Van Halen - Best of Volume 1

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EU pressing features a different track listing to the US edition. Almost evenly split between tracks that feature glammy showman David Lee Roth and those that feature earthy screecher Sammy Hagar, BEST OF VOLUME I seems designed to let this pioneering hard-rock band's fans compare and contrast between it's two frontmen. As if to drive the exercise home, BEST OF features three tunes cut in '96-two of them with Roth, who had been estranged from the band since 1985, and one with Hagar ("Humans Being", originally released on the soundtrack to TWISTER). Otherwise, BEST OF presents the hits in chronological order, beginning with the unadorned, aggressive soundof the early Roth material. Powered by guitarist Eddie Van Halen's hammer-on notes and orchestral pyrotechnics, and lightened up by Roth's used-car-salesman-on-a-bender persona, "Ain't Talkin 'Bout Love" and "Runnin' with the Devil" are as close to pure, perfect hard rock as anyone is ever likely to come. The early '80s found the band incorporating synthesizers (played by Eddie) and a pop sensibility, resulting in mega hits like "Jump". Things changed again when Hagar replaced Roth and took the band further from it's roots, toward an expansive new sound with broader new arrangements, heard here in such pop hits as "Dreams" and "Right Now". Refusing to tip the balance toward either David Lee diehards or Sammy-come-latelys, BEST OF contains enough Van Halen milestones to keep anyone satisfied.

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