Song of The Day: David Lee Roth Out-Rocks Van Hagar With 'Yankee Rose'!


Can you imagine if Roger Daltrey had left The Who or Plant had told Jimmy Page he was going solo or, better yet, Mick had told Keith he was splitting for good? Of course not, because smart singers know better than to quit a great band. It took a man DYING for someone to quit Led Zeppelin. And the Stones. And, come to think of it, The Who.

So, in 1985, when Diamond Dave announced to the world that he was quitting Van Halen, it was one of those things that, even as a kid, you would have taken the singer aside and said, "Are you sure about this, Dave?"

Even if we had, Roth, who seems to have born with the unshakable self-confidence the rest of us never got, would have responded by ruffling up his luscious blonde locks and executing a scissor-kick off an ever-present drum riser into a pit of bikini babes before pirouetting out of the building.

In 1985, if anybody thought they had the cat by the tail, it was David Lee Roth. Van Halen were the biggest band on the planet, having tapped into a whole sector of America via MTV and pummeling them with hourly doses of "Jump", "Panama", "Hot For teacher" and "I'll Wait'.

Incredulously, people still blame the band's synth-heavy sound on Roth, as if he somehow goaded guitar genius Eddie Van Halen into putting down the six-string and tickling some ivories instead.



Roth's first solo foray being the campy Crazy From The Heat EP did little to dispel this. Roth's covers of "Just A Gigolo" and "California Girls" were the furthest thing from "Running With The Devil" and nobody knew that more than the band's hardcore fans.

While talk of the film project that seemed to have been the impetus for his departure from the mighty VH seemed to die down quite suddenly, MTV kept us well aware that Roth was working on his first full-length solo album.

Would he continue his campy pop persona and become a caricature or would he pick up the hard rock baton that Eddie cast aside when he discovered the DX-7?

And then out of nowhere, "Yankee Rose" hits the MTV airwaves in advance of the album's release and says, "Honey, I'm HOOOOOOOOOOOOME."

While guitarist Steve Vai and bassist Billy Sheehan are a little too "noodly" when left to their own devices, Roth seems to have gotten the best out of them and they actually manage to sound like a band. The hard-charging rocker struts like a panther all the way to #16 on the Billboard charts months after Van Halen's first album without him was launched with a power ballad ("Why Can't This Be Love?") as first single.
If it were up to this writer, the lounge-y "That's Life" or "I'm Easy" would have made for a great video, which would have been all over MTV, which you could then follow with the rockin' classic "Tobacco Road".

Instead, they released the completely uninspired "Goin' Crazy", for which I am unable to recall if there even was a video. It missed the Top 40 and threw Roth into a state of self-consciousness that would lead to the "Van Hagar"-ish "Just Like Paradise", his only Top 10 solo hit.


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