I’m going to combine two old passions into one blog here. I loved me some Van Halen in the 1980’s until I met them in the early 1990’s. Then not as much, but still there is sentimentality in my love of that music.
Look at my mullet circa 1993
One of the things most people don’t know about is a little seen 1984 film called THE WILD LIFE written and directed by Cameron Crowe (Jerry McGuire) starring Eric Stoltz, Christopher Penn (rest in peace big man!), Lea Thompson, and a musical score written and performed by Eddie Van Halen. The official soundtrack only contained a single song from this score, called DONUT CITY, a very soundalike track for Loverboy’s TURN ME LOOSE.
Within the score, which included :12 second transitional instrumentals either on keyboard or guitar, one song gained a great deal of recognition, but in another film entirely. The “song” that is actually just guitar noises that crescendo into a drum hitting ditty was used 1 year later in BACK TO THE FUTURE where people mistakenly think that song was written for.
Elsewhere in the score are early versions of prominent Van Halen (Van Hagar?) songs like RIGHT HERE RIGHT NOW, GOOD ENOUGH, and depending on your ability to recognize chord progressions, DREAMS played on the JUMP synthesizer during the entire end credits.
Now, Van Halen has recorded a new album with David Lee Roth. One of the tracks, BLOOD AND FIRE had a ring of familiarity and I could not place it. Then it occurred to me that I knew the song very well from the verses because it was an instrumental used from the WILD LIFE soundtrack, now officially known as “RIPLEY”. So for those curious about the “new” Van Halen album, know that the sound and songs are very much rooted in their 1980’s compositions and style. From what I gather, several of the other tracks are from their original 1970’s demo tapes recorded by Gene Simmons of KISS before signing with Warner Brothers Records.
Unfortunately, the treatment of bassist Anthony Michaels prevents me from ever going to see Van Halen in concert. No offense to Wolfgang, but disrespecting someone as they have their former bassist doesn’t deserve any level of success.