Classic Songs to Be Discovered, Derivative Works, Influenced, Music, My Stories

Less Talked About EVH Songs – Part 3

The “Best Of, Volume 1” was released in 1996.

It had three new tracks in “Humans Being”, “Can’t Get This Stuff No More” and “Me Wise Magic”.

Well “Humans Being” wasn’t a new track but if you didn’t have the Twister movie soundtrack from the same year, then you didn’t have the song.

“Humans Being” has an interesting conception but there’s no denying that from divisiveness between band members, a decent song can come out of it. Just ask the Dokken guys.

The intro riff grabs me immediately and when it is played distorted you get a sense of the anger.

That solo.

How much bend can EVH get from those strings?

And there’s a crappy 3 minute version doing the rounds which should be deleted because you can’t edit a VH song, even the unrestrained VH3 songs.

A demo called “Backdoor Shuffle” from the “Balance” sessions provided the foundation for “Can’t Get This Stuff No More”. And it’s got a lot of EVH’s unique guitar decorating, over basic chord progressions plus I like the 12/8 timing which gives the song its shuffle feel.

You can hear in the three tracks on this compilation, the embryo of VH3. Each song is over the 5 minute mark. I guess there was no negotiating from EVH on editing here.

“Me Wise Magic” became a US hit for the band. The intro riff has the ringing open E and open B notes over changing power chords. It’s catchy, like Alex Lifeson catchy and enough to get me interested.

“Do you believe?”

Yes I do believe.

Van Halen “III” is the black sheep of the VH family.

But there’s no denying the riffs on the album.

Check out “One I Want”. It’s classic EVH from the Hagar era.

The intro riffage for “From Afar”. Its hooky and addictive. The sexy groove from “Dirty Water Dog” in the intro. And in the verses it’s like “Finish What Ya Started”.

“Once” sounds like a song from a Stan Bush soundtrack. Remember him. “The Touch” from Transformers comes to mind. “Fire In The Hole” is EVH paying homage to his AC/DC influences.

But my favourite is “Year to the Day”.

As soon as the finger picked intro starts I’m hooked. It’s a mixture of classical, jazz and blues. A perfect fusion made to sound so pleasant by the mastery of EVH.

And that Chorus hook!

There’s no way you can listen to it and not be moved.

That solo is one of my favorites because it’s really just EVH and AVH jamming as Michael Anthony was restricted to playing bass on three tracks. And when the outro solo kicks in, I’m not complaining at all.

VH3 is the type of album an artist writes as they get older. It’s almost experimental fusion within a hard rock context.

The “Best of Both Worlds” compilation was released in 2004 and it had three new tracks with Sammy Hagar on vocals.

“It’s About Time”, “Up for Breakfast” and “Learning to See”.

The intro riff to “Its About Time” had me all in. “Up For Breakfast” starts off with that same synth tone that “Why Can’t This Be Love” used. And although Sammys lyrics don’t connect with me, the riffs did.

“Learning To See” has a Chorus riff which makes me pick up the guitar and play it. Plus that heavy ending.

And there was a break. Then DLR returned. The end result was “A Different Kind of Truth”, an album made up of reworked old riffs, some new riffs and melodies with new lyrics chucked in. It’s an album I didn’t really appreciate at the time.

“Tattoo” has that sexy groove that EVH is known for. And DLR has Elvis on his elbow, who talks when his elbow moves.

“She’s the Woman” is WVH turn to shine. That bass is rumbling and grooving.

“Chinatown” is a modern day “Get Up”.

That solo on “Blood And Fire”.

It’s burning and melodic and knowing that EVH is gone, it’s sad to know that I’ll never hear that kind of creative fury again.

“As Is” and that tapped solo which reminds me of “Flying High Again”.

And the “Gates Of Babylon” screams out at me when “Honeysweetiedoll” begins, but EVH is unique in his phrasing and improvisation to make it unique and DLR is just unique.

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Classic Songs to Be Discovered, Derivative Works, Influenced, Music, My Stories

Less Talked About EVH Songs – Part 2

“5150” achieved what “1984” couldn’t.

The Billboard Number 1 spot.

Actually all of the Sammy Hagar albums achieved what the David Lee Roth albums couldn’t.

Then again DLR needed to contend with Michael Jackson and “Thriller” and Adele with “21”. Two genre skipping albums that became cultural must haves.

