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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Best Van Halen Album?
This was the first VH album I bought (on vinyl) but it's the only one I come back to now for a listen.

Unlike most other bands, VH has no fear of cover versions, and this album has some great versions, starting with the Kinks' Where have All the Good Times Gone? and then Pretty Woman (and its great, Hendrix-like intro). Big Bad Bill is a nice surprise and a...
Published on 28 Nov. 2006 by Geoffrey Millar

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars diver drowned
bought to replace my knackered vinyl but have to say its not my fave VAN HALEN album a bit of a mish-mash of songs that maybe were,nt good enough for other albums or maybe written in haste one or two nice ditty,s and covers 3out of 5
Published 14 months ago by tiddleypips


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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Best Van Halen Album?, 28 Nov. 2006
By 
Geoffrey Millar (Brunswick Australia) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Diver Down (Audio CD)
This was the first VH album I bought (on vinyl) but it's the only one I come back to now for a listen.

Unlike most other bands, VH has no fear of cover versions, and this album has some great versions, starting with the Kinks' Where have All the Good Times Gone? and then Pretty Woman (and its great, Hendrix-like intro). Big Bad Bill is a nice surprise and a change of pace.

The only duff track is Happy Trails, worth a listen once, but it's only a joke (I hope).

The musicianship from all the band is marvellous througout, but the highlight has to be Cathedral, a jaw dropping display of virtuosity and a good tune to boot. Brilliant and worth the asking price alone.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Short album, and a really mixed bag, but with some examples of Van Halen`s greatness, 20 Feb. 2007
By 
Little Cat Voom (The middle of England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Diver Down (Audio CD)
This is just about the hardest album by Van Halen to make up your mind on and I wouldn`t say it would be for the VH virgin - it`s not really like anything else they did. Also, I`m not particularly sure I even like some of the songs that much - Eddie is my all-time hero and he doesn`t really like this album, calls it "Roth`s album" - due to the number of cover versions. "Dancing in the Street" isn`t a song I like by anyone and it`s a waste of VH`s talent, and whilst "Pretty Woman" is a song I have much more time for, I don`t know if I say it was the best use of Ed and DLR`s mighty skills. Closer "Happy Trails" is silly. It`s quite a messy piece of work really, with instrumentals and acapella, the strange "Big Bad Bill (is Sweet William Now)" (which was Roth`s joke at the newly-wed and now becalmed Eddie!) and few complete new songs (by that I mean songs with vocals).

So, how come I give this the 4 stars?

Reason 1) Cathedral. Amazing, virtuoso volume-control twiddling allied to one-handed fretboard work. It sounds stunning, and I wonder how Eddie even thought of it...he is the best. Actually, even if he`s not at his best, he`s still the best.

Reason 2) Hang `Em High. It`s never really rated as VH-classic but I love it. Eddie does some great harmonic runs and it always makes me smile. Everything I love about VH is here, the bass is high in the mix for a change, great lyrics, and it`s just about perfect.

Reason 3) Secrets. Just a great song, with a wonderful relaxed feel - Eddie plays a 12-string for a change and it`s a great complement to DLR`s lyrics, which are fantastic.

Reason 4) Little Guitars. The flamenco-style intro is pretty special and sets up the spanish-tinged lyrics, but again, it`s a storming mixture of great lyrics and Eddie makes the "D" chord sound incredible in a way that no one else could. The finger picking part is just about my favourite VH riff of all.

If I`d been buying music in 1982 (I was 6 when it was released) I`d have been confused as hell with this following "Fair Warning".
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An inspiring example of a band moving the musical boundaires, 27 Dec. 1999
This review is from: Diver Down (Audio CD)
As, the summary above states, one of the most magical things about Van Halen when they started was the feeling that you never knew what to expect next. The fact is all of the songs on this album are excellent, some such as "Little Guitars" and "Secrets" quite exceptional. But what makes this album special for me is "Cathedral". It is an instrumental track that proves that the band are going far beyond just good songs, they were reshaping music itself. After Jimi Hendrix in the late 60's revolutionising how the guiar was both played and perceived, Eddie Van Halen's appearance in the late 70's continued to revolutionise guitar playing, such as the use of "tapping", using two hands at once on the fingerboard, something rarely ever seen before him, his influence however, meant that almost every rock band in the 80's were using this guitar technique. "Cathedral" is a jaw droppping and poignant moment in the development of guitar playing. Believe it or not, that is a guitar you are hearing! Not only is it a beautiful song in its own right, but it shows that Eddie Van Halen was not just content with playing blues licks for a living, he wanted to find the boundaries of music, and break them. With "Cathedral" he did just that.
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4.0 out of 5 stars VH treads water, 6 Jun. 2012
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This review is from: Diver Down (Audio CD)
With hindsight, Diver Down shouldn't have come as such a surprise - Van Halen's albums had come almost two-by-two in terms of character, with VH & VHII contrasting with Women And Children First and Fair Warning, but something different was never too far around the corner. Having said that, for the album opener here VH once again plundered the Ray Davies songbook - this time for "Where Have All The Good Times Gone!". The answer is, nowhere ... they're right here, right now! And despite the passage of time, this remastered album still sounds almost as fresh as it did in 1982.

