1979 – Van Halen II (album)

1979: Van Halen II

David Lee Roth & Edward Van Halen’s Guide To Van Halen II

“Linda Ronstadt’s doing all these other people’s tunes so we figured we’d do a Linda. (Leer) Which is about as close as any of us will ever get to doing Linda! The Van Halen version is a little more to the point, I think. It’s recorded almost totally live.”

Edward: “Only there’s no audience.”

Dave: “In the solo it sounds like Ed’s playing backwards – he invented this way to fool around with the neck. You’ll hear it all much better onstage.”

“That’s something we did in the studio. We just stuck it together one afternoon. The way we – dare I say it – compose is we stand around in a circle and hum at each other and go Hmmmmmm.”

Edward: “And we say; that sound’s good, let’s call it ‘Dance The Night Away’.”

Dave: “And Ed’s so good that we just hum at him and he’ll play it right even though you hummed it wrong. It came together real quick and has got a little cosmic cha-cha in the middle, with rhythm instruments and stuff. It’s definitely not disco, but it – makes you sway to the breeze.”

“That’s about the end of a weekend night, and at the end of the song it says, ‘somebody get me a shot’ and you can interpret that pretty easily. After that, in case you don’t understand, the next song’s called ‘BOTTOM’S UP’ and that goes both ways too. (You may remember it as the encore on their last tour). It’s an American toast, or the end of a Saturday night once again – like (dirty chuckle) everybody let us assume the position. “There is a serious part in the middle – well, I don’t know if there’s any serious parts left in this band – where the music drops out and I start singing and Mike (Anthony) comes in and we sing some harmonies. And we’re having a good time and I start laughing and sang totally off-key, then Mike started laughing too and we just left it on. “Cause I think Van Halen is like normal in the sense of spilling over the edge, especially in ‘Bottom’s Up’. You know the T.V. commercial, how they always pour the beer perfectly and the foam comes right to the top of the glass and exactly one third of the glass is foam? No-one can pour a beer like that. It foams all over the table and ruins the tablecloth. And that’s life. That’s the way we are.”

Dave: “As in ‘walking out’. The chorus goes, ‘you’re talking ’bout your leaving but I don’t wanna hear that talk/You stare in disbelief at me as I just up and walk – outta love.’ The message there is pretty simple. But it’s supersonic sounding – different from any kind of rock tune I’ve heard in a long long time. We call it supersonic rock because it’s not any kind of real beat that you’re familiar with in Big Rock music. It’s all live, no overdubs. It starts out with Edward’s guitar in an… ”

Edward: ” …impersonation of the attack of The Fly.”

Dave: “There’s a connection there somewhere. It’s very deep.”

Edward: “It’s what goes through your mind when you’re out of love.”

“The song that opens up our live show. It goes, ‘I watched my television and I almost lost my mind, I had to leave it all behind, and get up and light up the skies’ whatever that means for anybody. It’s like getting high – it’s different for everybody. What does it mean to light up the sky? I don’t know and I wrote the words. But it sure means it! “Then I do my Bee Gee impersonation for 12 bars in the middle, which comes out vaguely rusty sounding. I flunked the audition.”

“Edward’s solo, which sound a lot like Flamenco plugged into a wall socket. In the middle it sounds like someone speeded up the album to 45 all of a sudden, but this guy does it live.”

“This can mean any number of things. Dead on arrival or dead or alive. We sing it dead or alive – ’cause I’m the loner, I’m out on the highways, I’m wanted D.O.A.! A lot of kids can relate to that. As a matter of fact a lot of parents can relate to that. It appeals to the fugitive in everybody.”

“It’s your basic lesbian song.”

Dave: “We leave it up in the air. It could be about losing a girl to another guy, or losing her to another girl, so you have to listen very carefully rock fans, and you won’t know anyway, but that never hurt Hendrix and it’ll put a quick seven cents in my pocket! That one’s live too – everything. But we’re getting better at doing our thing so it sounds like more people. Edward’s singing a lot more on this second album than ever before, which fills out the sound and beats the need for keyboards.”

“The last one on the album. You can sum up these songs best by listening to the music, because the words came from the music. That way if you’re in Japan or France or somewhere where you can’t understand a word of English you’ll know exactly, or close to, what we’re singing and playing about. ‘You’re No Good’ sounds like somebody telling you you’re no good, it sounds like anxiety, man, high tension. “‘Beautiful Girls’ sounds like beautiful girls, and Ed and Mike get to do the little chorus in the background going ‘shoobee doobee doobee’. The lyrics go, ‘I’m a bum in the sun an’ I’m having fun and you know I got no special plans; all I need is the woman’ and it ends up with a kiss. Definitely not lightweight!”

