Following his death on October 6, 2020, Eddie Van Halen has left behind some of the most memorable rock hits in the history of the genre with his group Van Halen. We share the 20 Greatest Van Halen Songs:
You Really Got Me (1978)
Van Halen rose to fame with this version of The Kinks’ theme that appeared on their first album in 1978. Eddie’s guitar made his mark with his inimitable personal touch.
If something marks a guitarist it’s a solo, so in this instrumental piece, Eddie Van Halen consecrates himself in just two minutes. Considered one of the best guitar solos in history, Van Halen popularized tapping with it, a technique later used ad nauseam in heavy metal and hard rock.
Runnin’ With The Devil (1978)
This track has been cataloged for being the one that launched Van Halen to stardom, being the first single from their debut album. It is notable for being one of the few songs where Eddie used a guitar overdub. In addition to that, it was named by VH1 as the greatest song of hard rock.
Ain’t Talkin’ ‘Bout Love (1978)
Also excerpted from their debut album released in 1978, this track was one of the ones that Van Halen released as a single, even becoming one of the band’s best known. The song, like most of the album, was written by Eddie Van Halen a year before the album saw the light of day.
Dance The Night Away (1979)
The second song from their 1979 album Van Halen II became Van Halen’s first top 20 hit. While the rest of the tracks had a previous life in the clubs where the band played, this was the only song written during the recording sessions of the album, which is palpable in its splendid finish.
And The Cradle Will Rock (1980)
The band’s third album, Women And Children First, allowed Eddie, already considered a guitar master, to experiment with the keyboard, this being the first song in which he demonstrated his ease with it.
Romeo Delight (1980)
Eddie creates the climax, slowly rising in pitch, and Lee Roth rips your ears apart with a voice like no other. Could we ask for more?
Everybody Wants Some!! (1980)
A vibrant, fiery tribal beat brings us one of Van Halen’s must-have songs. As soon as you listen to it, with the help of Eddie’s guitar, you can tell that the band wrote a very important episode in their career (and in the book of classics).
By the band’s fourth album, Fair Warning, the group had already established itself. On continuous tour, his tone hardened. And although this was well received by specialized critics, this production is remembered as the least sold of the group despite having songs as powerful as this Unchained.
Mean Street (1981)
The song was originally planned to be a demo called “Voodoo Queen”. But, to everyone’s luck, it was eventually released as the opener for their fourth album Fair Warning, and in fact, became one of the most successful of the band’s career.
Where Have All The Good Times Gone? (1982)
This is one of five versions of the Diver Down album. Between 1978 and 1982, Van Halen released one album a year and needed a creative break, something that the covers easily provided. And who better to turn to than The Kinks, who had given them so much success with their first single?
The only song by the group that reached number 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 and probably the best known of the band… even though Eddie didn’t play guitar on it. But it didn’t matter: he was the architect who made the synthesizer shine in such a way on this song written by the singer, David Lee Roth, that he would leave the group for years.
Excerpt from his 1984 album, “Panama” is inspired by a car that Roth saw racing in Las Vegas, despite the fact that the lyrics appear to talk about sexual things. And in fact, during the song, you can hear Eddie’s Lamborghini in the background.
Hot for Teacher (1984)
A track that revolutionized the way of making videos for many bands and careers of the 80s. Lee Roth’s included.
Why Can’t This Be Love (1986)
The song was published as the first single from 5150, a production in which Sammy Hagar debuted as a vocalist. It was a success all over the world and a change towards pop-metal was already palpable in it, perhaps due to the influence of Hagar himself.
“Dreams” was originally released in 1986 as the second single from the album 5150. In addition to its appearance on the soundtrack of the movie Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, it served to introduce a new generation to Van Halen’s music.
When It’s Love (1988)
This powerful ballad was released as a single by OU812, a title that played with the pronunciation, that is “Oh, you ate one too” (Oh, you also ate one). It was the most popular song on the album and Van Halen confessed that his guitar solo was a tribute to Eric Clapton.
Right Now (1991)
The song is from the album For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge and is about living in the moment and not being afraid to make a change. An early version of the tune actually appears in the movie The Wild Life, for which Eddie composed the soundtrack.
Can’t Stop Loving You (1995)
Released in 1995, “Can’t Stop Loving You” was the third single Van Halen released from their tenth studio album Balance. And it was the result of producer Bruce Fairbairn’s request that the band starts making more pop-oriented songs. It is also an homage to the Ray Charles song “I Can’t Stop Loving You”.
It was the first single and video clip from A Different Kind Of Truth, the band’s last studio album. David Lee Roth returned for the occasion, absent since 1984. The longtime bassist, Michael Anthony, is replaced by Wolf Van Halen, Eddie’s son. Since the drummer is Alex Van Halen, Eddie’s brother, it all stayed in the family.