40th Anniversary of Van Halen’s Debut Album
The 11-track collection helped introduce the world to the hard-rock legends: shrieking, high-kicking and irreverently funny singer David Lee Roth, fast-fingered and inventive guitarist Eddie Van Halen, hard-pounding drummer Alex Van Halen and fluid bassist Michael Anthony, who also provided soaring backing vocals.
While the album peaked at a modest #19 on the Billboard 200, and featured only one top 40 hit -- an inspired cover of The Kinks' "You Really Got Me" -- it's packed with songs that have become staples on classic-rock radio. They include "Runnin' with the Devil," "Ain't Talkin' 'bout Love," "Jamie's Cryin'," "Ice Cream Man" and "Eruption."
The latter track is an instrumental that features what many consider to be one of the greatest rock guitar solos ever, with Eddie Van Halen showcasing his trademark "finger-tapping" technique, which has influenced countless other guitar players.
In 1989, rapper Tone Loc scored a #2 hit with "Wild Thing," which featured an uncredited sample of "Jamie's Cryin'." The band sued and settled out of court for $180,000.
The Van Halen album has gone on to earn a Diamond certification for selling more than 10 million copies in the U.S., making one of the 10 best-selling albums ever by a rock band.