Doug Fox from the VHND and The Daily Herald has put together his list of the best Eddie Van Halen guitar solos ever from the Sammy Hagar era only! This is the first list ever written on the subject, as far as we can tell. So dive right in….and naturally, be sure to listen to the solos as you make your way down the list… we KNOW you’ll be totally blown away by Eddie for the zillionth time!
‘Van Hagar’ Guitar Solos Get Their ‘Judgement Day’
From 1978 to 1984 Eddie Van Halen rewrote the book on what could be accomplished on electric guitar.
From 1985 to 1996, however, he added several additional supporting chapters by continuing to author some of the most exhilarating guitar solos of their time — both in the studio and on stage.
During this summer’s Van Halen tour across North America, I broke down my 15 favorite Eddie guitar solos from the David Lee Roth era. (You can revisit that list here) Now, as we head into the final week of 2015, it seems only fair to do the same for Eddie’s solo work during the highly successful “Van Hagar” period. If a list like this for this era has ever been done before, I haven’t been able to find it.
As the comment section under any Van Halen article on the Internet can attest, fans of both main singers love to passionately debate the merits and music produced during their favorite era. Personally, I believe both periods produced some of the greatest music of their respective times and should be judged and measured accordingly — rather than solely against the other.
I approached this list the same way I did the earlier one — by listening to each of the albums in sequence and assigning a ranking on a scale of 1-10 to each solo based on my overall thoughts and feelings about it. (Granted, this is Eddie Van Halen we’re talking about — the vast majority of the solos ranked between 7-10 on my impression scale. And the only comparison point, really, is Eddie competing against himself during his work from this era.)
One conclusion from my own findings that I hadn’t necessarily realized before — as a collective group, from top to bottom, the guitar solos on 1991’s “For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge” were especially dominant. Six solos from that album appear in this Top 15.
So, with that in mind, I’m pushing this greatest Van Halen guitar solos from the Sammy Hagar era list to the same limit. Agree or disagree, it’s just one man’s opinion. If you’re so inclined, take the poll at the end of the slideshow to vote for your own 10 favorite solos.
The Countdown (all videos start at the guitar solo)
15. “Pleasure Dome”
This deep album classic from “For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge” is a roiling cauldron of tension and the guitar solo taps into and over the somewhat sinister groove. A solo that becomes more impressive the more you listen to it.
I love how no matter how many notes Eddie plays in a solo, in the overall scheme each one seems to make perfect sense. He has a great feel for melodicism — no matter how fast or how slow he’s playing. This solo hammers home that point home for me.
I realize others may have this higher on their lists — and I agree that it is a perfect fit for the song. It’s a beautiful solo that helped usher in a more radio-friendly era of the band.
12. “Sucker in a 3 Piece”
My favorite guitar solo off of 1998’s “OU812,” the second album from this lineup finds Eddie in fine form. There’s some great squeals and whammy work in this one.
11. “The Dream is Over”
I always thought this song deserved better and somehow got lost in the shuffle of other great songs that were released as singles from “For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge.” I love how the guitar solo hits you in the face with a torrent of notes right at the beginning before going on to include the requisite V.H. squeals, dive bombs and tapping in tasteful coordination.