Country Music

Van Halen – Runnin’ With The Devil | Legends are never forgotten. Keep rockin Eddie

The album may or may not be obsolete, but the fact remains: Listeners have long obsessed over individual songs. The Single File is The A.V. Club’s look at the deep cuts, detours, experiments, and anthems that make us reach for replay.

Whoever said a chain is only as strong as its weakest link never listened to Van Halen. From a strictly technical standpoint, David Lee Roth is one of the shittiest singers to ever clutch a microphone: screeching, squawking, croaking, honking, and bordering on tone-deafness. Granted, rock doesn’t demand virtuosity. But Roth’s lack of chops is made even more glaring by a stark contrast: His crumpled saxophone of a voice is pitted against the sleek eloquence and elegance of Eddie Van Halen’s guitar. It shouldn’t have worked. It totally did. And that uneven alchemy was already established by the 1978 release of VH’s debut, Van Halen—as well as the album’s first original hit song, “Runnin’ With The Devil.”

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