#17 – Van Halen – “Dance The Night Away” – (1979)

Yep. This song is ranked too high. Sorry. This was Van Halen’s first entry into the top 20 on the Hot 100 (it reached #15). This is one of my favorite Van Halen songs because as it is hard rock, the “Oooh baby baby” line sounds like straight up pop music. It’s more friendly than some of Van Halen’s later, guitar-heavy stuff – in fact, Eddie Van Halen left a guitar solo out of this song. They knew what they were doing, if it put them on the charts.

Van Halen – “When It’s Love” – (1988)

This was Van Halen’s last major hit of the 1980s. It was a #1 on the Modern Rock chart and a top five on the Hot 100. It’s a power ballad and used lead singer #2, Sammy Hagar. If you listen too closely to the music, it can definitely sound a bit dated, but overall the song really isn’t that bad. As far as Sammy Hagar tracks go, this is one of the best.

Van Halen – “Love Walks In” – (1986)

“Love Walks In” was the third single from 5150 – which was the first “Van Hagar” album where Sammy Hagar had replaced David Lee Roth as the band’s lead singer. The song reached #22 on the Hot 100 and was a top five hit on the rock charts. I think this is the best track on the album – synth-heavy… kind of a power ballad. It’s not the most hard-rock thing Van Halen has done but it’s not the most pop-y either. It’s just solid 80s.

#3 – Van Halen – “Jump” – (1984)

Is there a more famous synth line in a rock song than this? I don’t think so. 1984 is Van Halen’s best album and this might be the best song on it (I really like “I’ll Wait”). The brilliant part of this song is that Van Halen managed to take two of the most popular genres of music in 1984 and combine them into one massive hit (it was a #1 for about a month). That is, they took synth pop and stadium rock and threw them together. Also, it has really simple lyrics (how many times can you yell “jump!” in about four minutes?) that are easy to sing along to. This is pop music songwriting at its best.