Van Halen Fair Warning on 180g LP
2015 Remastered Edition Cut Straight from the Quarter-Inch Tapes by Chris Bellman at Bernie Grundman Mastering
In 1981, Van Halen released the one album amongst their classic David Lee Roth era output which can reasonably described as “underrated,” inasmuch as you can use the word to describe an album that hit #5 on the Billboard Top 200 album chart and went double-platinum.
Fair Warning may be just as big a deal amongst the diehard VH fans as everything else in their discography, but if you look back at the band’s success on the singles charts over the course of their career, it’s the only studio album – from their self-titled debut in 1978 all the way through 1995’s Balance, their last effort with Sammy Hagar – that didn’t have any songs hit the Billboard Hot 100. However, four of the album’s tracks did relatively well on the Mainstream Rock charts at the time (“Mean Street,” “Unchained,” “So This Is Love?” and “Push Comes to Shove”).
History has revealed it to be a transitional album for Van Halen, beginning the incorporation of synths into the band’s sound even as Eddie attempted to bring his guitar skill to the forefront even more than it already had been. Obviously, the synths would prove to be far more prominent in the future, as would the pop flamboyance of Roth, but here it’s darker, harder material, none of which exactly screamed “hit single.”
Nevertheless, since it hasn’t gotten as much airplay over the years, Fair Warning arguably feels fresher than anything else in the early Van Halen catalog.
Van Halen Fair Warning Track Listing:
1. Mean Street
2. Dirty Movies
3. Sinner's Swing!
4. Hear About It Later
6. Push Comes To Shove
7. So This Is Love?
8. Sunday Afternoon In the Park
9. One Foot Out the Door