Van Halen has inspired many-a-musician to pick up an instrument over the last 40-plus years, that much we know. But you don’t have to be strictly a musician to reap the benefits from the rise-to-fame and fortune story of this legendary band.
Entrepreneur Magazine has posted an article titled “What Van Halen Can Teach you About Public Relations: How the band that changed rock and roll forever will help ‘jump’ start your next PR campaign.”
Below is some of that piece written by Paul Fitzgerald:
Whether familiar with their music or not, scores of millions around the world at least recognize the name Van Halen. Founded in 1972 in Pasadena, California, the group was named after legendary guitarist Eddie Van Halen and his brother Alex, who played drums. While touring around clubs and venues throughout California, building a reputation and growing a fan base, they slowly caught the attention of record producers. The boys finally released a debut album in 1978, and it reached a nineteenth position on the Billboard music charts. Considered both a hard rock and heavy metal album, this eponymous effort featured many now classic songs, as well as Eddie’s “finger-tapping” guitar playing technique. The combination of lead singer David Lee Roth’s charisma and charm, along with Eddie’s unique chops, produced a chemistry and sound unlike any other band of the era. With endless touring, quick album turnarounds and diverse sound, they also became their own PR machine, always pushing the music envelope and providing audiences with a unique experience.
So, what can PR firms learn from this fearsome foursome?
In both the music business and in public relations, it’s vital to be original, even in reworking something that has already been done. While bands and musicians often perform and record covers of songs written and/or previously performed by others, they do so with their own spin. The same goes for campaigns. Van Halen is famed for its original sound, but has done covers of other hit tracks, including a remake of Roy Orbison’s “Oh, Pretty Woman”, which reached No. 12 on the Billboard Top 100 chart.
Every PR firm has its own identity, much like a band, and while a campaign concept at its core may not be new, presenting it with individual flare and spin will make it unique to. You can never go wrong with originality.
Although rooted in heavy metal and hard rock, Van Halen has also crossed over into pop music with songs such as “Jump”, which hit number one on the pop charts. This foray was a great success for the band, further rocketing it to fame and showing that the fellas weren’t afraid to try new things and expand musical horizons.
While Eddie was famous for his guitar techniques and iconic solos, he actually got his start playing the piano, then drums. His switch to guitar happened as the result of a challenge with his brother Alex, the guitarist in the family, who was playing Eddie’s drums in secret when he wasn’t around. When Alex told him he would actually rather play the drums, Eddie turned to the guitar to get back at him. Little did he know that that decision would result in one of the legends of rock and roll. The lesson here is to not be afraid to try new things. Expand horizons, pick up that guitar, and see what comes out. Don’t just think outside the box, turn the box into a race car…be bold.
Read the rest of Fitzgerald’s article at The Entrepreneur’s website HERE.