And songs like “Why Can’t This Be Love”, “Best of Both Worlds”, “Dreams” and “Summer Nights” take up most of the press and listens but it’s tracks like “Good Enough” and “Get Up” which get me really interested.

And they are the least played live while “Inside” has never been performed live.

Check out the head banging riff on “Good Enough” after Sammy screams “Hello Baby” and then go to the speed rock of “Get Up”.

Coming into “OU812”, I wasn’t sold on “When It’s Love” and “Finish What Ya Started” but tracks like “Mine All Mine”, “Source Of Infection” and “A.F.U. (Naturally Wired)” definitely got me.

Especially “A.F.U. (Naturally Wired)”.

A.F.U kicks off with a groove funk beat while EVH does some guitar arpeggios. And then it really kicks in, with EVH playing a chromatic bluesy riff which then has some passing notes chucked in so EVH can transition to those verses.

And how good are those verses?

It’s like two different songs in a song as the Chorus riff and Verse riff are not meant to be together. But EVH makes em work.

Then there’s that metal riff in the section before the solo which makes me pick up the guitar to learn it.

And the solo, no overdubs or backing guitars, just drums, bass and EVH wailing away.

Then came “For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge” and a return to more distortion and an acoustic drum kit for AVH after his previous two albums electronic drum kit experiment.

“Right Now” was a song that EVH felt strongly about to finish on his own as the band members didn’t like it. “Top of the World” is a song that EVH dislikes but finished off because the band members liked it. And these two songs have appeared the most in their concert setlists with Hagar.

“Runaround” and “Poundcake” had radio and TV play as singles.

But it’s tracks like “Judgement Day” that got me head banging.

Just listen to that verse riff?

And that bluesy like solo!!

“The Dream Is Over” is another song with some good EVH riffage (and Sammy Hagar sings a catchy pop chorus) along with the funky “Spanked”.

And there was a break for a few years before “Balance” came out, which Sammy Hagar said was a difficult record to do but to me it has some bone crushing EVH riffs.

“The Seventh Seal” and “Don’t Tell Me (What Love Can Do)” crunch away, while “Amsterdam” and “Big Fat Money” bring the fun and “Can’t Stop Lovin’ You” brings the pop with “Feelin” and “Not Enough” rounding out the ballads.

But it’s “Aftershock” that got me really interested from the first listen. It has so much guitar in it, every section is inspiring to play but my favourite part of the song is the Bridge part.

Just listen to it.

And the Bad Company/Zeppelin III/Beatles influenced “Take Me Back” also got me interested.

For an album that both Hagar and EVH found difficult to do, the songs don’t show it.

The Cherone album, the songs on the Best off albums and the DLR return album are coming up next.

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A to Z of Making It, Copyright, Music, My Stories

We Are All Copyists

The way we improve as humans is by finding a better way of doing things. It is very rare that we improve as humans by doing something from scratch. So in other words we copy what we see and we improve upon it. We do that from the day we are born.

The whole English rock movement in the sixties was born from copying the blues and folk movements and improving on them.

Keith Richards even went on to say that you can’t copyright the blues as all of the blues standards were copied over and over again so that thousands of derivative works existed.

Deep Purple built a career on taking certain sections from jazz standards that Jon Lord knew and turning them into rock songs.

Led Zeppelin built a career on taking certain sections from other obscure songs and turning them into definitive masterpieces.

Black Sabbath had their roots in blues, classical and jazz. They borrowed from those genres. Listen to Bill Ward’s drumming on the early records. It’s almost got a swing, jazz feel to it.

Metallica initially built a career on taking certain sections from obscure New Wave Of British Metal acts and turning them into thrash metal masterpieces. For the self-titled BLACK album, the lead off track “Enter Sandman” has an intro that is copied and improved on from a local Californian band.

It is human nature that we are always looking at ways to improve. And copying something that came before, and then adding incremental improvements to it is how we do it. I see it in my children. In how they take things in, how they learn and how they copy things and add their own unique touch to it.

In the music that we listen to there are always elements of copying. And that, really, is what happens all the time.

Copying is there and it has made a lot of people upset over the last 40 years. I always love it when a musician says “the songs are like my children”. I have children and there is no chance I can use that analogy.

One thing I do know is that copying is a key ingredient in the process of creating new works and it is a shame that the corporations that owe the majority of the copyrights are destroying this culture so that they can protect their bottom lines.

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