(NOTE: Music That Sucks is the correct opinion of the author. If your opinion differs I genuinely feel sorry for you.)
Led Zeppelin. There is a group I never thought I'd mention in any of these MTS diatribes. However, the name comes up often when researching Van Halen, as in "the next Led Zeppelin". In terms of sheer decadence they might come close, but as far as the music goes, they couldn't be Led Zep's roadies.
Eddie and Alex Van Halen are the children of Dutch immigrants and believed that they rocked. They took classical piano growing up, but eventually Eddie switched to guitar and Alex to drums. They wound up forming a group called Mammoth in 1972, which featured Eddie on lead vocals and Mark Stone on bass. In 1973, realizing Eddie can't sing, they recruit vocalist David Lee Roth, whose whole bag is being a "wild and wacky guy" in the vein of your typical annoying mourning radio DJ. Stone is kicked out in 1974 and replaced by Micheal Anthony, and shortly thereafter the name of the group is changed to Van Halen primarily due to the fact that there was another group known as Mammoth.
For the next couple of years the band would pollute the LA club scene, and gained a following amongst the flighty LA music goers. The band was noticed by fellow MTS inductee Gene Simmons in 1976 at the Starwood club, and he financed a recording session. Simmons had to see potential in VH in order for him to willingly part with any of his precious money. Gene Simmons, however, is the last guy I'd go to for good music. It is rumored that VH was then signed by Warner Bros. in 1977 thanks to Simmons' recommendation. Not only does he make sucky music, but he helps other sucky musicians as well. Gene Simmons, what an asshole.
But I digress. Their self-titled debut album comes out in 1978, reaching as high as #19 on the album charts and featuring such songs as "Jaime's Cryin'", "Running With The Devil", and a cover of the Kinks song "You Really Got Me". The first thing you notice when listening to these songs is that Roth couldn't sing well to save his life (not that it would be worth saving anyway). He has one of the worst voices in the history of Rock, comparable to that of Dylan (in terms of bad singers who became popular). Then there is Eddie, the most overrated guitarist of all time. Everybody points to his "tapping", as if he invented it. Hello people! He ripped off the great Jimmy Page! Guitar God my bony white ass!
Their sophmore effort, 1979's creatively titled Van Halen II peaked at #6 on the charts, but overall did not match the success of their debut. Wait a second...Van Halen II...Led Zeppelin II! When you are biting the nutsack of another band you might as well bite hard, I suppose. The single "Dance The Night Away" reaches #15 on the charts.
VH kicks off the 1980's with Women and Children which peaks at #6 and goes platinum. A noticable trend with these early albums is a decline in total sales. You'd think people were getting hip to the fact that these guys suck dingleberries, but the worst is yet to come. In between albums Eddie marries the piece of ass from One Day At A Time, Valerie Bertinelli.
More platinum albums in 1981 with Fair Warning, and 1982's Diver Down, which reaches #3 on the charts; but again over all sales continue to dip (from over 10 million with the debut to 4 million with Diver Down). VH didn't release anything in '83, but Eddie did lead guitar on Micheal Jackson's "Beat It", which went to #1. This was the calm before the storm...
1984's release 1984 becomes their biggest album with Roth, reaching #2 on the charts and selling 10 million copies. Music videos for the mega-hits "Jump", "Panama", and "Hot For Teacher" get mind-numbingly constant airplay on MTV as a nation sees how "zany" Roth is trying to be, and just how big Eddie can smile. I'm sorry, but I prefer musicians who don't smile like retards during guitar solos. There's no smiling in hard rock! f**kin bitches. In April of that year Roth leaves Van Halen, and they search for a new lead singer.
The group recruits another doofus, Sammy Hagar, to take Roth's place. Hagar debuts on 1985's 5150 album (I believe 5150 is police code for criminally insane, which is fitting for VH fans). The album becomes the groups first to reach #1, and sells almost 7 million copies. Continuing the groups major focus on album rock as opposed to singles, the second Hagar album OU812 (1988) also reaches #1. Get it? "Oh you ate one too". Get it??? Ha ha ha ha ha ha...oy vey! That's two more #1 albums than they ever had with Roth. Hagar is a better singer than Roth IMO, but basically a dime a dozen, and definately nothing to write home about.
The apex of the Hagar era would come in 1991, with the release of For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge. Get it? F.U.C.K. Get it?? Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha...shut the f**k up! "Right Now", with a video that never shows the group, becomes the most successful VH single. F.U.C.K. becomes the third straight record to reach #1, and '95's Balance completes the sombrero. By 1996 however, Hagar bids the band farewell, and goes on to make s**tty solo work and tequila.
Around the same time David Lee Roth returns (after a less than stellar solo career), and the "original" VH lineup records two new songs to be including in a compilation album. After an appearance at the MTV Video Music Awards Roth is dismissed, and Gary Cherrone, former front man of a nothing hair-metal band Extreme becomes Van Halen's third lead singer. The debut album with Cherrone, Van Halen III, is a major bust and the only VH album to fail to reach platinum status. By 1999 Cherrone is out of Van Halen. In 2001 Eddie reveals he is battling cancer. Hagar and Roth tour together at one point, and VH was recently denied induction into the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame in their first year of eligibility. But hey, they've been inducted in MTS!
Jimmy Page, Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton...Eddie Van Halen is nowhere near these (or other) guitar heroes. On a closing note, it doesn't matter who sings the songs, one thing is for sure; Van Halen is no Led Zeppelin.
Van Halen, music...that sucks!