Van Halen, ‘Best of Both Worlds’ – Lyrics Uncovered
Sammy Hagar sings of the satisfaction and joy he found as the new lead singer of Van Halen in 'Best of Both Worlds,' one of the more musically sophisticated and lyrically progressive songs from their 1986 album '5150.'
Even if some fans balked at the idea of the "Red Rocker" replacing David Lee Roth behind the microphone for Eddie Van Halen and company, it seems the timing was perfect for Hagar, who was apparently "Sitting around just getting high / Temporarily pacified" and eager for a new challenge.
Throughout the album, he sings of feeling like he had maxed out his solo career (remember, he was headlining the same arenas as Van Halen, mainly based on their hit single at the time 'I Can't Drive 55'), and was eager to find, as he put it, "Something special / Someone new / Some brand new group to sink my teeth into." ('Inside,' also from '5150.')
Anyway, back to 'Best of Both Worlds.' After Eddie spends a minute alternating between tasteful, Spanish-influenced and more traditionally distorted takes on an extremely clever riff, Hagar enters with "I don't know what I've been living on / But it's not enough to fill me up / I need more than just words can say / I need everything this life can give me."
It seems as though Sammy's singing about, and to, his new group as if it's his new lover throughout this track: "Come on baby, close your eyes, let go, this can be everything we dreamed." But if you read a bit deeper, the somewhat dippy, but then again kinda true and helpful, advice he doles out can be applied to many more situations.
Basically, he's saying you make your own luck, and it's important to keep pushing for higher ground. Or in his words "You don't have to die and go to heaven / Or hang around to be born again / Just tune into what this place has got to offer / Cause we may never be here again."
It all comes to a head, musically and lyrically, at the chorus. Eddie lets all the horses out of the gate as Sammy and bassist Michael Anthony pierce the sky with their high-pitched vow: "I want the best of both worlds / I know what it's worth / If we can have the best of both worlds / A little bit of heaven right here on earth."
'Best of Both Worlds' and the rest of '5150' pretty much dominated the airwaves upon release in 1986, and the Hagar-led version of Van Halen ran off three more massive hit albums over the next decade or so. But truth be told, they never truly matched the potential promised by this song, which is somehow both mature and rocking. Still, there's plenty of great songs to be found in our Top 10 'Van Hagar" Songs feature.
Aside from a brief reunion tour in 2004, Sammy and his super-naturally upbeat attitude have been mostly flying solo since 1996. In 2009 he reunited with Anthony in the supergroup Chickenfoot, whose sophomore album is expected out in the fall of 2011.
Watch Van Halen Perform 'Best of Both Worlds'