Van Halen’s “Women and Children First” Turns 33

VH Women&ChildrenFirst

I cant believe this album is 33 years old today. I was young when Van Halen originally debuted in 1978 and I didn’t really know about them until after their fourth album, “Fair Warning,” my favorite VH alum, which was released in 1981. The upside to this was I had four incredible guitar albums to digest at one time including this one. When you are 12 years old and have nothing else to do, I really got to delve into these collections, “Van Halen,” “Van Halen II,” and the two previously mentioned albums.

Last night I watched, “Argo.” Yes, I know I am the last to see it. Director, Ben Affleck, utilized Van Halen’s, “Dance the Night Away,” to create the vibe of 1979/1980. This did put into perspective how old these albums are. Images of Jimmy Carter, Ayatollah Khomeini and the whole Iranian Hostage Crisis were memories from my childhood. Glad the music sounds fresher today than these old news stories!

“Women & Children,” the bands third album, was a little heavier in sound then their first two albums. A trend that continued through, “Fair Warning,” which was the bands worst selling album, although critically at least in my opinion and the fans I know, their best! Of note, on Women and Children, was Eddie Van Halen a notable pianist, as well as, guitarist’s first effort using keyboards on a VH recording. Ironically the sound of the keyboards on “And the Cradle Will Rock…,” was masked by running the sound through a guitar amplifier and virtually sounding, well, like a guitar. Also ironic is the fact that the use of keyboards propelled Van Halen’s popularity with songs like, “Jump,” “I’ll Wait,” and many of the Van Hagar Era hits.

In 2012 the boys teamed up once again with frontman David Lee Roth for a new album, “A Different Kind of Truth,” and subsequent tour. The best part of this tour was the fact they could play the true Van Halen songs that Sammy Hagar would never sing. From, Women and Children, they included, “Everybody Wants Some,” “And the Cradle Will Rock…,” and “Romeo Delight.” Check out the Setlist from the San Diego show, June 14, 2012.

Here’s to listening to these albums in another 33 years! Watch out grandkids cause you will be the wrath of my old man tunes!!!

This video contains the complete album, 33 minutes in length.

Enjoy!

About mikeslayen

Guitarist/Instructor

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