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February 2018 Retro Gaming Article


February 10, 2018 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Van Halen's first album, released in 1978, turns 40 today

I discovered Van Halen in 1981, but still find it hard to believe their amazing debut album was released in the '70s!
In the early 80s, Van Halen was a constant part of our lives. We cranked it up at home and in the car. I remember so many trips to Nathan's Arcade and the Electric Playhouse where we had Van Halen blasting. It was how life was meant to be lived!

Van Halen's first album We tend to label each decade as delivering a certain style of music. There are many great bands that come to mind when I think of "bands from the 1970s". It was a defining era, but Van Halen's music I associate with the 80s scene. I'm sure this has much to do with me personally and how I define musical eras. Still I find it amazing that Van Halen debuted in '78!

This debut album - Van Halen -redefined rock'n roll for my friends and I. The sheer power and prowess behind tracks like Atomic Punk and their You Really Got Me cover was like nothing we'd ever heard.

Eddie's guitar skills shocked us. He didn't compare to any of the guitar heroes we'd heard of. Eruption would become an obsession for those of us who played guitar.

I still remember the day I went to a friend's house after school and Diver Down was the monthly selection from Columbia House's Record Club - and there it was! We tore into the cardboard box and plunked the vinyl disc onto his turntable and sat back reveling in new Van Halen music!

I was somewhat of a purist and ended my passion with 1984 and the concert we saw. I admired Sammy Hagar, but he wasn't "van halen" to me. Later on, I went back to that era and am glad to have revisited those albums and ones more recently released. As I grew up, I looked at musical evolution as part of a story - a story I hand't realized as a teen. Each element of that story was a part of what made the band continue and thrive.

As I look back at all the CDs I've collected over the decades, I see "holes" in that collection from bands I loved, still love, but can't figure out why I began missing later album releases. The internet is the primary reason I'm more musically aware. I wonder if I missed a lot of great album releases simply by not going to record sores at the right times. These days I'm delighted to see new released from bands I've loved since childhood!

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