Archive for Diver Down

Great Metal Albums of 1982: Van Halen- Diver Down

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on September 16, 2015 by 80smetalman


It was while on liberty in Toulon, France that I saw Van Halen’s fifth album in a record store there. I made a mental note about buying it then one of my marine buddies actually did. After giving “Diver Down” a listen, he proclaimed that the album sucked and had another person corroborate his feelings on it. That was enough to put me off buying it. Furthermore, when returning to the US two months later, hearing the first single, “Pretty Woman” didn’t inspire me with confidence and neither did the follow up single, “Dancing in the Street.” In fact, those songs gave me the impression that Van Halen had given up song writing and were simply getting by covering other’s songs. Then about a year later, I heard “Happy Trails” on a bar’s juke box and thought, “Now I’m definitely not going to buy this.” So, last Sunday night was the first time ever, that I listened to the full album.

Let me say that “Diver Down” doesn’t suck. However, it’s not as good as their previous four albums either. One thing I noticed and I wished I knew back then not to trust a song played on commercial radio, is that the radio version “Dancing in the Street” had much of Eddie’s guitar solo removed and that’s a shame. I think that song has his best solo on the album. While it may not be as good as it’s predecessor’s, there are some glimpses of what made Van Halen great in the early 80s. The first two tracks had me thinking that maybe this album wasn’t going to be as bad as I first imagined. There are three instrumentals on the album, nothing like “Eruption” but “Cathedral” is quite good. “The Full Bug” is a good one towards the end and it could have been the closer but now that I see that “Happy Trails” is at the end, I think that maybe they were trying to go out with a sense of humour so I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt on that one.

As for the band, David Lee Roth’s vocals are just as good and he stamps his personality on the album. Then again, his ego couldn’t be ignored and his limited vocal ability fits in well with the songs. As usual, Eddie has spots where his guitar work shines, it’s just unfortunate that there isn’t a cool solo with every song. Needless to say but the rhythm section of Alex and Michael is as solid as the other albums no faulting that. So, my verdict is that “Diver Down” is not bad. It would be even better if they had not included “Big Bad Bill (Is Sweet William Now.)” A totally unnecessary song in my view.

Track Listing:

  1. Where Have all the Good Times Gone
  2. Hang’ em High
  3.  Cathedral
  4. Secrets
  5. Intruder
  6. Pretty Woman
  7. Dancing in the Street
  8. Little Guitars (instrumental)
  9. Little Guitars
  10. Big Bad Bill (Is Sweet William Now)
  11. The Full Bug
  12. Happy Trails
Van Halen

Van Halen

David Lee Roth- vocals, synthesizer, harmonica, acoustic guitar on The Full Bug

Eddie Van Halen- guitars, backing vocals

Michael Anthony- bass, backing vocals

Alex Van Halen- drums

If I had ignored my buddy thirty three years ago and had bought “Diver Down,” it would have gone into my rotation. I listen to albums in a strict order, don’t ask. I wouldn’t have listened to it once and then forgotten it. However, when I did listen to it, it wouldn’t have been with the same enthusiasm as the first four Van Halen albums.

Next post: Loudness- Devil Soldier

To buy Rock and Roll Children, go to:

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



1982- The Floodgates are Truly Open

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on November 20, 2014 by 80smetalman

To be honest, I was a little nervous about the year 1982 and expected a bit a turbulence during the ride through it. The reason for this was that I spent eight months out of the year overseas with the marines. From the middle of January to the very end of June, I made my second deployment to the Mediterranean and Indian Ocean. Then in the October, I went to Okinawa for the remainder of the year and the first three months of the following one. In fact, October 9, 1982 never existed for me as I was flying across the International Date Line. Because I was overseas so much, the year was fairly barren for me musically and I worried that I might not have enough albums to visit during the year. But, I will persevere and thanks to Youtube, I can listen to albums from that year that I never got the chance to listen to back then.

Iron Maiden

Iron Maiden

With the benefit of hindsight, I can say that in 1982, the new wave of British heavy metal (NWOBHM) had its claws firmly gripped on the industry. I saw this to be true when I was in Toulon, France in the May. Previously, I had heard of Iron Maiden but it wasn’t until I heard a song, I can’t remember which one, on a juke box in a bar there that I finally got my ears blown away by them. Of course, there were great metal delights served up by the likes of Judas Priest and Motorhead as well as many other rock and metal acts. It seems my journey through what turns out to be an important year that almost passed me by and I am going to put right something I got wrong in the said year. See, I never listened to Van Halen’s “Diver Down” album because a couple of marine buddies bought it while we were in France and said that the album sucked. Again, curse me for simply taking their word. I will listen to this album during the course of my trip through 1982 and give you my own thoughts on it.

Van Halen

Van Halen

As I go down the road of metal history, I realise that while I may have missed out on quite a bit of music history on account of military service, the year itself was a phenomenal one for metal. Thanks to NWOBHM and others, the floodgates opened and metal began to flood the world.

Next post: The Police- Ghost in the Machine

To buy Rock And Roll Children, go to

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