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.
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.