1979 Van Halen – Dance The Night Away

1979 Van Halen – Dance The Night Away 

Alex and Eddie Van Halen were born in the Netherlands in 1953 and 1955. Their family moved to California in 1962, and the brothers began playing instruments. Initially, Eddie began playing classical piano while Alex focused on guitar.

Eddie played drums for a brief but secretly started practicing on Alex’s guitar. The two eventually swapped instruments, and the rest is history. They formed a small band and began playing in local clubs. They rented a sound system from the lead vocalist of another band (David Lee Roth) for the princely sum of $10 a night. Soon, they convinced David to join their band.

In 1974, the band ditched their bass player and recruited Michael Anthony Sobolewski as a replacement, thereby completing the lineup that would last week into the eighties. The band signed a nearly-punitive contract with Warner Brothers Records that paid them very little for the record sales for their first two albums, so they found themselves over a million dollars in debt after touring as the opening act for Journey.

The first single from the band that reached the top forty on the Hot 100 was a remake of the Kinks’ tune You Really Got Me, but it stalled at #38 in 1978.

Four more singles from the album failed to chart at all.

The band’s second album included a song written by the four bandmates that  they apparently based on the Fleetwood Mac tune Go Your Own Way. David wanted to call the song Dance, Lolita, Dance but Eddie overruled him and it became Dance The Night Away.

The single reached #15 on the Hot 100 in 1979.

Sadly, it would be over three years before the band reached the top forty again, although they placed four singles on the Mainstream Rock top forty in 1981. Creative conflicts over David’s desire to release pop tunes and Eddie’s interest in making darker music hindered their success on the pop charts.

It would take a nearly throw-away cover of Pretty Woman to bring them back to the top forty on the Hot 100 in 1982 and the overwhelming success of Jump to put them on the top of the chart for the first time the next year.


I have collected older articles about Lost or Forgotten Oldies in my books.

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