Van Halen Retrospective (Parts 1 & 2)

Earlier this summer, we featured Part 1 of Midnight Phil’s two part Van Halen Retrospective. We’re glad to say that Part 2 is finished!

A message from Midnight Phil to VHND readers:

“Thanks for all the amazing feedback on Part 1 of the Van Halen Retrospective! Part 2 was tricky, because it involved discussing some of the more frustrating things about the band’s history (for me, anyway). As a result, I think this half comes off a little less enthusiastic. Still, I tried to keep the energy and humor up to the same level, so I hope you enjoy it! If you do, you can check out more of my work at, including more videos, audiobooks, and any other projects I happen to have going.”

Here again is Part 1, with Part 2 below it. Enjoy!

  • Gavin

    I find Phil annoying for the most part but I did die laughing at the beginning of part 2 when it switched from VH with Roth to Sammy and his expression looked confused and disappointed.
    I think that’s how most real VH fans felt. It took me several years to really be able to like 5150 but the rest of the records lost the edge.

  • dan slaughter

    Great job Phil…..should have played “Get Up” or “Judgement Day” after “On Fire”,but I get the point he was making. The concerts with Sammy were always top notch and the musicianship was always stellar. I have my opinions about the eras and I understand how some fans felt when Eddie hired Sammy. To each their own. Loved the whole Ed as Gollum bit. Wish someone would play “Big Bad Bill” then “Don’t Tell Me” and make that face….maybe Van Halen should have just stop making music all together until Dave officially came back????????

  • Paul Cropper

    Fantastic videos. As someone has already said a great future awaits as a writer/presenter.

    I don’t think it is a real reunion without Mike. However, I don’t think Mike would ever play with the Van Halens again. He doesn’t need the hassle as he is having great fun with Chickenfoot and I doubt he needs the money.

  • jbird5150

    love the “Marshall” amp pic he flashed during the “..Cradle” bit.

    Dori from Nemo whale voice… PRICELESS!

  • Let’s Rock

    Folks..Perspective please.

    All regards to Phil and Part 2 but it’s all VAN HALEN!!!

    We need to be greatful for all 11 albums and a 12th if and when it comes.

    These things will happen to any band that is lucky enough to stay together for 30+ years, change or no change of members.

    Let’s just drink to that and listen to the goodness…

    @5150..there seem to be alot more than you and I who like VHIII!

    Listening to “From Afar” right now and crankin’ it!!!

    The Nation Waits

  • garth

    Don’t forget Phil that before Gary joined VH they had Mitch Malloy for probably 48 hours before he left.

    tht probably doesnt count

  • Garrett

    It’s a damn shame Dave’s movie never saw the light of day….

    What would that have been like to watch? LOL I’m guessing “This is Spinal Tap” …on ELEVEN!

  • SEAN

    Great Stuff. Pretty Damn Honest Analysis of the entire history of VH. The Good. The Bad. Gary.

    I always felt VHIII was Eddie reincarnated as Nuno stepping into Extreme II.

    I agree with Jungleland2 about the 07/08 Reunion. “Still, the excitement was there…an event, a celebration, a party.”

    The equation is: VAN HALEN=FUN.

    I totally agree with Midnight Phil…Eddie’s riffs were the best, most important part of his playing.

  • Johnh

    well put toghether piece. had me laughing more than a couple of times, especially when Ed appeared as Smeagal,… hah ha

  • littledreamer99

    Justin Bieber has “personality”?

  • http://vhnd chuckie lee

    5150…. that was good….u just made me laugh so hard.. those tunes on his ep were done great..classic songs with daves spin on em…huge hits, musically, and visually..

  • Snowman

    Sorry buddy all three eras was great in their own ways. And why do you have a problem with the band naming themselves Van Halen with a different singer? Van Halen is about VAN HALEN. Theres my input

  • FRED O

    GREAT PIECE, kinda echoed the majority of folks sentiments out there… here’s to the new album !!!!

  • Beez5150

    With ALL due respect To Sam and Ed,

    It’s the Staypuft Marshmellow Man and Gollum Eddie had me rolling. Well done again Phil.

  • Halen High

    Carnal Knowledge says:
    “So tired of hearing how Sammy dissed the original lineup by never playing their songs. What a bunch of bullshit.”

    Tired of hearing the truth? Even Mike has said Sammy didn’t want to sing CVH songs. So is Mike lying? They managed to get Hagar to sing one or two – talk about a big ‘fuck you’ to the fans. And why would they play any Van Hagar now? You constantly try and elevate Van Hagar to a level it never was.

