Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Van Halen – "The Cradle Will Rock" (1980)

And the cradle will rock
Yes, the cradle will rock
And I say, "Rock on!"

In 1978, singer/guitarist Beki Bondage helped found the UK punk band, Vice Squad.  Beki left Vice Squad a few years later, but in 1997 she joined forces with guitarist Paul Rooney to put together a reconstituted version of Vice Squad.  

Beki Bondage
Since then, the band has toured extensively in Europe and the U.S., and has released several studio albums of what they call "old school punk."

Paul Rooney e-mailed me about a 2 or 3 lines post that featured one of Vice Squad's songs, and he's now one of my more interesting Facebook friends.

Paul Rooney
Paul's been a guitarist since he was a teenager, and he's played in a lot of different bands.  He's forgotten more about punk rock, and glam rock, and many other varieties of rock than I've ever knew, and I particularly look forward to his Facebook posts about music.

Van Halen's David Lee Roth
Recently, Paul posted a video of Van Halen performing today's featured song on television in 1980.  Here's what he had to say about that band:

You know what?  I think in many ways showmanship, fun and excitement has been driven out of modern music.  I totally subscribe to the need to make worthwhile, thought-provoking, and meaningful music but the flip side must exist where music helps people forget the daily grind and the hassles and concerns relating to money, work, family and climate change.  Few bands these days can do that.

As Paul points out, Van Halen is one of those few bands.

Songs like "Runnin' With the Devil," "Hot for Teacher," "Panama," and "Everybody Wants Some!" were classic guilty pleasures.  The band members may have all hated each other, but singer David Lee Roth and the rest of Van Halen always sounded like they were having one hell of a good time.

Alex Van Halen
There are two particular things to note in this video of today's featured song.  The first is Alex Van Halen's elaborate drum kit – including four bass drums and some octobans (which are deep, small-diameter tube-shaped took-toms).  The other is David Lee Roth's astonishing outfit (especially the fuzzy boots).

By the way, the opening instrumental riff may sound like it was played on a guitar, but it was actually played on a Wurlitzer electric piano equipped with a phase shifter.

Here's "The Cradle Will Rock."  (Actually, I haven't seen Junior's grades.)

Click below to buy the song from Amazon:

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