Van Halen-Van Halen
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Released: 1978 Warner Brothers

This is the album that introduced Eddie Van Halen, guitar phenomenon, to the world. Since then, guitar playing has never been the same. We could thank Eddie for the popularization of the dive-bombing whammy-bar and fretboard hammer-on attacks today's guitarists take for granted. The album begins with "Running with the Devil" and then hits the listener between the eyes with the classic ripper "Eruption" and just when you think it couldn't get any better, they do the best possible cover of "You Really Got Me". All on the same album. But then we also have "Aint Talkin' Bout Love", "Jamie's Cryin'" and "Ice Cream Man", all of which are classic rock radio regulars. Most Van Halen Fans believe the David Lee Roth years to be their best years. Each successive album still maintained the obnoxious, in-your-face attitude and great musicianship but with the release of the 1984 album, they threw their fans a serious curve-ball. Eddie Van Halen, guitar hero, played many a keyboard track. Not just a song or two, the album was saturated with some serious synthesizer work. It was a definite change in their sound but yielded the hit song "Jump". Then came Sammy Hagar with the release of the 5150 album. It was okay, I guess. But the best album Sammy did with Van Halen was the For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge album (1991). So to sum it up, I'd buy at least one album from each of these periods. I would rate them as follows: 1. Van Halen (Early mostly-guitar-driven years) 2. 1984 (beginning of Eddie's keyboard work) 3. For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge (Hagar Years). All three albums were very easily distinguished from each other.

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