  • getchabite


  • phillster

    Midnight Phil,you have outdone yourself.Stellar Production My Man!!
    “I used to go jogging,but the ice kept falling out of my cup”…(DLR)

  • Scott5150

    Once again…Bravo Midnight Phil!!!

    We may not see eye to eye on the Van Halen/Sammy Hagar days…
    But, I totally respect your opinion. However….Like you….I don’t give a rats ass which Van Halen made $$$ more.
    I’ve loved Van Halen since I was 8-years-old and can’t wait for the new Van Halen album.
    Keep up the great work, Phil!

  • spaceman

    A lot of Van Halen Fans Forget that after Dave was gone in ’85’ Sammy came in and pretty much saved The Van Halen Name He kept it going with his California Tan and Blond Hair Surfer Dude approach to Rock-Roll,Drinking Tequila and living on the Beach approach to life.It is ashamed that Edward turn into a Dr Jekell / Mr Halen Life and Sammy Had To witness this sad turn around,Eddie one minute would be nice then next he go into his Laboratory and get his alixer,out came Dr Jekell and Mr Halen and Sammy had to Deal with this and also never received
    The credit for making Van Halen Money and keeping them afloat,I would be bitter too To put up with that Bullshit Good Luck Dave! Your going to need it.

  • ben

    very well done Phil !

  • Mikey

    Very well done!!! Hire Phil to promote the band.

  • French62164

    Wow, midnight Phil, you da man. great job!

  • davotrophy

    Excellent job by Midnight Phil!

    A perfect retrospect on the triumph and tragedy of the sweat brothers. It was like watching my own brain dump of the History of Van Halen but much wittier.

  • Ed is God

    Reply to Spaceman:

    Sammy Hagar did not save Van Halen. Van Halen did not need saving. Van Halen would’ve gone on no matter who fronted them. A lot of you don’t get it. Edward and Alex are Van Halen… everybody else is replaceable!

  • jim

    If Sammy never came to the rescue after Dave left in 85, the worst thing the would have happened was that Van Halen would have faltered with someone else and Dave would have been back soon after.

  • dirtywaterdogg

    Loved it…

  • McQuestion

    Boy, I couldn’t agree more with him from 17:00 onward lol. He’s got a good presence and sense of humor. Far superior to most video blogger type things I’ve seen. He could go far in voice over work or acting or whatever.

  • McQuestion

    Can’t forget his comments about an “alleged” album in the works. I still find it horribly sad that everything we are hoping for is still “alleged”.

  • Boristone

    Dude… I have been a huge Van Halen fan since 1982 and your 2 videos are the best, funniest, most articulate, and absolutely accurate on VH that I have ever seen. Great work Phil!!! I look forward to seeing more.

  • bolivraga

    Great job on the videos – they’re terrific and you have a bunch of talent.

    But I still say Rock In A Hard Place IS an authentic Aerosmith record. Definitely more so than Just Push Play!

  • ronwabo

    great videos, I agree with spaceman, Sammy helped keep VH relevant many years after Dave left and all of the copycat 80’s bands died a flannel death in the early 90’s(Including Dave’s solo career). All three versions of Van Halen were and still are great in their own ways. And all three rightfully go by the name Van Halen, the greatest american hard rock band of all time! I feel bad for Michael Anthony, who I’ve had the privelage to meet on several occasions. He will not get to be included in the triumphant return of the band very soon, and the backing vocals will suffer, I can presume.

  • VH fan for life

    Good job Phil!! Growing up in the early 80’s with Diamond Dave, Van Halen was a lifestyle!! The Sammy years the music grew up as did I. To me VH is Eddie!! The riffs,the solos,pure rock n roll! VH III well is like my first marriage, starts out great “Neworld” into “Without You” but as it goes on its painfull with very few bright spots. Cherone is a very good front man/singer, but his song writing is NOT VH. Hate that Mikey is out,but Wolfgang did a good job last tour. Well if you are reading this you are a fan and like me can not wait for the new stuff!

  • Brad

    Absolutely fantastic! I find something to like about all renditions of the band. Eager to hear new music. Dave rocking to the tuba version of “Runnin with the Devil” may have been my favorite highlight. Thanks Phil!

