drinking fairly heavily. As the drinks poured, the music got louder as did the laughter and talking.
My dad’s buddy, John, loudly said to my dad…Mike…you gotta hear this band. I JUST bought this record today, and you gotta hear this guitar player…he does stuff with his guitar I’ve never heard before (music dies down…needle drops….car horn grows louder…bass thumps…high hats…pick slide…) Runnin With Devil starts up. They have now cranked up the stereo…
I get out of bed…and sleepily sit at the top of the stairs as I wipe out my eyes….and listen to them loudly yell..”great song, huh?” listen to the NEXT song”
Eruption starts…….and the hair on my arms goes straight up…I think its soooooooo cool. It was the coolest thing I’ve ever heard…it was at that moment, I thought to myself…”I wanna do THAT someday!!”
I’m 50 now….and yes…I can play Eruption. Over the years, Eddie was like an uncle who I never really got to meet…he was someone I admired and I was heartbroken when he passed away. I wept like I had lost a family member. The world will never see someone like him again….he was a modern day Mozart. I consider myself lucky to get to live at a time when Edward Van Halen walked the earth. DF