3 Eternal Van Halen Songs that Have Stood the Test of Time

Formed in 1973 in Southern California, the rock band Van Halen is known for its titular lead guitar player and giant rock songs. Eddie Van Halen, who is simply one of the best six-string players in the history of rock music, rose to fame with his band—which also featured several prominent lead singers, David Lee Roth and Sammy Hagar—thanks to his expressive playing and one-of-a-kind artistry.

Videos by American Songwriter

But along the way, Van Halen also created some of the most indelible classic rock songs in the history of the genre. Here below, we wanted to explore three of those rollicking tracks. A trio of tunes that classic rock fans near and far cannot live without. Indeed, these are three eternal classic rock songs from Van Halen.

[RELATED: Remember When: Van Halen Reunited with David Lee Roth for a New York City Club Gig]

“Jump” from 1984 (1984)

It’s funny, the big hair bands of the 1980s boasted so much pizzazz as well as a great deal of cartoonish flair. And this song might be at the top of the list when it comes to that combination. For a group known for its guitar prowess, this song is famous in large part for its synths. But beyond that, it just offers listeners a sense of joy—so much so that it makes you want to leap out of your seat and, well, JUMP! Sings lead vocalist David Lee Roth,

I get up and nothin’ gets me down
You got it tough, I’ve seen the toughest around
And I know, baby, just how you feel
You got to roll with the punches to get to what’s real

Ah, can’t you see me standin’ here?
I’ve got my back against the record machine
I ain’t the worst that you’ve seen
Ah, can’t you see what I mean?

“Hot for Teacher” from 1984 (1984)

Who hasn’t been there? You’re sitting in a classroom in high school, hormones raging, and you’re staring at the teacher in the front of the class. The mind wanders and then, all of sudden you say to yourself, “Do I have a crush on that person?” The combination of wisdom and discipline—it’s been a reality from the days of Socrates until this very moment and it will continue well into the future. And Van Halen was able to sum it up in a bombastic rock song that has since stood the test of time. On the hot-under-the-collar song, David Lee Roth sings,

Oh yeah, t-t-teacher stop that screamin’
Teacher don’t you see? Don’t wanna be no uptown fool
Maybe I should go to hell but I am doing well
Teacher needs to see me after school

I think of all the education that I’ve missed
But then my homework was never quite like this

Ow! Got it bad, got it bad, got it bad
I’m hot for teacher
I’ve got it bad, so bad
I’m hot for teacher

“Runnin’ with the Devil” from Van Halen (1978)

All good rock bands have their moment with the devil. After all, the genre is known as “the devil’s music,” or so that’s what parents used to tell their kids. If the blues was born of the crossroads, rock is from the depths of Hades. With harmonizing falsetto vocals and buzzing electric guitars, this song talks about how Beelzebub has influenced the lives and creative output from the band members. With a brash, melodic solo from Van Halen and thumbing bass from Michael Anthony behind him, David Lee Roth sings,

Ooh, you know I
I found the simple life ain’t so simple
When I jumped out, on that road
I got no love, no love you’d call real
Ain’t got nobody, waitin’ at home

Runnin’ with the Devil
(Hold on, hold on I’m runnin’ ah yeah)
Runnin’ with the Devil
(Ooh ooh, one more time)

When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Photo by David Tan/Shinko Music/Getty Images

Leave a Reply

The Meaning Behind Foo Fighters’ “The Sky Is a Neighborhood” and How It Was Inspired by an Interview with Neil deGrasse Tyson

The Pink Floyd Song the Band Stopped Playing Live out of Respect