How do you turn a pretty decent rock song into an ABSOLUTELY EPIC guitar song? You just add Eddie Van Halen, of course.
It was on this day in 1986 that Van Halen was filmed in New Haven Connecticut, which resulted in our favorite recorded version of “There’s Only One Way to Rock.”
If you want to appreciate the difference Eddie Van Halen can make on guitar, just listen to Sammy Hagar’s solo version of “There’s Only One Way to Rock,” followed by the Van Halenized version. It’s night and day.
Eddie’s playing in between Sammy’s leads is unbelievable. And he’s got some some killer rhythm. Forget song writing and technique for a second … Eddie’s tone and phrasing is what separates him from the pack.
And even though it took Ed, Al and Mike to kick this song up several notches, Sammy’s certainly no slouch, either. He holds his own against Eddie with some great guitar playing that complements Eddie’s perfectly. Hearing Ed and Sammy play off each other is a real treat.
The original “There’s Only One Way to Rock” was released on Hagar’s 1981 album, Standing Hampton. The song reached number 31 on the Billboard magazine mainstream rock charts when it was released as a single in 1982.
The song became a Van Halen concert staple during Hagar’s decade with the band, and for us, became one of the highlights of their concerts during that era.
Lastly, Michael Anthony’s vocal harmonies sound so damn beautiful!
Watch the footage of Van Halen showing the world there’s only one way to rock, below. The bulk of this concert was later released as Live Without A Net.