I’ve been hinting at this for a couple weeks now. No more teasing! For this is…THE WEEK OF SINGLES! Each day this week I’ll be bringing you reviews and images of a recent single acquisition. For the purpose of this week, EPs count as singles. First up comes one I teased you about in my Overload of Van Vinyl gallery.
VAN HALEN – “Best of Both Worlds” (1986 Warner 7″ single)
Craig Fee returned with this single (among many) from Jerry’s Records in Pittsburgh. It was actually $3, not the $2 on the sticker (no big deal). About the store itself, Craig says:
Jerry’s Records in Pittsburgh has incredible online reviews for a reason. When I was last there, Jerry and I chatted about the legendary Peter Dunn’s Vinyl Museum(s) in Toronto. We laughed about the random samples of Bible verse stamped on every single record sleeve that Peter sold. It was completely over the top! Glad to hear I wasn’t the only one who WTF’d the first time I encountered it.
I asked Craig to pick up any Van Halen singles with picture sleeves that he could find. Of those, “Best of Both Worlds” has one of the least interesting covers. No pictures of the band, just a generic looking sketch of a globe and two jet planes. Not even a proper Van Halen logo to be found. This lack of anything amusing on the cover is compensated for by the exclusivity of the tracks.
The A-side is a version that I didn’t have before. It’s a 3:58 edit version of the song, chopping 50 seconds out. The edit is quite noticeable at the 1:00 mark, where the second verse is chopped out, and then replaced after the chorus. It’s into the guitar solo from there, and then the final verse. Missing is the “There’s a picture in a gallery, of a fallen angel looked a lot like you,” verse.
Van Halen never released the ubiquitous Live Without a Net home video on any kind of official audio format. Some of those songs, such as the live version of “Love Walks In” did make it onto an unofficial CD called In Concert (found at Encore Records in Kitchener). “Best of Both Worlds” did not make it onto In Concert, but here it is on the B-side. It’s live in New Haven, complete with the extended intro, bringing the track to over 6 minutes. The intro features Eddie and Sammy doing a fun call and response bit and I’m glad it wasn’t edited out for the single release. I’ll always have a fondness for the old Live Without a Net versions. Back in ’86-88 I didn’t have the money to buy every single album by bands that I liked. I didn’t have 5150, and Live Without a Net was on TV enabling me to record it. Therefore I probably know this version of “Best of Both Worlds” better than the 5150 version! It’s a little tougher, where the album version’s a tad too sterile.
I don’t mind this song. It’s not a Van Halen classic, but it’s still catchy. Unlike some of the other singles, it wasn’t keyboard based. That gave it an edge to my 16 year old self who didn’t like keyboards as much as guitars. Craig on the other hand had a different reaction to it:
“Best Of Both Worlds” is the song that might’ve been the catalyst for my divorce of Van Hagar as the logical continuation of my favourite band. The lyrics are absolute fucking cornball nonsense. Look them up. You’ll see what I mean. The Live Without A Net version on the B-side of the single brought me vivid flashbacks of those awful pink sweat pants Eddie wore onstage for the concert video. Those terrible Sammy and Mike harmonies. That cheesy walk Mike, Sammy and Ed did onstage. Sammy’s spray painting of the shoes and the accompanying ad-lib were possibly the lamest shit I’ve ever heard. Do you think David Lee Roth would’ve had a pair of fucking SHOES thrown onstage? Hell no! There’s a reason I don’t own a copy of this myself.
He does have some valid points there. Thankfully this 7″ single contains just the music, and not those cheeseball visuals! Why was Eddie so into sweat pants? I blame Sammy Hagar. For me, this was a great find and a great way to kick off Singles Week at LeBrain HQ. Check back tomorrow for another rarity! (A brand new release in fact.)
More VAN HALEN at mikeladano.com:
A Different Kind of Truth (2012) – The Best of Both Worlds (2005 2 CD set) – Record Store Tales Part 186: The Van Halen Tin – Van Halen III (limited edition tin) – “Can’t Stop Loving You” (1995 single tin) – “Right Now” (1992 cassette single)