  • Halen High

    spaceman says:
    “A lot of Van Halen Fans Forget that after Dave was gone in ’85? Sammy came in and pretty much saved The Van Halen Name He kept it going with his California Tan and Blond Hair Surfer Dude……”

    I think you’ve spent too much time in space. First, their record sales dropped. In 1985, Van Halen was the biggest name in hard rock worldwide, yet their next album, 5150, dropped several million in sales from 1984 when it should have been at least matching ’84. From then, each Van Hagar album sold less than its predecessor. When compared with other bands in the same genre, taking a similar mainstream approach at that time – Van Hagar performed badly. Then there is how that era is viewed critically. Well, I’m still yet to hear another artist site Sammy era VH as an influence, compared to what, 100s, over the decades who have said they were influenced by CVH.

    So how exactly did Sammy save them?

  • Ken A

    The Good, the Bad, and the Gary. Sounds like a name for an all-inclusive best of.

    I wish people would stop acting like the decline started with the transition between Dave and Sam. Some of those seeds were already there, and they didn’t even really germinate until Hagar had been in for a few years. He played his part for sure, but he can’t be blamed for the trajectory of the whole band. Neither can Gary, for that matter. Gary was brought into a situation that he didn’t create and tried to make the best of it.

    The ’90s were not Van Halen’s decade. The same can be said for many of their contemporaries. Weird time for the music biz in general.

  • Diamond Dean

    Carnal Knowledge says:
    “So tired of hearing how Sammy dissed the original lineup by never playing their songs. What a bunch of bullshit.”

    So he played jump,panama,aint talking bout love , is that it???? out of all the CVH catalogue YOU think thats all that was deserved to be played????

    Did they tour 5 times , and thats the 3 songs they played ,m cld they have mixed it up , maybe even play 3 differant songs each tour?

    For example on RIGHT HERE RIGHT NOW , wld you have prefered HOT FOR TEACHER or SPANKED? MEAN STREETS or IN N OUT??? LIGHT UP THE SKY or MAN ON A MISSION??? Is that yr preferance?

    What wld u have thought if BRIAN JOHNSON just said stuff it im not playing any BON SCOTT songs???, no he was a team player , someone for the fans , someone who put the fans b4 himself , someone who thought , you know i might not like HIGHWAY TO HELL but im sure the 15000 who have come to see us do , sure ill do it for a 3.5 minutes , ya see. wld u EVER hear him bag BONS singing????

  • MidnightPhil

    Hey Everybody,

    Glad you liked the videos! While I’m of course hoping to get them seen by as many people as I can, I think the feedback of true blue passionate fans is the highest bar I can measure them by. So the positive response on the VHND means a ton to me!

    A couple of quick responses:

    – @jbird5150: yep, caught me with my pants down! That was not the correct amp image during the second fun fact. I primarily used Google Images for all those still shots, and I just wasn’t finding the right picture. I didn’t know what exact Marshall model Eddie used (year, version, etc.), and I wasn’t sure if there’d be a decent picture of one online. So I cheated and used a picture of an EVH amp. =P Caught red-handed!
    – I have read an article or two about the whole Mitch Malloy thing in ’96. I decided not to mention it for a couple reasons: I’ve never read anything from VH themselves about it, and it never lead to an official release. If I covered every little nugget of VH info, the videos would be a million hours long! 😉
    – If you disagree with me on Sammy or Gary…that’s fine! More power to ya! I’m a big supporter of the whole “music is subjective” thing. I did rag on those guys a bit for laughs, but I tried to deliver it as a “this is just my opinion, and I’m being goofy about it” kind of thing. That’s where the “game show” answer selection came from; someone’s always going to disagree with you no matter what you say. So I figured I’d try to have fun with it!
    – Regarding Dave’s voice on the reunion tour: yes, I meant that his voice seemed better than it had been 10 years or so prior, not that it had returned to mid-80s form. The screams weren’t shrill like the old days, but I thought they were lively and poppin’. Anyway, I had fun!

  • Carnal Knowledge

    Halen High, now you’re getting a bit juvenile. You claim he didn’t sing any. Then you claim he didn’t WANT to sing any. Then you say, condescendingly, he did sing a few. And, then it’s been said that you and yours wouldn’t want Hagar singing those songs anyway.

    So, Hagar complies, and you’re pissed? He was and still is in a no-win situation with you.

    Put it this way: If you and you know who stop taking every opportunity to rip Hagar, then I’ll stop exposing your nonsense.

    Or, we can take a real long look at growing up…..

    And, NO I DON’T try to elevate Van Hagar. It comes nowhere close to Original Van Halen, but pretty much beats everyone else at the time. I just reply to nonsensical juvenile outrage against him.

