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Best of Both Worlds - The Very Best of Van Halen CD

4.2 out of 5 stars 44 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Audio CD (19 July 2004)
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Format: CD
  • Label: Rhino
  • ASIN: B0002FQAZM
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (44 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,584 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
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Product Description

Product Description

Van Halen rocketed to stardom with their raucous, 10X-platinum-plus 1978 self-titled album, one of the greatest debuts ever. Anchored by Eddie Van Halen's guitar wizardry and David Lee Roth's vocal showmanship, the band's dynamic sound reinvented hard rock. A run of multiplatinum Top 10 discs followed, peaking with 1984, another 10X-platinum blockbuster and Roth's swan song. Sammy Hagar replaced the vocalist, a transition that cost the band no momentum. The Red Rocker's VH debut, 1986's 5150, hit #1 on The Billboard 200, as did 1988's OU812. The Grammy-winning 1991 release, For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge, reached #5. This new compilation spotlights Van Halen's always-stellar musicianship over the course of 25 years and two world-class frontmen, and continues the story with three brand new Hagar-fronted tracks.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
This double CD collection does bring together the very best of Van Halen, some of which (especially the pre-1984 material) might otherwise have been omitted from just a single CD. It does include all their chart hits, both UK and USA - this helps to explain the inclusion of a dreadful cover version of the Motown hit "Dancing In The Street", which might otherwise have been laid to rest.
The rationale behind the running order which gives us alternate David Lee Roth / Sammy Hagar tracks has been commented on elsewhere, and the contrast between the Van Halen of the Roth era and that of Hagar's is certainly triple-underlined by this tactic. In fact this is to be unfairly harsh on Hagar - although lyrically he brought a load of silly love songs to the table, the music and production were the responsibility of the Van Halen brothers and it is these areas more than anything else that changed after the "1984" album spawned the mega-million-selling "Jump". They dispensed with Ted Templeman's services as producer and took the role "in-house", then spent the next nine years and four studio albums repeating the "Jump" formula, with the result that the trademark lead guitar sound took a back seat, and and songs sounded little different to those of hundreds of other rock/pop acts.
Some people may actually prefer the later tracks to the early ones - they are certainly very commercial - but I know which I prefer, and I'm glad that seven tracks from the brilliant debut album are included. The three newly recorded tracks are fair enough, benefitting from the more powerful sound that comes with 21st century production, but the three live tracks are a waste of space, sounding more or less like Sammy Hagar singing along to the original album backing tracks with crowd noise added.
All in all a very good review of the band's recorded history, but if you're not keen on seven or eight variations on a theme of "Jump" then you may need to make use of the program or skip buttons.
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Format: Audio CD
BEST OF BOTH WORLDS, while showcasing some undeniably powerful music, becomes, in the end, a mean spirited, classless greatest hits collection, meant at elevating Hagar over Roth every chance it gets. This anthology leaves the fans little doubt that the 1996 debacle of the Hagar firing/resignation (depending on who tells the story) and rehiring of Roth (and then immediate firing) rests solely on the head of Eddie Van Halen.

There's always fierce debate over two incarnations of Van Halen. Personally, I do not align myself exclusively with either camp, as I am a fan of the band's music made with both frontmen, though I do see the advantages and disadvantages of each.

When Roth fronted them from their commercial breakout in 1978 to the Van Roth's demise in 1985, Van Halen was known for wildly inventive guitar from Eddie, over-the-top vocals and theatrics from Roth, and killer live shows. Roth was the prototypical rock frontman: a larger than life caricature who embodied all the fratboy tendencies of the party-hearty rock and roll lifestyle. The genius of David Lee Roth as the prototypical rock and roll front man is his larger-than-life personae, his gonzo rock antics, and his wild, crazy partycentric lifestyle. Much of the appeal of Van Halen was this larger-than-life frontman.

Roth decided to pursue his own (aptly insubstantial) solo career, and Van Halen brought in Sammy Hagar, frontman to the heavy metal outfit Montrose. When Hagar replaced Roth, there was, naturally, no way for him to replace Roth as the front man without an image modification for the band. While Roth was almost a caricature of himself, a party-hearty animal, Sammy Hagar brought a much more down to earth approach to the whole rock front-man scene.
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Format: Audio CD
Let me start by saying that the music here is 5 star all the way through, the problem is with the execution. I bought this set on the basis of the track listing I'd seen, but beware because the disc has been reconfigured. Instead of the chronological history, the tracks are mixed up on the basis of one Hagar track, followed by a Lee Roth track. This totally screws the set up.
Lets face it, "Eruption" should segue straight into "You Really Got Me", why then does "Eruption" open disc 1 to be followed by the three new tracks? Do the compilers not appreciate how ultimately crap it is to put a song like "Finish What You Started" between "Ain't Talkin' About Love" and "You Really Got Me"? I could go on, and this compilation does and it's an absolute tragedy!
Why oh why has this been done? Whatever the compilers think, the Lee Roth VH is not the same as the Hagar VH. If they'd have followed the chronological listing this would have been a must have set. Instead I'd say either buy the previous 1 CD compilation or get this and reconfigure it yourself. As for the compilers, whoever they are, you really need to appreciate that music like this needs presenting in its proper context. It's not just product to be sold to the unsuspecting masses. We care and we're getting fed up!!!
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By Big Red VINE VOICE on 15 Jun. 2006
Format: Audio CD
Best of Vol 1 had 3 new tracks, better than the 3 here. This is just marketing, if you have the earlier CD, avoid this, it's not worth it. So even if you're new to VH, I'd still recommend the other compilation if you can find it. It has a more sensible running order too.
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