Top 10 David Lee Roth Songs
The following list of the top David Lee Roth songs proves wrong anybody who thought the flamboyant Van Halen frontman wouldn't be capable of buckling down and creating his own successful music after his 1985 breakup from that legendary band. As we wrap up a week devoted to rock 'n' roll's favorite eternal bachelor, (oh, and you can also check out this playlist on Spotify), here's our choices for the Top 10 David Lee Roth Songs:
‘A Lil’ Ain’t Enough’
Choosing the top David Lee Roth song from his third album, 1991's 'A Little Ain't Enough, was a tough call. The barn-burning 'It's Showtime!,' and several others deserve attention on this under-appreciated record, but the massive, infectious chorus of the title track, which seems to sum up Roth's attitude on life pretty nicely, ultimately wins out.
‘She’s My Machine’
By the time this song came out, on 1994's 'Your Filthy Little Mouth,' Roth's solo career had lost much of its steam. Which is a shame, because he and producer Nile Rodgers (of Chic fame) came up with a catchy and musically (if not lyrically) sophisticated bass-heavy rumble together on this song.
“Diamond” Dave shows his earnestly sentimental side on this surprisingly unadorned ballad. Steve Vai's vaguely eastern-sounding guitar gently chimes along as Roth reminisces about the good times he had with old friends (Van Halen?), then wishes them well and declares he's off to make brand new memories with his current gang.
‘Just a Gigolo / I Ain’t Got Nobody’
Following in the footsteps of legendary New Orleans singer Louis Prima, David Lee Roth blends two standards in a medley detailing the ups and downs of the single life on this self-deprecating (and yet somehow celebratory) second single from his 1985 'Crazy from the Heat' EP.
‘Ladies’ Night in Buffalo?’
Creatively speaking, this late-night tale of loneliness in a cold city from 1986's 'Eat 'Em and Smile' is perhaps one of the top David Lee Roth songs of all time. As his all-star band turns the burner down to “simmer,” Roth sings of chance encounters between damaged, jaded lovers in a restrained, hushed voice.
The dated, robotic synth-bass line and generally overdone pop production of 'Stand Up' offer some clues as to why bassist Billy Sheehan looked for a new job after recording 1988's 'Skyscraper.' Still, it's nearly impossible to deny the catchy hooks in this seductive guilty pleasure of a self-help anthem.
The highlight of 'Eat 'Em and Smile''s brilliantly sequenced second half, 'Big Trouble' finds Steve Vai's guitar tastefully restrained, as if roaring from a distance. Meanwhile, Roth lets loose with a classic tall tale about hero worship featuring none other than, you guessed it, Mighty Mouse.
Now, if you get right down to it, all David Lee Roth really did here was invite the whole world into his Beach Boys karaoke party for a few minutes. Still, as events like this go, we're gonna quote the film 'Trading Places:' “It was a stone groove, my man!”
David Lee Roth came flying out of the chute on this, his first proper solo single. In a ballsy attempt to one-up his former band, Roth hired a guitar whiz and a bassist who liked to play in the same virtuosic style, then let them try to outdo each other while he set out trying to modernize the national anthem.
‘Just Like Paradise’
While his first solo album found him nobly resisting the siren's call of keyboard-rock (which had, after all, served him so well both on Van Halen's '1984' and his own covers EP), 'Just Like Paradise,' one of David Lee Roth's top-charting songs ever, finds him giving into the temptation. We'd be mad at him if the tune wasn't so gosh-darn catchy, as it features perhaps the strongest melody he ever recorded on his own.