  • JasonBourne

    Midnight Phil, you most definetly ROCK. Awesome. That was a million times better than the lame shows like VH1, Eddie Trunk who ? etc. You have a very promising career in music journalism . Thanks for puttin all this together. See ya at the show.

  • VHRockChick

    Hey now, it’s blasphemy to speak of Justin Beever on the subject of Mighty Van Halen! Beyond that,great retrospective.Love the humor and had me agreeing with some parts.

  • Lupercal

    @ Halen High

    “I think you’ve spent too much time in space. First, their record sales dropped. In 1985, Van Halen was the biggest name in hard rock worldwide, yet their next album, 5150, dropped several million in sales from 1984 when it should have been at least matching ’84.”

    I don’t think that many acts apart from say The Beatles or Michael Jackson manage to sell a huge album then equal the sales with the next album. “Bad” sold MILLIONS but it still didn’t sell as well as Thriller. Same with VH. And if you learned anything from this video, its that record sales don’t really mean a thing.

    I sure do love watching you and Carnal go at it. Its pretty entertaining, keeps this place lit up.

  • Sean

    Best song off of VH III would have to be Fire in the hole.

  • Diamond Dean

    Def leppard sold more , HYSTERIA sold more then PYROMANIA , defleppard CLD BE CONSIDERED BIGGER THEN vh AT THEIR PEAK?

  • JJRambo

    when they switch from on fire to when it’s love i was like sweet Sammy sounds awesome then this video went to shit ….. I will agree VH III wasn’t amazing …. but fuck, Year to the Day was fucking awesome guitar work from beginning to end.

  • Carnal Knowledge

    Diamond Dean: But they DID play songs off the old catalog, right? I don’t want to get into hypothetical or even rhetorical questions. Van Hagar sang some OVH songs. Period. DLR didn’t sing any SVH songs, and you don’t hear Sammy fans in outrage.

  • Chris Van Harley

    Im ready Dave!

  • Garrett

    This debate about about Hagar singing Roth-era classics is pointless….Hagar would have sounded silly trying to pull them off anyway…so why even bother?

    (In all fairness, Roth would sound equally ridiculous singing “Right Now”…I’m not hating on Hagar, just saying he and Roth both need to “stay in their lane” haha)

  • http://vhnd chuckie lee

    lupercal, i think i no what u mean…but… putting it in a different context, if you dont sell records you lose your record deal…so in that sense, it means everything… the part of halen highs paragraph that was the most telling and acurate, is the fact that every album van halen released after 84 sold less than the 1 before.. all the way down to vh3.. except for the greatest hits which not so coincidentally roth was on that 1.same fate michael jackson had to deal with, after thriller he faced his downward spiral as well… 5150, fed off 84, it was not as good and started to lose fans all the way down to balance.. bad, fed off thriller, not as god and continued to lose his fan base…

  • Frank Enstrat

    Good job – you’re right about that late 90’s period – man it was BARREN. And don’t forget, it was during this time that the web really took off. I remember going to the VH site after it was set up, and there was absolutely ZERO happening. Just one picture of he VH rings logo. It was like being at a funeral, then sitting looking at the gravestone…forever…

    IN actual fact, I think the web might have kicked their asses into gear. Wolfie is of the internet savvy generation. And here’s one thing I think will have a great bearing on this new album…


    Look at YT vids of the DD tour, Oakland etc and the comments on the Roth era vids – without a doubt, to a man, everyone wants a new blend of the 70’s unreleased stuff and WACF studio outtakes etc + FW production on this new album. I’ll even say DD or 1984 production – Ed’s Frankie sat perfectly back then. Please..not the dumb over compressed layered crap and horrible drum mixes that were spewed out in the Hagar years. By all means, be creative with production, but please PLEASE don’t give us the overtreated, overproduced CRAP that’s been thrown at us for the past 20 odd years.

    That is all.

  • Roth_Leaps_83

    In support of Halen High’s recent post, not only did Van Hagar sell less and less albums as time went by —- but this downward trend happened in spite of the fact that Van Hagar enjoyed much more exposure on MTV and Top 40 radio because of their love ballads.

    It still baffles me why the Hagar sheep claim Van Hagar was better than Roth-era when they sold FEWER albums despite having much more promotion by MTV and Top 40 radio (which were still the major ways to sell records in the 80’s and early 90’s).

    Roth-era VH never enjoyed heavy promotion by MTV or Top 40 radio stations except for “1984”. That still leaves 5 albums that sold 30 million+ units by word-of-mouth alone. That is testament to how superior Roth Van Halen will always be.