Great Metal Albums of 1981: Van Halen- Fair Warning

220px-Van_Halen_-_Fair_Warning

New Wave of British Heavy Metal (NWOBHM) may have reigned supreme in 1981 but it didn’t mean that American metal was muted in that year and that was largely due to Van Halen’s fourth album, “Fair Warning.” For some people at the time, this album was supposed to be a redemption for Van Halen after their supposedly disappointing “Women and Children First” album. (I wasn’t disappointed with that album.) I will also agree with the critic who said that “Fair Warning” was a little better than the previous album but since neither album was as bad as some of these ‘critics’ made them out to be, I will have to say that they are both great albums. However, I will also state that neither quite makes it to the level of their first two, but come on, Van Halen I and II will always be at a level many albums will never attain so let’s give “Fair Warning” credit where it’s due.

From the opening notes in “Mean Street,” it was crystal clear that Eddie Van Halen shows why he was the ultimate guitar master in the early 80s.  The album takes you down a smooth road of great music, especially during the first five tracks reminding you why Van Halen held the flag for American metal. “Dirty Movies” and “Hear About it Later” stick their heads above the rest here with the former showing there is a sense of humour behind the metal. For years, I thought that song was called “Bitches of the Silver Screen.” I saw a video of the latter song played live and that completely blew me away. The acoustic intro quickly followed by the powerful rhythm of guitar, bass and drum, with some interesting guitar riffs thrown in around the vocals before cascading into a well played EVH guitar solo. There is little wonder why it’s my favourite song on the album. “Unchained” is more of a traditional Van Halen single but it still rocks while the rest of the album, while maybe not quite as mind blowing as the first five songs is still powerful enough to leave the listener contented once it has finished.

Track Listing:

1. Mean Street

2. Dirty Movies

3. Sinner’s Swing

4. Hear About it Later

5. Unchained

6. Push Comes to Shove

7. So This is Love

8. Sunday Afternoon in the Park

9. One Foot Out the Door

Van Halen

Van Halen

David Lee Roth- vocals

Eddie Van Halen- guitar, backing vocals

Michael Anthony- bass, backing vocals

Alex Van Halen- drums

In a year when Britannia ruled the heavy metal waves, it was good to see that the guns of American metal didn’t remain silent. I have always said that both countries have always benefited from exchange of heavy metal. Van Halen showed they were still a major player in the game with “Fair Warning.”

Next post: The Plasmatics- Valley of the 1984

To buy Rock And Roll Children, go to http://www.strategicpublishinggroup.com/title/RockAndRollChildren.html

Also available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Froogle and on sale at Foyles Book Shop in London

 

 

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20 Responses to “Great Metal Albums of 1981: Van Halen- Fair Warning”

  1. The best thing about having a jailbroken iPhone, means, I can download as much as I like, and I don’t have to pay iTunes.

    You’re making my playlist wonderful.

    Like

  2. I think this might be my favourite VH album actually. Definitely the one that gets the most listens.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I don’t think I need much comment here. This one and 1984 are so close in terms of favourites, that I waffle between them. Fair Warning is always 30 minutes of awesome.

    Like

  4. I think DLR era Van Halen was always so good at putting out albums that always left you wanting more. I think that’s something that was lost after CDs became the dominant format. They held a lot more music so artists and producers filled it up but then they also made it easy to skip tracks. I don’t think there are any tracks I would skip on VH’s first six albums.

    Like

  5. Awesome album, often over looked in favour of 1984 or the first 2. Great review!

    Like

  6. Great review !

    Like

  7. My all time favorite VH album! 🙂

    Like

  8. Dave Scallon Says:

    Enough said really, if you have not got it yet, get it, it is a must have.

    Like

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