Thirty years ago in February 1978, Van Halen released their self-titled album, and it would turn the rock world upside down, bringing forth a whole new sound, along with a new guitar hero (Eddie Van Halen) and charismatic frontman (David Lee Roth).
The album featured of Van Halen’s classic tunes. They include the opener “Runnin’ with the Devil” (which kicks off the album with one of the most famous bass lines in music history), the awe-inspiring guitar solo “Eruption”, and the explosive cover of the Kinks’ “You Really Got Me”. Each of those tracks became staples on rock radio, along with other tracks including “Jamie’s Cryin’”, “Ain’t Talkin’ About Love”, and “On Fire”.
Like so many hard rock debut albums in the 1960s and 1970s, Van Halen’s debut album was mostly panned by critics upon its release, including those from Rolling Stone Magazine, whose comments included that Van Halen’s music should “be played only on a aircraft carrier”. Even so, while the album wasn’t a hit with critics in 1978, it was with the fans. They helped bring the album into the top twenty on the album charts, and by the late 1990s, it has sold over ten million copies in the U.S. alone. And eventually, critical reception came around, and now Van Halen’s debut album is regarded as one of the greatest rock albums of all time, as well as a “game-changer” for the rock world.
Rock and Roll Hall of Fame: Van Halen, inducted in 2007.