ANOTHER Van Halen World Vacation of gargantuan proportions is planned to promote Volume II, probably bringing them to Britain by early summer. “We’re going to travel like fiends”, says Roth, noting that this time they’ll be headlining most places “and I can do anything I want now, which my parents always thought was a mistake.” To keep on their feet under such arduous touring they have to keep to a strict regimen involving a great deal of self-discipline. “First thing you got to pay attention to is your diet. First you’ve got to have a lot of burgers and you got to wash them down with a lot of sugar, that means Coke and 7-up and alcohol. And if you leave your diet for even one day you’re going to ruin your stomach and your mental attitude and everything. The other day we had to go to luncheon and they took us to this health food place. And I had a health salad and I passed out at the table. It took two chilli dogs and a candy bar to revive me. “Second is sleep. You can never approach going to sleep as going to sleep. It’s naps. At six o’clock in the morning after you’ve had lunch you have your after-the-lunch nap. You never get your eight hours. As for suntans – well, next. You approach it as every day is Saturday and every night is New Years Eve – write that down.” No hype. To celebrate the end of a 10 month tour, Van Halen held a party that lasted ten days. “That with road dose vitamins, which roughly means six times as much of everything, and you keep your attitude together. Rock and roll is attitude, burgers, naps and vitamins. Exercise you get everynight onstage de-luxe! I drop three pounds of water every night onstage. I’m one wet boy! “Van Halen’s a very physical band. We look like we sound. If you look like you’ve got a Martini and a cigarette holder you should sound like that and vice-versa. I think Van Halen sounds very energised and physical.” So do the women who clamour for his body down the front, and who he encourages to “froth at the mouth and foam up onto the stage and we’ll make the sun rise for all of them.” Now that’s an offer you can’t refuse. When the band come to Britain you’ll see a whole new show from last year “from the guitar straps down to the shoe laces – we’ve got a new road manager, new clothes, new guitars and amp walls and I’ve got some better pants than before – they’re bad. We got short attitude spans and we hope you have too because then we can relate better. “We’re here to kick off the 80s”, Dave Lee Roth gets his final words in as I go to the rescue of my tape recorder. “The 80s are coming and we’re going to be the soundtrack. We’re here to blow the bugles and jump on the horns and whistle it all in and usher it down the road and round the stretch and across the finish line.” © Sylvie Simmons, 1979 Citation (Harvard format) Van Halen/1979/Sylvie Simmons/Sounds/Van Halen/21/01/2016 06:00:18/http://www.rocksbackpages.com/Library/Article/van-halen-2

Released: Mar 23, 1979

Source: Wikipedia
Van Halen II is the second album by  Van Halen, released in 1979. It peaked at #6 on the Billboard charts and spawned the singles “Dance the Night Away” and “Beautiful Girls”. To date, it has sold over five million copies in the U.S. Critical reaction to the album has been positive as well, with the The Rolling Stone Album Guide praising the feel-good, party atmosphere of the songs.
The actual recording of the album took place less than a year after the release of the band’s eponymous debut album; the process was completed in three weeks.[6] Many of the songs on Van Halen II have been known to exist prior to the release of the first album, and are present (in various forms) on the demos recorded in 1976 by KISS’ Gene Simmons and ’77 byTed Templeman, including an early version of “Beautiful Girls” (then known as “Bring on the Girls”) and “Somebody Get Me a Doctor”. (The album version is only slightly different than the demo versions).

Background and recording

Recording of the album happened at Sunset Studio less than a year after the release of the band’s eponymous debut album.[2] Recording of the album began on December 10, 1978, just one week after completing their first world tour, and was complete within a week.[3] The band used a Putnam 610 console to record the album, similar to the console Eddie installed in his home studio in 1983.[3] Many of the songs on Van Halen II are known to have existed prior to the release of the first album, and are present on the demos recorded in 1976 by Gene Simmons and in 1977 by Ted Templeman, including an early version of “Beautiful Girls” (then known as “Bring On the Girls”) and “Somebody Get Me a Doctor.”[4] On the third try of the photo shoot for David Lee Roth‘s spread-eagle jump, which was used on the back cover, Roth landed sideways and broke a bone in his right foot.[3]

Artwork and packaging

The black-and-yellow guitar on the back of the album known as “Bumblebee” is buried with Pantera guitarist Dimebag Darrell, who was killed December 8, 2004. Eddie Van Halen placed it in his Kiss Kasket at his funeral because Darrell had said it was his favorite.[5] However, Eddie himself stated in interviews that the guitar itself was not actually used on the Van Halen II album, as it had only been completed just in time for the photo shoots for the album. David Lee Roth is shown in a cast in the inner liner notes, as he allegedly broke his heel making the leap also seen in the picture on the back cover art.[6]

In the liner notes, The Sheraton Inn of Madison, Wisconsin is thanked. On Van Halen’s first tour, they stayed at the hotel and destroyed the seventh floor, having fire extinguisher fights in the hallways and throwing televisions out windows. They blamed the incidents on their tour-mates at the time, Journey.[7]

Critical reception

In a 1979 Rolling Stone review, Timothy White writes, “Scattered throughout Van Halen’s second album are various Vanilla Fudge bumps and grinds, an Aerosmith-derived pseudobravado, a bit of Bad Company basement funk and even a few Humble Pie miniraveups,” adding that the “LP retains a numbing live feel.”[13] In a retrospective review, Stephen Thomas Erlewine from AllMusic rates Van Halen II 4 stars out of 5. He notes the album is “virtually a carbon copy of their 1978 debut,” though goes on to say it is “lighter and funnier” and “some of the grandest hard rock ever made.” Erlewine praises Eddie’s “phenomenal gift” and Roth’s “knowing shuck and jive.”[14]

Commercial performance

It reached #6 on the Billboard 200 charts[15] and #23 on the UK charts.[16] Van Halen II was certified 5× Platinum in 2004. About 5.7 million records have been sold in the United States as of 2004. [17] In 2000, Van Halen II was remastered and re-released.[18]

Track listing

All tracks are written by Eddie Van HalenAlex Van HalenMichael Anthony and David Lee Roth, except where noted.


Van Halen


  • Corey Bailey – engineering
  • Dave Bhang – artwork and design, art direction
  • Jim Fitzpatrick – engineer
  • Gregg Geller – remastering
  • Elliot Gilbert – photography
  • Donn Landee – engineer
  • Jo Motta – project coordinator
  • Ted Templeman – production
  • Neil Zlozower – photography

Check out VHND’s great Van Halen II album page

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