In memory of Eddie Van Halen The Los Angeles Times has reached into the archives to share its first ever mention of Van Halen.
The band first arrived in the newspaper’s print via advertisements that ran alongside the paper’s music listings and reviews section which can be seen below:
Van Halen earned its earliest editorial mention in a Dec. 18, 1976 L.A. Times story titled: “L.A. Rock Resurgence.” While the editorial centered around Los Angeles producer Kim Fowley and his band the Runaways, it also offered readers a brief overview of the hard rock bands that were driving a brand new sound. It reads: “The Runaways spearhead a phalanx of local bands that include … the Motels, the Ratz, Pop, Van Halen and others.”
Less than a week later, L.A. Times‘ music writer Richard Cromelin decided he’d check out one of those local bands at The Whisky. The club had reopened the year before and was looking for up and coming bands to book. On this particular night it was a well-known backyard party band from Pasadena called Van Halen.
Cromelin managed to get the band’s name right but mistakenly referred to their guitarist as “Edwin” in an editorial which ran in the L.A. Times on Christmas Eve, 1976. He wrote: “If the term punk-rock implies a musical primitivism and an attitude of street-bred defiance, the Pasadena-based quartet Van Halen falls into an entirely different category.”
Cromelin predicted that the band stood “a good chance of moving from the L.A. circuit into national popularity” and described David Lee Roth as “a rampaging vocalist of the Robert Plant/Jim Dandy school.”
But Cromelin was more taken with the guitarist stating that Eddie was “the heart of the band.”
He added: “In addition to some flashy solo spots, he does a superb job (as the group’s only lead instrument) of establishing, guiding and adorning the sound. [Van Halen is] a package that’s sure to do the trick for the KISS/Aerosmith crowd. With more melody, Van Halen could probably win over some stodgier listeners, as well.”
Below is the original editorial:
Van Halen Live At The Whiskey A Go Go 12/31/77: