I’ve always liked the final Van Halen album, A Different Kind of Truth, and I have found it still stands up after a decade of digestion. As you are probably aware, most of the album is reworked demos. One such demo is “Ripley” from 1984, which later became “Blood and Fire” on the album. The music made it into the score for a movie called The Wild Life which has never seen a proper audio release. Eddie called the song “Ripley” because he played it on a Ripley guitar.
It’s impossible to listen to it without hearing David’s final lyrics and vocals in your head. But is the instrumental version better than the final? That’s a tough call. It definitely would have been interesting to hear what Sammy Hagar could have done with “Ripley”, but if the idea to rework it with Hagar ever came up, it obviously didn’t bear fruit.
Enjoy “Ripley” by Edward Van Halen!