Although the album is a mixed bag compared to Van Halen's previous output, it was the perfect antidote to the brilliant darkness of Fair Warning. There is much emphasis on humour, courtesy of DLR (that's singer David Lee Roth - not the Docklands Light Railway) and this is very much the softer side to VH, with the edgy instrumental "Intruder" being the only sign of darkness here - and even that serves as an extended intro to a cover of Roy Orbison's "(Oh) Pretty Woman". There is an emphasis on cover versions too, with just 4 original VH songs - only 2 of which ("Hang 'Em High" and "The Full Bug") are in the classic VH heavy metal mould. Even then, "The Full Bug" features a (great) blues harp solo after the guitar break. Eddie's guitar playing is - well, can any more be said on the subject? Electric, acoustic, steel strung, nylon, 6 string, 12 string, full size or little guitars - he can do no wrong and it's not only the lead work; his rhythm playing is equally unsurpassed (although rarely as acknowledged).

If the number of cover versions (five in all, including the short jokey "Happy Trails" and Motown classic "Dancing In The Streets") suggested that here was a band treading water, Diver Down would be an important stepping-stone to greater mainstream commercial success with the band's 1983 release - 1984. Although even "Jump" (from that album) would be something of a shock to listeners of Terry Wogan's Radio 2 breakfast show - who had been weaned on a VH diet of Diver Down's "Big Bad Bill (Is Sweet William Now)", a jokey jazzy number which features Jan (dad) Van Halen on clarinet.

Whilst it lacks the focus of earlier works, Diver Down is still a very enjoyable album. If you're new to VH, don't bother with the "Best Of Both Worlds" compilation - it's a confused listen - far better to start from the beginning, go on from there and see for yourself how the band progressed. There really is something for everyone if you like American west-coast heavy rock, with exceptional guitar and a frequent sense of humour. And if you like the Sammy Hagar-era version of Van Halen, don't overlook his earlier solo work ... and the first Montrose album! Equally, if you like Diamond Dave's style - check out his solo work too.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Diver down....., 12 July 2011
This review is from: Diver Down (Audio CD)
A truly unique heavy metal classic from Van Halen .It rates in my top 4 of theirs.It can't beat the first album and i don't think it could be beaten-an awesome classic(grab a remastered copy worth every penny).
This one takes hard rock not only into the Roy Orbison years but through years of jazz and throws in a cover from the kinks and a bit of flamenco.
This is a very broad minded approach to rock, and truly worth a great deal of credit!
Eddie manages to keep his dynamic metal guitar rocking even when playing a saucy Spanish number to woo the ladies..
An absolute corker is the Dancing in the Streets pop classic, with a great bit of heavy metal overlaying the pulsating pop rhythms.
My favourite is the Full Bug , with a twang of Backstreet blues and garage rock music with an awesome solo, will wake the neighbours until the cock crows...
Well done VH, please return your music to these classic albums.
Another fantastic 'alternative metal' album is Women and Children First.CHECK IT OUT!!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Thumb is not down, it's UP!!!, 31 July 2014
This review is from: Diver Down (Audio CD)
This is my 2nd favourite Van Halen platter after their classic debut. The band were obviously not getting on too well (Where have all the good times gone) when they recorded it but it has an airy, sunny feel to it. Eddie dazzles, as ever, especially on Hang 'Em High and Little Guitars. And l love Big Bad Bill with its lovely sax played , I think, by daddy Van Halen. Play it when you're outside basking in the sunshine and I bet you'll dig it too. Happy trails....
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4.0 out of 5 stars Dropping to the muff., 4 July 2014
By 
John Crooks (Northern Ireland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Diver Down (Audio CD)
An album with the usual fun and frolic's of Dave Lee Roth's fantasy world of rock and roll. A mixture of styles and sounds of a great band being playful and having fun with it at the same time. A loose album with equally simple infectious groove of material from a long established band. One quirky but silly track you just got to love to bits with its sing a long tune is the fun loving Happy Trails. A classic album from a classic fun playful band.
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3.0 out of 5 stars diver drowned, 15 Dec. 2013
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This review is from: Diver Down (Audio CD)
bought to replace my knackered vinyl but have to say its not my fave VAN HALEN album a bit of a mish-mash of songs that maybe were,nt good enough for other albums or maybe written in haste one or two nice ditty,s and covers 3out of 5
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4.0 out of 5 stars Love it, 8 Jan. 2015
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This review is from: Diver Down (Audio CD)
It might have lots of cover songs on but I still think this is a great sounding Van Halen album. Cathedral is one of those jaw dropping moments in musicianship.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A mixed bag, 28 April 2009
This review is from: Diver Down (Audio CD)
This remastered CD from the 1980s Hair-Rock titans is pretty good, but like a previous reviewer said, there are too many covers and too much complacency.
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