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1982
Van Halen's fifth record, released April, 1982. At the conclusion of the "Fair Warning" tour in December 1981, and after five years of constant road work, the members of Van Halen were scheduled to begin their first real vacations. To ensure the band's commercial visibility, they recorded "(Oh) Pretty Woman" in January, 1982. Upon its release, the single began to shoot up the charts and Warner Bros. demanded an album to capitalize on the unexpected success. With little new material prepared, and much to Eddie's chagrin, the band worked up a number of cover songs and recorded this album in just 12 days. This album also marked the first time the band had recorded anywhere but Sunset Sound. Amigo Studios in Los Angeles was the only place available on such short notice.
Released a month after it was completed, Diver Down hit #3 in the States and #36 in the UK. This became the band's most successful album thus far, selling over 3 million copies, and becoming their fifth multi-platinum release. Despite their success, the band was increasingly at odds with Dave, and all the members of the band consider this the weakest Van Halen record.  
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Gold

Platinum

Multi-Platinum

6/30/826/30/8210/22/84 (2x)
  2/22/89 (3x)
  5/21/98 (4x)
   

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ruleReleased on 4/14/82

Copies Sold:  4 Million (US)
Peak Position (US):  3
Weeks on Chart:  65
Recording Time:  12 days
Peak Position (UK):  36
 
Producer:  Ted Templeman
Engineer:  Don Landee
Recorded at:  Amigo Studios
 
Reviews
 
Rolling Stone
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Singles
 
(Oh) Pretty Woman, Dancing in The Street
 

 

 

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Tracks
 
Where Have All the Good Times Gone! (3:02)
"Where Have All The Good Times Gone" was written by Ray Davies and originally recorded by the Kinks. For the solo section Eddie took a piece from an unreleased track from the "Van Halen" sessions called "Young And Wild.
Audio Clip - Lyrics
 
Hang 'em High  (3:28)
"Hang 'Em High" was originally recorded with different vocals under the name "Last Night" in 1977. One of the many songs recorded for consideration on "Van Halen".
Audio Clip - Lyrics
 
Cathedral  (1:20)
"Cathedral" featured Ed on a 1961 Fender Stratocaster (using echo and chorus effects) hammering notes on the fretboard with his left hand while simultaneously rolling the volume knob off and on with his right hand.
Audio Clip   -
 
Secrets  (3:25)
"Secrets" was originally titled "Lookin' Good" and Ed wanted it to be included on "Fair Warning," but the rest of the band didn't like it at the time. Ed used a Gibson 12-string/6-string doubleneck guitar to record this track. Live he used a custon Kramer doubleneck. Dave was inspired to write the lyrics after reading several greeting and get-well cards. The cards were written in the style of American Indian poetry, with lines like "May your moccasins leave happy tracks in the summer snows." Originally Ed played a piano in the background, but it was later taken out.
Audio Clip   Lyrics
 
Intruder  (1:39)
"Intruder" came to fruition when Eddie went back into the studio and improvised when more music was required for the beginning of the "(Oh) Pretty Woman" video. Most of the sounds he generated by rubbing a beer can on his guitar strings.
Audio Clip   -
 
(Oh) Pretty Woman  (2:53)
"(Oh!) Pretty Woman," a cover of Roy Orbison's classic, became Van Halen's biggest hit single to date. It also was devoid of any guitar solo. They actually forgot an entire verse of the song. It went unnoticed until it was finished.
Audio Clip Video  Lyrics
 
Dancing in the Street  (3:43)
"Dancing In The Street" was originally a hit for Martha and the Vandellas in 1964. Ed used a Mini Moog synthesizer in conjunction with his echoed guitar for the music in this song. He initially wanted the music to be for an original song. However, Dave and Donn Landee talked him in the using it for this cover tune. Eddie later identified this song as his least favorite Van Halen recording.
Audio Clip   Lyrics
 
Little Guitars (Intro) (:42)
"Little Guitars (Intro)" was played on a nylon string acoustic guitar much as was "Spanish Fly." Amazingly, this piece has no overdubs.
Audio Clip   -
 
Little Guitars (3:47)
"Little Guitars" was a spontaneous idea that Eddie came up with during the sessions. The song name was inspired by the mini Les Paul Eddie had built for himself. The song was recorded and performed live with the same mini guitar. The lyrics were inspired by the acoustic intro. Dave felt it had a Mexican flavor to it, so he wrote "Little Guitars" for a senorita. The line "Can't Crow before I'm out of the woods, but there's exceptions the the rule" is an American saying that's been in use for many decades. It's basic meaning is that a crow flying through the forest won't make any noise; otherwise it will draw attention to itself and could get eaten. It will wait until it's out in the open before crowing, but there are exceptions to this rule.
Audio Clip   Lyrics
 
Big Bad Bill (Is Sweet William Now)  (2:44)
"Big Bad Bill (Is Sweet William Now)" was a Vaudeville classic. Dave got the idea to cover this Jack Yellen/Milton Ager song after hearing it broadcast from a Kentucky radio station one day while listening to his Walkman. Edward used a Gibson hollow-body on this track, and Mike used a large acoustic bass, while Al played drums with brushes, a jazz standard. At Dave's request, the Van Halen brothers' dad, Jan Van Halen, played clarinet on this version.
Audio Clip   Lyrics
 
The Full Bug  (3:18)
"The Full Bug," according to Roth, is a slang term. It refers to success. To succeed at something, you've got to give it everything you have, make the maximum effort, do everything possible, get the full bug. The guitar intro and harmonica solo were both performed by David Lee Roth.
Audio Clip   Lyrics
 
Happy Trails  (1:03)
"Happy Trails," written by Dale Evans, was the theme song to the Roy Rogers and Dale Evans cowboy TV show of the 50's and early 60's. Van Halen first performed this song at their legendary 1976 Pasadena Civic Auditorium show, well before they had a record deal. For several years the band continued to perform this in concert as their next-to-last song. The song was originally included on the band's 1977 Warner Brothers demo tape as a joke.
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