(All Images: The Author)
In an amusing turn, a friend of mine mentioned to me that her favorite Van Halen CD is OU812. Amusing because I managed to miss that the CD is meant to be deliberately pronounced “Oh You Ate One Too”. In any event, this is in fact the eighth studio album by one of my all time favorite hard rock bands. It was released in 1988 on the heels of the tour to support my personal favorite Van Halen CD, “5250”. This makes OU812 the second to feature vocalist Sammy Hagar. It took seven months to write, assemble and otherwise iron out.
Another obvious miss for me was the nod of the front cover photos to The Beatles’ first album. Little Feat’s “A Political Blues”was the only cover song used. Eddie’s brilliant guitar licks are front and center. While not considered a lament, “When Its Love” grabs the listener and sticks with him or her. Another concert staple that emerged is “Finish What Ya Started”. The band essentially produced the album by themselves. Rather than list the tracks in order, they are instead listed alphabetically. And while Ted Templeman is noticeably absent as producer, his recording engineer Don Landee was retained for this project. Hagar retreated to his Mexican home at Cabo San Lucas, where “Cabo Wabo” was written.
Originally, the working title of “Bone” was replaced after Hagar saw OU812 painted on the side of a delivery truck.
Lastly, the album is dedicated to Jan Van Halen, Eddie and Alex’s father who tragically passed away in December 1986. Time has not diminished this classic CD from one of the all-time great hard rock bands who never fails to “get the party started”!
Have a good weekend!