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Van Halen Magazine Ads Through the Years: 1978-2012

Since releasing their groundbreaking debut album almost 40 years ago, Van Halen have demonstrated an impressive knack for coming up with increasingly distinctive¬†— and sometimes even thought-provoking — cover art for their albums and home videos.

Granted, that first album simply featured quartered-off photos of the four band members, and the second just their logo. But as you can see from the dozens of vintage Van Halen magazine ads and promotional posters collected above, even as the group fractured, rearranged and reassembled itself in a half-dozen different forms over the years, they rose to and maintained a high level of visual sophistication.

Their sense of humor frequently shined through as well — from the ad for 1980’s Women and Children First, which features two women adrift at sea on life preservers with the caption, “Well, they said anything could happen” to the 1991 ad promising that For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge will “kick your butt’s butt.”

The band also frequently referenced or borrowed from other artistic mediums, using sections of William Kurelek’s painting “The Maze” for the cover to 1981’s Fair Warning, and a photograph of Hugo Rheinhold’s 1893 sculpture “Ape With Skull” on the promotional posters and back cover art of 1988’s OU812.

If you like this collection, be sure to check out our gallery of vintage Metallica magazine ads. And if you’re a big Van Halen fan, make sure to check out our complete “worst to best” guide for their discography, and our breakdown of the group’s often tumultuous lineup changes.

Next: 2017's Best Classic Rock Albums - So Far

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