Van Halen’s 1982 album Diver Down is the subject of the latest episode from The Professor of Rock.
Here’s what The Professor posted to YouTube along with the video, which you can watch above.
Eddie Van Halen once said – “I would rather bomb with one my songs, then have a hit with someone else’s.” Much to Eddie’s distaste, his band did just THAT when Van Halen had a Top 40 hit with their cover of The Kinks’ “You Really Got Me,” and they did it again, 4 years later, with a remake of Roy Orbison’s signature #1 classic “(Oh) Pretty Woman,”- becoming one of Van Halen’s biggest singles.
The conversation to release another remake as a Van Halen single began immediately following the exhausting Fair Warning tour. When the tour ended in late ‘81, the guys were supposed to take a break from each other, but things didn’t go as planned. Dave wanted the band to put out another single, to keep the Van Halen name hot in the media during their hiatus. Dave’s idea was for the band to do a rock version of the Martha & the Vandellas hit “Dancing in the Street,” but Eddie insisted on the band doing a cover of “Pretty Woman. ”The release of “(Oh) Pretty Woman” became the impetus for Van Halen’s 5th studio album…DIVER DOWN. “Pretty Woman” was fast becoming a Top 15 single in early ‘82, the first Van Halen song to crack the Top 40 since “Dance the Night Away” went to #15 in ’79.
Since their momentous debut LP in ’78 through ’81, the band had released an album every year.. 4 total. Then they would go on a massive national tour to support each of those records. There was little, or no time, to come up with new material. The label kept pushing, and the band finally gave in. Reminiscent of the fire drill conditions they worked under to drop Van Halen 2, the band jumped right back in the studio, and started recording.
Since they only had a handful of original songs available, the band had to result to doing covers, and some instrumentals. Amazingly, Diver Down was finished in just 12 days- with 5 covers songs, 3 instrumentals, and 4 original Van Halen tracks. It wasn’t the ideal record by Eddie’s standards, but the band ended up having a BLAST making Diver Down, and the album was another HUGE success for Van Halen. The LP spent 65 weeks on the Billboard 200 Album Chart- selling more than 4 million units. The first splash on Diver Down is “Where Have All the Good Times Gone,” another Van Halen interpretation of a Kinks song.
The Professor is clearly a huge Van Halen fan as he’s released over a dozen videos on the band for his YouTube channel, which you can check out HERE.
What’s your favorite track from Diver Down? Let us know in the comments section below!