Van Halen – Diver Down: Revisiting A Good Times, Summer Vibe Album

VAN HALEN – I can recall the day I bought Van Halen’s Diver Down. It was during my Summer vacation in 1982, my sophomore year of high school was over. I was just getting my Hard Rockin’ taste buds delighted by the Van Halen catalog of albums during this time period. I remember borrowing the first four albums from friends all the time, therefore, Diver Down was my first Van Halen album that I owned.

The album cover didn’t resonate that Van Halen mystique, still I didn’t really care. The diver down flag album cover… it is what it is. The back cover to this album is more like it though, with a panoramic picture of Van Halen live and onstage. Plus, there are four live concert photos of each band member shown as well. Like I used to do with so many album covers (and still do), I held it and stared at the back cover and inside record sleeve in pure awe at the band I was listening to.

My favorite song on Diver Down is the cover of The Kinks classic: Where Have All The Good Time Gone. I swear I played this song on it’s own hundreds of times over… it is what it is and Metal be thy name. What’s amazing is that I have never grown tired of this song either, wether it’s The Kinks original or this Van Halen cover. Simply amazing.

(Van Halen – Diver Down: back cover)

The record sleeve had a very cool group photo of Van Halen, just a vintage shot, in my Metal opinion. I laugh now at the memory of my liking the striped shirt that Alex Van Halen was wearing in this group photo. I liked that striped shirt so much, that I went searching for it at every department store or any store that sold teen clothing. I never found it.

This fifth album from Van Halen may never be considered their best work, yet that doesn’t matter much to me. Diver Down was a good times Hard Rockin’ album for me back in 1982 and it still holds that same vibe for me in 2011. Metal be thy name.

* A long time ago, in a Metal world far, far, away, I once wrote a concise review on Diver Down. Click here to read it: VAN HALEN – DIVER DOWN
You might just like it.



6 Responses to “Van Halen – Diver Down: Revisiting A Good Times, Summer Vibe Album”

  1. It has always driven me crazy that so many Van Halen fans are apt to disparage this record. For my money, it’s one of the most carefree albums they ever did, and I love the thing for what it is: a party record. And it’s so clearly ROTH’s record, a throwback to when Van Halen were a bunch of kids playing covers at backyard parties in the LA suburbs. Plus, Little Guitars is one of the few love songs Roth ever wrote. Really underappreciated album!

  2. I was a young marine when this album was released. I first saw it in a record shop while I was on liberty in Toulon France. However, I never listened to the album because all my friends who had said it sucked. Now it is time to judge for myself.

    • metalodyssey Says:

      Firstly, you just have to play Diver Down very LOUD. Secondly, I have a strong feeling you will dig this album. I “finally” upgraded Diver Down to CD a couple of years ago… bought it at (gasp) Walmart for… $7 (U.S.).

      I know there are tons of Walmart antagonists out there… yet my local Super Walmart has a bounty of Classic Rock, Hard Rock and Heavy Metal CD’s “in stock” for $5 and $7! I’ve seen these same CD’s at Best Buy, Target and online for double the price. \m/

      Whoa… how did I all of a sudden “go off” on how much I paid and Walmart? I guess It’s another corn-dog moment for me. 😮

  3. “Diver Down” rocks – including the minimal cover IMO!

    Right from the get-go you have that classic VH sound with the 1st track -esp. with Michael’s signature bass “thump” (and associated sound). It’s not quite as killer as on “Running with the Devil”, but still kicks nonetheless.

    The main riff in “Hang Em’ High” is heavy as hell throughout (peep the brief double-bass drum action from Alex on this one, near the guitar solo and song ending). Love it..

    For what’s it’s worth – I think “Secrets” hints at the more “mellow” sound to come in later years. Not ground-breaking, but very simple/catchy + melodic.

    And you surely can’t leave out the classic guitar interludes of “Cathedral” and “Little Guitars” (my fav. of the two).

    You wanna’ know where “Hot for Teacher” came from? Peep “The Full Bug”, this is the blue print right there IMO. Everyone loves some heavy-ass ROCK [blues shuffle] & DLR’s imitation of Howlin’ Wolf or Muddy Waters vox style is on point.

    Always dug “Pretty Woman” (esp. since I always heard the original in my household growing up), so I thought their version was a welcomed change with it’s “kicked up a notch” guitar riffage. Perfect song for them to cover and I played the hell out of this. I am sure some fans still think they wrote this song! 😉

    My least favorite song/cover on the entire LP was “Dancing in the Street”, it’s OK, but this is where I draw the commercial line I suppose. There are some cool guitar efx on this one though.

    I do like the tongue n’ cheek “Big Bad Bill” sound and the boys certainly had a great sense of humor (at one point) during their career.

    The “Intruder” intro and instrumental jam is killer and I think I probably wore out a few cassettes on this one!!!

    BTW I was so happy to be able to play this in my new cassette car stereo with [get this] JENSEN 3-way triax. 6 X 9 speakers. I had them in the front doors AND rear deck….

    Fun times – thanks for reminding me of this great time and classic rock album!


    • metalodyssey Says:

      You’re Old School Kinger! Um, yup. Anytime I can remind ya of a good-times album like Diver Down, is a fine Metal deed… indeed. Owning them Jensen speakers back then for your car = babe magnet! 😮

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