Van Halen Really Got Me
Van Halen was formed in 1972 by brothers Eddie and Alex Van Halen. They eventually found their lead singer in David Lee Roth and a bassist named Michael Anthony. Eddie played lead guitar and his brother was on drums. During the 1970s, Van Halen played a series of gigs in Los Angeles but did not get a chance to record a demo until 1974 at Cherokee Studios. In 1978, they released their self-titled debut album and were met with negative criticism. Many wrote off Van Halen and did not see them having any staying power in the rock genre.
Their debut album had three singles, all of which are considered by fans to be their best songs. The first single was “You Really Got Me”. The song harkens back to the early rock and roll of the 1950s and 1960s. For starters, the song is under three minutes and the lyrics are very repetitive. It is similar to songs like “Can’t Buy Me Love” by the Beatles and “Tutti Frutti” by Little Richard. Like many rock songs, the song features a guitar solo. Despite the rebellious nature that rock music gets associated with, “You Really Got Me” feels tame.
Girl, you really got me now
You got me so I don’t know what I’m doin’,
Oh girl, you really got me now
You got me so I can’t sleep at night
A song titled “Running With the Devil” was released as the second single and it is said that the lyrics were inspired by an Ohio Players song. The song is question is “Running from the Devil” and was released in 1974 on an album titled Fire. However, aside from a similar title, both tracks are vastly different.
The track by the Ohio Players is more funk than rock and feels more upbeat. In addition, the subject matter of “Runnin’ From the Devil” has more to do with saving oneself from temptation and evil as evidenced by the following lyrics,
I’ve got to get away, I’ve got to get away
Na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na,
Runnin’ from the devil, tryin’ to save my soul.
In many ways, “Runnin’ With the Devil” feels like the opposite of the Ohio Players track. Instead of rejecting the devil, David Lee Roth has accepted the devil and done bad things to stay alive.
I live my life like there’s no tomorrow
And all I’ve got, I had to steal
Least I don’t need to beg or borrow
Yes I’m livin’ at a pace that kills
The final single from Van Halen’s first album was titled “Ain’t Talkin’ Bout Love”. The song’s lyrics appear to be about sleeping with a loose woman. In addition, there is talk of the woman having a disease and the singer having a cure. However, he warns that his love is rotten. It feels like the complete opposite of “You Really Got Me”. All three songs feature guitar solos and this final single feels the most like hard rock.