Now for a personal disclosure: despite all the rock pretensions of simultanously liking Captain Beefheart, Electric Wizard and the Foals I hereby confesss that Van Halen are probably my favourite rock band of all time, I am sure i am not alone in this !
Here is my attempt to list their best ten songs: as usual this is my list, not the list, but controversy is always good.
1. Dreams (from 5150)
Sorry, can't help it, no Diamond dave, Eddie on synthesiser, but i can't stop listening to this one, it's on the top of itunes list for most played song (what a confession)
2. You Really Got Me (Van Halen I)
Ok that's more like it, first heard this at 14 or so, could'nt believe the power involved, the miraculous voice, incredible
3. Unchained (Fair Warning)
Wow ! Pure Van Halen, turbo rock that could still be played on the radio.
4. Hot for Teacher (1984)
What a great intro, they looked like hair metal but still played proper rock and roll
5. Fire in the Hole (Van Halen III)
Their least succesful album with Gary Cherone on vocals, but this song rates with the best work they have ever done
6. Eruption (Van Halen)
Proof that Eddie was the hendrix of his generation; it goes like this, Robert Johnson begets Chuck Berry, Chuck Berry begets hendrix, Hendrix begets Eddie Van Halen
7. Oh Pretty Woman (Diver Down)
Another great intro, better than the original (well that may be sacrelege)
8. Poundcake (Unlawful Carnal Knowledge)
Eddie uses a power drill to augment his guitar sound, not the first to do it, Billy Sheehan was the first
9. And the Cradle Will Rock (Women and Children First)
First time Eddie played keyboards
10. Running With the Devil (Van Halen I)
This used to be my #1 but i have listened to it too much, it needs abit of a break
Image: Courtesy Warner Bros