The website Yardbarker has placed Van Halen’s 1986 song “Summer Nights” among the 25 most underrated deep cuts recorded by legendary bands.
“Trying to find a hidden gem or underrated song among some of the greatest bands of all time is never easy,” wrote Yardbarker’s Jeff Mezydlo. “However, some of the best tunes from a legendary group might be the ones that never earned much acclaim or commercial success. That’s not to say they are not worth celebrating.”
Mezydlo, who created the list chronologically, wrote of “Summer Nights”:
In the spirit of earlier Van Halen romps like ‘Beautiful Girls,’ ‘Summer Nights’ is an unabashed celebration of wild times with your favorite people to usher in the Sammy Hagar era of the band. Off the 5150 LP, it’s perhaps the one song that encapsulates both time periods of the band’s history. Though never a hit, it featured the campy Van Halen feel of the David Lee Roth years along with the heavy, pop-fused work that Hagar became known for as a solo artists during the early 1980s.
“Summer Nights” was the first song Sammy Hagar recorded with Van Halen when he joined the band in 1985.
In his memoir Red: My Uncensored Life In Rock Hagar said: “We started playing, and the engineer Donn Landee recorded everything we did. I made up the first line on the spot: ‘Summer nights and my radio.’ It just popped into my head the first time I heard that riff. The rest of the song I scatted my way through. I really had my scat together. Eddie couldn’t believe it.”
Released in December of 1986 as the fifth single from the ‘5150’ album, “Summer Nights” reached #33 on the Billboard Mainstream Rock chart.
Find out which songs made the rest of Mezydlo’s list at Yardbarker’s website.