Just a quick post as a tribute to Eddie Van Halen – with Mean Street – one of my top Van Halen jams:
The next video is not the one I was looking for – but it will work for now – and wanted to point out that trademark outfit of his – do you see the red and white design on his outfit and guitar – well in 9th grade I had a shirt with that same print – a dressy kind of t-shirt.
Not sure if this design was a spin off of the Diver Down album – but it was pretty cool.
I am spending the rest of the day remembering this legend – who made the world so much better with his sweet guitar playing. Truly one of the best guitarist ever.
My favorite Van Halen song might be “Mean Street” – but so many of their songs – not all – but about 20 of their songs have special memories for me.
Here are some Van Halen memories
- I know the church steps I sat on when I first heard Jamie’s Crying – wearing headphones – early 80s- It was middle school and never heard anything like it!
- Sometimes as a joke – during the 1990s – during sucky seasons – I would sing, “Won’t you tell me, where have all the good times gone….?”
- Early 90s, my niece and I used to run down the street (after I took her for a fast food treat) and we’d sing parts of Van Halen songs – i.e., we would stop at a crack on the sidewalk and say, “…then I got to the edge / there I stood and looked down / you know I lost a lot of friends there baby / got no time to mess around.” – then we’d run and sing the next line – “yeah – you got to freeze for it baby…”
- Sometimes my husband and I will play a bunch of Van Halen songs and talk about them randomly – kind of like our own “Flashback Behind the Music” kind of thing. We have a joke about how God will open his robe to Marshall stacked speakers when it is time for Van Halen (not sure where the joke came from)- we also have looked up lines we got wrong – like this one from Unchained: sang it as “Momma never missed me til I got a vett anna dress” – but it is really this “Thought you’d never miss me ’til I got a Fat City address”
- Liked most songs on Fair Warning – especially “Mean Street” “Unchained” and “push comes to shove” –
- Not sure why – but here is a Van Halen lyric that comes up at random times: “…kinda like the way the line goes up the back of those stockings … “🎶🎶
- In high school – I liked a lot of diverse music – and rock was a top fav – In freshman year – I had to put “something” up in my locker – so while all my girlfriends had Duran Duran and The Outsiders posters – I had Eddie Van Halen with his guitar (he kept winning guitarist of the year and so colored posters were easy to get – but I never overdid it). I also had a photo of Eddie with Valerie Bertinelli (in a limo) and I had one of those “photo booth” photos of myself where I kind of looked like Valerie – I thought that was cool. — I never had a “fan crush” on Eddie though — just not my thing to do. And he also just seemed “old” – but still so cool! And by the way – Eddie passing away at 65 years of age might seem old – but in some ways it is not. Yet compared to Janis Joplin and Jimmy Hendrix – who both died at the age of 27 (and in this same month of October) the age of 65 is a nice full amount of years for a successful musician.
- There was a neighbor dude (J) from across the street – and one summer – early 80s – we sat outside a few nights talking (some readers might remember when my friend Darin died in 2016 – – well the same steps I sat on with Darin -) and J and I smoked cigarettes, talked, and laughed, while the silver boom box played low – triple shot weekend – bands like Boston – Pink Floyd – Def Leopard – and of course, Van Halen – and a top memory of those late night sits – was when we were singing “Ice Cream Man” (and seriously never thought about what the song meant via analogy).
- When I was really little, I recall seeing a 45 record of a Van Halen song and David Lee Roth’s photo was on the sleeve and he was doing the “Russian” jump (the complete open legs in the air) it was crazy – and the band was so unique.
- I can still recall where I was sitting in our basement when we were all waiting for the 1984 album to come out at midnight (I guess that was January 9th but I thought it was New Year’s Eve) anyhow – we counted down the hours and I got to stay up late with siblings – – we were initially disappointed with all the synthesizers – but then – so many songs jammed. I never liked “Hot for Teacher” but the song came up last month when I had a student named “Waldo” – instead – I liked “Drop Dead Legs” and “Top Jimmy” a bit more.
- The song “Panama” song was so overplayed it has been imprinted with many memories – for example – one memory brings me back to 1984-1985ish- sitting in this booth and Ron was getting ready to take a bite of a Mighty Taco burrito – but then he paused to sing that line, “Panama….!”- And years later — many of us would all remember the classic Panama line, “Reach down, in between my legs, and ease the seat back…”
- I have a crazy story about when I went to the 1984 Van Halen concert. This girl Angie and I were supposed to go together – then her parents told her she could not go. I took a bus alone and was a little late to the concert because of it. On my way into Memorial Auditorium (also called The Aud by folks from the Buffalo area) well on the way in to the concert – I crossed paths with an older teen that was throwing up – (tsk tsk – that teen partying) – I helped her a little and she gave me her ticket stub. The concert was just getting going and she insisted I use it – I was shocked it worked – that meant I could use my “scraped together” concert-ticket money for a concert shirt on the way out. The best part was because I came in so late – I was able to go down right onto the floor and I inched my way up to the front – I was about 12 feet away from the “1984” sign that illuminated the stage at the end. It sounds cheesy – but I think God gave me a “desire of my heart” with that entire experience – I know he kept me safe and I just felt really blessed and it meant so much to me at the time (and still does).
- This guy Freddie (Kim P’s boyfriend) in High School – was a little snarky with me one day because I didn’t know “all” of the Van Halen songs – just most of the hits – and there were dozens! But I remember his snarky comment (critical spirit at such a young age? ahhh – such is life)
- Sometime during the early to mid 80s, I was hanging out with my older sister and her friends and it took us all three hours to come back home from seeing fireworks for the 4th of July. I was squished In the back seat of this 1960s gas-guzzling, muscle car (now a collectable kinda car) The entire time, the radio played this live interview with members of Van Halen – the musicians talking about the songs and the producer (think it was Templeton) – it was quite the experience – it was my Van Halen Fourth of July.
- Some people think of me with Van Halen because of my locker that one year in High School – and they were sort of my favorite band for a while – but my truly favorite rock band came later – in 1987 – and it was Ratt. But Van Halen is on my top 20 list of bands from that era.
- A blog memory with Van Halen dates back to around 2014 when I made a video with some of my street shots – I met a nice fella who had an old blue Camaro (picture is below) and the music on the video I used was Van Halen’s “Mean Street” – which is a top Van Halen song for me (and um, the video I made – called a “Man and His Car” – got deleted – sniff )
- I never liked any of Sammy Hagar’s Van Halen music (but did like Hagar’s “Can’t Drive 55” song)
- The album “Woman and Children First” – with the awesome “Cradle will Rock” song and other jams is another special album to me – and it brought that unique Eddie “shredding” our way – here is how someone else put it as they talked about “Eddie’s early, crunchy Marshall sound. Throughout his career, Eddie has been responsible for some of the most legendary guitar tones in rock (Spinditty, January 2020).
- Tonight I was leaving a store with my spouse when he told me Eddie had passed away. It is now one of those episodic memories that will stay with me and the jacket I bought will be my Eddie jacket. Then I found myself here- in the ol’ blog community to share and connect.
- Special Thanks to John Shapiro for his Van Halen post earlier tonight – helped me with my own tribute to this very special guitar player. Goodbye Eddie and thanks for the music.
… what about you? Any Van Halen Memories come to mind? Did you have a favorite song from this band? And wasn’t it cool when he paired up with MJ on “Beat It”?