Van Halen is the debut studio album by American rock band Van Halen. Released on February 10, 1978, the album initially peaked at #19 on the US Billboard Albums Chart, en route to selling over ten million copies in the US alone by 1999, (RIAA diamond status.) [6]

Van Halen contains many of Van Halen's signature songs, including "Runnin' with the Devil", the guitar solo "Eruption", the The Kinks cover "You Really Got Me", "Ain't Talkin' 'bout Love", "Jamie's Cryin'", and "Ice Cream Man". Each of these songs remains a staple of rock radio.[7]


 [hide*1 Packaging and artwork

Packaging and artwork[edit]Edit

The album cover photos were taken at the Whisky a Go Go, a Los Angeles club at which Van Halen often performed during the mid-1970s. The guitar pictured on the cover of the album is Edward Van Halen's famous Frankenstrat Guitar, a Fender prototype replica of which is now housed in the Smithsonian Institute. Assembled by Eddie in his parents' garage, the "Frankenstrat" features a neck purchased from Boogie Bodies and a Stratocaster style body custom made by Wayne Charvel in California.[8]


Shortly after its release, Van Halen became regarded as one of rock and roll's greatest debut albums, by both fans and critics; however, on its immediate release in February 1978 – much like Led Zeppelin's eponymous debut – Van Halen met with mostly negative reviews from rock critics. In 1978, music critic Robert Christgaufacetiously wrote, "the term ['bar band'] becomes honorific when the music belongs in a bar. This music belongs on an aircraft carrier."[9] In May 1978, Rolling Stonecritic Charles M. Young wrote, "Mark my words: in three years, Van Halen is going to be fat and self-indulgent and disgusting, and they'll follow Deep Purple and Led Zeppelin right into the toilet. In the meantime, they are likely to be a big deal." [10]

In a retrospective review for AllmusicStephen Thomas Erlewine said that Van Halen signified "an epochal generation shift, like [the debut albums of] Led ZeppelinThe RamonesThe Rolling Stones, or Never Mind the Bollocks, Here's the Sex Pistols. The still-amazing thing about Van Halen is how it sounds like it has no fathers... Like all great originals Van Halen doesn't seem to belong to the past and it still sounds like little else, despite generations of copycats." [11] In 2003, one major publication that slammed Van Halen's debut, Rolling Stone, listed it among The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time (at #415.) [12] Guitar World readers ranked it #7 on a list of the Greatest Guitar Albums of All Time.[13]

Rolling Stone has listed this album as number 27 out of the 100 Best Debut Albums of All Time. [14]

Track listing[edit]Edit

All songs written and composed by Eddie Van HalenAlex Van HalenMichael Anthony and David Lee Roth, except where noted. 

Side A
No. Title Length
1. "Runnin' with the Devil"   3:36
2. "Eruption(Instrumental) 1:43
3. "You Really Got Me(Ray Davies) 2:38
4. "Ain't Talkin' 'bout Love"   3:50
5. "I'm the One"   3:47
Side B
No. Title Length
1. "Jamie's Cryin'"   3:31
2. "Atomic Punk"   3:02
3. "Feel Your Love Tonight"   3:43
4. "Little Dreamer"   3:23
5. "Ice Cream Man" (John Brim) 3:20
6. "On Fire"   3:01


Band members[edit]Edit


Charts and certifications[edit]Edit

In 1999, Van Halen's eponymous debut was re-certified by the RIAA for selling ten million copies in the US alone.[15] One of only six rock bands to release two RIAA diamond status albums, Van Halen remains one of Van Halen's two best-selling albums, along with 1984.[6]

Van Halen, like Van Halen's other David Lee Roth-era albums – excepting Van Halen II, which was re-certified in 2004, to coincide with the promotion of a Warner Bros. Records greatest hits collection – was last brought by Warner Bros. Records to the RIAA for re-certification in 1999. The band's split with Warner Brothers in 2002, and subsequent agreement with Interscope has eliminated Warner Brothers' incentive for paying the [relatively substantial] fee to promote Van Halen's back-catalog by having its albums re-certified. Despite lack of re-certification, Van Halen's 1978 debut has continued to sell prolifically, re-appearing numerous times on the Billboard 200 and Billboard Top Pop Catalog Albums charts, as recently as 2012.[16][17]


Billboard (North America)

Year Chart Position
1978 Pop Albums[18] 19
1984 The Billboard 200 117


Billboard (North America)

Year Single Chart Position
1978 "You Really Got Me" Pop Singles 36
1978 "Runnin' with the Devil" Pop Singles 84
1978 "Ain't Talkin' 'bout Love"


Region Certification Sales/shipments
Canada (Music Canada)[19] 4× Platinum 400,000^
Finland (Musiikkituottajat)[20] Gold 25,305[20]
France (SNEP)[21] Gold 100,000
Germany (BVMI)[22] Gold 250,000^
United Kingdom (BPI)[23] Gold 100,000^
United States (RIAA)[24] 10× Platinum 10,000,000^

  • sales figures based on certification alone ^shipments figures based on certification alone

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