Jun 09

Episode 6: Van Halen’s 5150

In 1984, Van Halen were one of the biggest bands on Earth. By 1985, they were on the verge of breaking up, as vocalist David Lee Roth left to pursue a solo career and try his luck in Hollywood. After a couple asks that went nowhere, they settled on former Montrose vocalist Sammy Hagar as Roth’s replacement. Replacing a vocalist, especially one with the stature of Roth, is always a dicey proposition, but did Van Halen make it work? Come explore their 1986 album 5150!

It’s time for the SHOW NOTES!
0:00: Intro and Theme Song
0:22: About me and the podcast.
0:41: Introducing our band: Van Halen!
0:55: The mythology of Van Halen’s INSTANT MASSIVE SUCCESS!!
1:16: The reality is it wasn’t quite that simple.
1:57: But when they did break, they broke big.
2:11: Why? Their singer. Also their guitar player.
2:23: The origins of Eddie Van Halen’s two-hand tapping guitar technique.
2:44: Van Halen sustain their success until 1984…
2:59: A digression into the inspiration for this episode’s intro.
3:43: HEY BROSSENTIA! Van Halen are about to run into trouble!
4:13: Specifically, now they don’t have a singer!
4:19: Ah, the first-album-with-a-new-singer. The classic Divisive Album!
4:52: Who could replace David Lee Roth? Patty Smyth?
5:14: Or how about DARYL HALL?
5:46: No, they went with Sammy Hagar instead!
6:06: Which didn’t exactly surprise Hagar. Hagar was a confident man.
6:16: There were positive signs when they demoed some new material…
6:27: Introducing this episode’s album: 1986’s 5150!
7:03: The opening of “Good Enough”, the album’s opener.
7:15: The chorus of “Good Enough”, and some discussion of the song.
7:51: A third excerpt from “Good Enough”, and discussion of this spoken-word section.
8:17: This monologue is more light-hearted than Roth’s tended to be.
8:28: Introducing the album’s first single: “Why Can’t This Be Love”
8:40: The start of “Why Can’t This Be Love”.
9:05: Discussion of the 80s keyboard-oriented smoothness of this song.
9:31: Maybe the worst lyric we’ve ever heard on this podcast, and discussion thereof.
10:03: Let’s hear it again, but this time listen to the drums!
10:16: Those electronic toms sound…a little out of place with everything else.
11:09: Of course, 1986’s popular consensus disagreed with my nitpicking.
11:20: An excerpt from and discussion of “Get Up”, song number 3 on 5150.
12:13: Introducing the second single from the album, and playing an excerpt from it.
12:47: Another excerpt from the song….
13:08: Which is obviously called….”Dreams”.
13:29: An excerpt from near the end of “Dreams”.
14:04: Discussion of the last segment of the song.
14:50: “Dreams” was a hit too, but it had a B-side….
15:01: …which was “Inside”, the album’s closer.
15:07: An excerpt from “Inside”.
15:34: What I’d actually make The Divisive Albums Podcast given a do-over.
16:19: Discussing what the band were going for with “Inside”, which was….
17:09: Did you guess “Making fun of their previous singer”? You’re right!
17:16: Turns out Roth and Van Halen were not BFFs after Roth’s departure.
17:34: Another excerpt from “Inside”
18:06: Introducing the third single from the album, “Love Walks In”
18:40: Discussing “Love Walks In”‘s chart performance, and what it portended for the band.
19:03: How’d 5150 do? It did well!
19:30: Like “Van Halen’s first #1 album” well!
19:47: Like “Crushing David Lee Roth’s competing solo album” well!
20:03: What happened after that, and Where Are They Now?
20:55: Final Thoughts
21:20: Outro and Social Media. Twitter, Website, Discord, Patreon, The Music For Two Podcast, E-Mail

Also, thanks to MercuryZelda for becoming a Patron!

Other Links:
The Classic Rock interview/retrospective I mentioned
A Rolling Stone interview where Sammy Hagar looks back on 5150.
Sammy Hagar’s Live from Daryl’s House appearance. The discussion about Daryl potentially joining Van Halen and the “Eddie’s funky” line come about 33 minutes in.