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No. 8: Van Halen, ‘Everybody Wants Some!!’ – Top 100 Classic Rock Songs

Van Halen Women and Children First
Warner Brothers

The higher we climb on our Top 100 Classic Rock Songs list, the harder it gets to pick just one song to represent bands such as the mighty Van Halen.

But if you’ve attended any one of the group’s concerts in recent years, it might be pretty easy to understand why ‘Everybody Wants Some!!’ gets the nod over dozens of other extremely worthy candidates.

First off, for all the love we have for the Sammy Hagar years — see our list of the Top 10 “Van Hagar” songs — our pick’s obviously got to be a David Lee Roth-fronted tune. Their blistering version of the Kinks’ ‘You Really Got Me’ was their introduction to most of the world, but that song’s already on our list via the original band.

What about their biggest hit, ‘Jump?’ Awesome, but we can’t have a keyboard-led song representing one of the greatest guitarists in rock history.

Instead, we aim right into the heart of VH’s unassailable first six albums, with a song from 1980’s ‘Women and Children First’ that shows all four members at their peak individually and collectively. We think Lane Meyer would agree with us on this one.

Van Halen’s first two albums were primarily drawn from a large collection of songs honed during their pre-contract club show days. (Some of those same tracks turned up decades later on ‘A Different Kind of Truth,’ incidentally.) Despite a breakneck touring and recording pace, the creation of ‘W+CF’ seemingly gave the band at least a second to collect their thoughts and then push the limits of their songwriting even further.

The result is a much more dramatically-paced, dynamic album with new sonic wrinkles like the overdriven organ on ‘And the Cradle Will Rock…’ and the first Van Halen song to break the five-minute mark, ‘Everybody Wants Some!!”

They use that time wisely, with Alex Van Halen’s tribal drumbeat and his brother’s alternately scratching, chugging and squealing guitar promising something epic is heading our way. They keep that vow when Eddie finally releases the song’s main riff, which sets Roth off on a bold romantic vocal safari. He whoops, he yelps, he engages in seductive pillow talk; it doesn’t always make sense but it sure does work. Of course, none of them could be so bold without Michael Anthony filling in both the low and high ends so wonderfully.

At nearly every show we’ve attended in the past five years — and that’s been a lot — ‘Everybody Wants Some!!” was one of the clear highlights on the night. The moment of release after that massive introductory build-up gets a gigantic cheer each night, and seems to signify the part of the evening where all the levels get balanced correctly and everything clicks into a higher gear.

Next: Royalty Visits the Top 100

Watch Van Halen Perform ‘Everybody Wants Some!!’

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