In recent days, news or rumors of the original lineup of Van Halen getting back together has sparked nostalgia in the hearts of fans everywhere.
Sources from Katsfm.com to Q93.fm, have reported the almost news. All of the headlines come with a question mark, but the very idea of David Lee Roth, Eddie Van Halen, Michael Anthony and Alex Van Halen appearing onstage together is too good to be true for some people.
The reunion is set to happen in 2019. When Vulture interviewed Roth in 2018, the singer allegedly hinted at his band playing in stadiums. Other groups would be invited to play at the tour’s shows, including Jason Aldean and The Foo Fighters, among others. But will it happen?
Van Halen tour rumors and false hope
Roth left Van Halen in 1984, and by 1985, had a successful solo career. In the 1990s, there was talk of a reunion, but that tour never happened.
So now that the rumors are rearing their heads again, they are filling fans with hope, quickly followed by misgivings. There is a saying for this: Once bitten, twice shy.
But the rumor persists from source to source, so maybe there is some substance to the idea of a tour this time? And, if there is a tour, what will the Van Halen set sound like? As of yet, there are no talks of new material having been written, so it is likely the band will play the hits that made the band the icons they have become.
Van Halen: hard rock tastemakers
For people interested in the history of hard rock and glam metal, Van Halen is credited with starting glam metal. The persistent party, the clothes that were Spandex, leather, and sometimes denim. And styled longhair – – all of these elements created a look (in the 1970s) that would remain in style until the late 1980s.
The look is one thing, the sound is another. Arguably, no band sounds like Van Halen. The bomping drums wherein a heavy beat has more than a hint of inner shimmer. Eddie Van Halen’s guitar work has its own legacy. Then, there was Roth’s voice. At once earnest and sneering, he brought to life lyrics about women and nightlife. He created a world that millions of youth grew to want to inhabit.
Certain songs have a specific Van Halen stamp. “Ain’t Talkin’ ‘Bout Love” and “Unchained” and symbolize the hard rock ethos that Van Halen is appreciated for.
“Ain’t Talkin’ ‘Bout Love” by Van Halen
“Ain’t Talkin’ ‘Bout Love” is from Van Halen’s debut self-titled album. “Van Halen” was released Oct. 25, 1978. “Ain’t Talkin’ “Bout Love” begins with a heavy, nuanced guitar riff. In short order, the classic Van Halen elements kick in. The music essentially sounds kinetic. The song is off and running.
The lyrics are vague, but fun to quote and sing. The song’s tone is unkind. Someone is “semi-good looking” and “on the streets again.” In the chorus, Roth declares his “love is rotten to the core.” This is not a love song. The hedonism that would mark the glam metal scene in the 1980s Sunset Strip is in some ways embodied in this song.
“Unchained”: Van Halen
“Unchained” comes close to epitomizing the Van Halen sound and ethos. The song is found on the band’s 1981 album, “Fair Warning.” The lyrics depict the singer’s willingness to live life to the fullest and by rules that he created for himself: “I don’t ask for permission, this is my chance to fly.”
Lyrics of rebellious freedom are coupled with a driving sound led by the guitar made “Unchained” a darling for album-oriented rock stations. Today, classic rock stations play the song regularly.
While “Ain’t Talkin’ ‘Bout Love” and “Unchained” are just two songs, they represent a fraction of what Van Halen offers its listeners. If fans will get to hear and see the original lineup again remains to be seen.