VAN HALEN | VAN HALEN II | Women and Children First | FAIR WARNING | DIVER DOWN | 1984

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VAN HALEN             DIVER DOWN

 

Van Halen Diver Down Album Review - by ChrisGossett.com - "Where Have All The Good Times Gone!!" is a Kinks' cover song with a riff that was first placed on the unreleased, original song "Young And WIld"; a two hand technique followed by a pick scrape.

"Hang 'Em High" was a complete song also from the original classification as an unreleased, original song, called "Last Night" which had entirely different lyrics to it.

Where Have All The Good Times Gone!!

Hang 'Em High
Cathedral
Secrets
Intruder
(Oh) Pretty Woman
Dancing In The Street
Little Guitars (Intro)
Little Guitars
Big Bad Bill Is Sweet William Now
The Full Bug
Happy Trails

"Cathedral" is the instrumental Edward plays live which follows the 316 instrumental devoted to Wolfgang Van Halen.  Using a delay and the volume knob he came up with another new way of making his guitar sound that everyone assumed was some kind of keyboard. 

"Secrets" was written as lyrics without music, by David Lee Roth, after he read a series of American Indian greeting cards.  Edward wanted to actually first put this song on Fair Warning but it was nixed for not being in the same realm as the rest of the material on that album just one year previous. 

"Intruder" was created because the video to "(Oh) Pretty Woman" was created before Diver Down was complete.  More on that in a moment, but the video contained more content than the length of "Pretty Woman" allowed so the instrumental intro was decided needed recorded.  Essentially, little people harassing a cross dressing transvestite became the scene for Edward to "create to", if you will.  A beer can was used to make the loud high pitched screeches on "Intruder".  The video made for this song was one of the oddest Van Halen videos but easily the one with the staunchest punch line.

"(Oh) Pretty Woman" was David Lee Roth's idea.  Van Halen was to release a hit to keep the popularity of the band high while they were pondering what the next album would become.  Warner Brothers demanded a full album off the trail of the success the song had in air play.  Edward and David Lee had an argument about who knew their parts well; Ed asked if Dave knew his words, while Dave grilled Eddie over if he knew the music.  The result was that the song is missing a part!  Nobody noticed!  When it was noticed the band agreed to leave it as it is, in all its incomplete glory!  The video was obviously controversial for 1982, complete with a cross dressing transvestite that had the whole audience fooled into thinking they were watching a woman.    It was banned aplenty.  Michael Anthony's head dress had a Samurai head band included that was in fact up side down.  This caused a huge back lash in Japan who just pointed to that faux pas as another reason to ban it.

"Dancing In The Streets" was actually the song that David Lee Roth suggested the band record and pre-release.  Ed vetoed it and said it should be "Pretty Woman".  The keyboard and guitar effect on this song was intended by Edward Van Halen to be used on another song, an original Van Halen song, but Don Landee and Roth persuaded him otherwise.

"Little Guitars (Intro)" is created by fast picking the G, B and E strings (this was incorrectly reported by the Van Halen Encyclopedia as the D, B and E strings) and hammering on and off the low E.  This instrumental inspired David Lee Roth to create the lyrics to "Little Guitars" which in turn inspired Edward to write the music. 

"Big Bad Bill Is Sweet William Now" is the song that Jan Van Halen plays clarinet on.  This is a cover song that was originally wrote and recorded by Jack Yellen and Milton Ager.  Not like anything done before or since, BBBISWN is in a place all its own when consideration of Van Halen lore.

"The Full Bug" is David Lee Roth's way of saying the same thing the "whole enchilada" means to everyone else in pop American culture.  Roth played harmonica, and, believe it or not, acoustic guitar in the small introduction to this song.

"Happy Trails" was recorded because the album is so incredibly short.  It would fit on one side of a 60 minute cassette tape back in the day, it was so short!  Originally recorded in 1977 as a joke, this was picked for more album filler time, but ended up being sung on the final two tours with the original line up. 

Diver Down is the only weak album of the David Lee Roth years.  For any other band this would be their best album ever.  This album review determines Diver Down to have a rating of 7 out of 10.

 

 

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