Ultimate Classic Rock has included Dave Lee Roth’s “Somewhere Over The Rainbow Bar & Grill” and Wolfgang Van Halen’s “Distance” on their list of 2020’s best rock songs.
Saying this year has been a difficult one for Van Halen fans is an understatement. That’s why seeing Roth and Wolfgang get some cred for their musical achievements is certainly welcomed. As UCR aptly put it: “The best rock songs of 2020 brought joy to a year that really needed it.” Amen to that and even more so when it comes to these two tracks.
Here’s what they had to say about both songs:
David Lee Roth: “Somewhere Over the Rainbow Bar and Grill”
Eddie Van Halen’s death prompted a massive wave of written tributes from bandmates and peers, but David Lee Roth used music and art to express his feelings. Recorded with guitarist John 5 and Eat ‘Em and Smile drummer Gregg Bissonette back in 2014, “Somewhere Over the Rainbow Bar and Grill” is a nostalgic look back at Van Halen’s early days that proved to be the perfect tribute, especially when paired with Roth’s lovingly drawn illustration. As with his work on 2012’s A Different Kind of Truth, the touching, tuneful and surprisingly textured song proves Roth still has his curveball. “It’s a damn good story,” he promises, “and there’s still more to tell.”
Wolfgang Van Halen: “Distance”
It’s hard to imagine how more pressure or scrutiny could have been placed on Wolfgang Van Halen’s debut single. To start with, he’s the son of Eddie Van Halen, one of the most innovative, influential and revered guitarists in rock history. On top of that, two years had passed since Wolfgang announced his album was completed. It turned out the record was delayed because he was helping to care for his ailing father, who died in October. A month later, he released his debut single, “Distance,” a tribute and farewell written during Eddie’s health battle. It’s a testament to Wolfgang’s growing talent that he establishes himself with such a firm voice and independent style on this moving song.
You can see which other songs made Ultimate Classic Rock‘s list HERE.