4 Classic Van Halen Songs Showcasing Michael Anthony’s Backing Vocals

Wishing a very Happy Birthday to longtime Van Halen bassist Michael Anthony, who turned the big 7-0 on June 20. Anthony joined Van Halen in 1974, when the band was still known as Mammoth, taking over for the group’s founding bassist, Mark Stone.

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Anthony went on to hold down Van Halen’s bottom end for the next three decades, until he was replaced by guitarist Eddie Van Halen’s son, Wolfgang, in 2006. Since then, Michael has served as former Van Halen frontman Sammy Hagar’s bassist and right-hand man.

[Buy Tickets for The Best of All Worlds Tour]

Beyond playing bass in Van Halen, Anthony made invaluable vocal contributions to the band. Particularly during the group’s original heyday, when David Lee Roth was lead singer, Michael delivered melodic high harmonies that complimented Roth’s yelps, screams, and throaty howls.

Meanwhile, Anthony was credited with co-writing all of the original songs he recorded with his Van Halen bandmates.

[RELATED: Michael Anthony Says Van Halen Has “Miles” of Unreleased Recordings in Its Archives]

In honor of Anthony’s milestone birthday, here’s a look a four classic Van Halen songs that prominently feature his singing:

“Runnin’ with the Devil” (1978)

“Runnin’ with the Devil” was the lead track on Van Halen’s self-titled debut album. The song was a minor chart hit on the Billboard Hot 100, but has gone on to be a staple on classic rock radio.

Anthony’s high harmony vocals on the choruses help drive the slow-grooving rock tune along.

“Jamie’s Cryin’” (1978)

“Jamie’s Cryin’” is another standout track on the Van Halen album, and another song that continues to be played on rock radio stations. Anthony’s vocals are unmistakable in the catchy chorus, “Oh, oh, oh, Jamie’s cryin’.”

“Dance the Night Away” (1979)

“Dance the Night Away” was a song from Van Halen’s 1979 second album, Valen Halen II. It was the band’s first true hit single, reaching No. 15 on the Billboard Hot 100.

The mid-tempo pop-rock tune featured a memorable guitar riff from Eddie Van Halen, and a catchy melody sung by Roth. Once again, Anthony’s harmonies on the choruses are a key element to the track’s overall appeal.

“Unchained” (1981)

“Unchained” was one of the best-loved tracks on Van Halen’s fourth studio album, Fair Warning. The song found some success on the Billboard Mainstream Rock chart, peaking at No. 13.

The hard-driving tune is highlighted by Eddie’s staccato, flange-heavy guitar riff. Anthony’s vocals stand out as he harmonizes with Roth in the choruses, singing, “Change … Unchained, you hit the ground runnin’.”

About Anthony’s 2024 Tour Plans

As previously reported, Anthnoy will be part of Hagar’s band for his 2024 summer trek, dubbed The Best of All Worlds Tour. Guitar whiz Joe Satriani and drummer Jason Bonham also will be playing with the Red Rocker on the tour, which mainly will focus the Van Halen catalog.

The trek kicks off July 13 in West Palm Beach, Florida, and is scheduled to conclude on August 31 in St. Louis. Loverboy will be the opening act throughout the tour.

Tickets for the tour dates shows are available now via various outlets, including StubHub.

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