What Up Yo.
I grew up on VH.
Van Halen… not Van Hagar.
Although, looking back now, Sammy got a bad rap.
He saved the band.
But he wasn’t “Diamond” Dave.
I would say MTV was in year five of its lifespan when this video was released.
A year later, “Diamond” Dave went solo (and almost directly began to fall into obscurity), and his departure caused one of the most devastating break ups in rock ‘n’ roll history.
The video for Hot For Teacher captured them at the pinnacle of their career. A career they worked hard for.
You could see and feel the fun they were having as a band at the time by simply watching them all in this video, at Eddies childish grin sparkling throughout
They were dominating the music world, endlessly touring and working. Then finally, with the release of the album, “1984”, they broke into the mainstream.
Playing music together since the early 70s, high school friends Dave, Eddie brother Alex played friends parties, which lead to massive crowds in the backyard’s of friends houses in the suburbs of Los Angeles.
Moving up to small dive bars on Sunset Boulevard, eventually Gene Simmons of Kiss saw them play and tried to get them a record contract in New York.
He was unsuccessful, but they now had a demo tape that eventually landed in the hands of music producer Ted Templton who went to see them play and signed them to Warner Bros. Records soon after.
They cracked the music scene wide-open in 1978 with the release of their debut album, “Van Halen”.
They toured endlessly, put out a record every year from 1978 to 1983…each one more diverse, structured and polished.
With each new album, they refined their sound.
In 1980 the band released it’s third album, Women And Children First. They were a songwriting machine.
Dave’s lyrics were a signature part of the music. They put a fun loving spin on Eddie’s guitar sound, which was redefining what people thouggt was possible with a guitar.
Michael Anthony slapped that bass guitar, but also sang the high notes on backing vocals, providing a harmony to Daves scratchy baritone.
Alex Van Halen.
Eddie’s brother, and a fiercly loyal one to this day. he was more comfortable behind the drum set then he had been previously. and the evidence is all over the album especially on track 2, Everybody Wants Some.
By the time 1982’s “Diver Down” was released, they were selling out arenas and making record amounts of money to play 45 minute shows to crowds of 50,00 to 70,000 people.
But they hadn’t had a single reach number 1 on the Billboard hot top 100 charts.
When they recorded their sixth album, “1984”, in 1983 they did it at Eddie Van Halen’s new custom built state of the art home studio. “5150 Studios” (5150 is the Los Angeles police dept. code for a criminally insane person).
It was here that they would make the record that propelled them to rock God status:
MTV was now a required platform to advertise your music on, if you released a single, a video needed to come with it.
They put out a video for their number one single, “Jump” and the single “Panama”….but it was the video for the albums sixth track, “Hot For Teacher“, that received the press and attention.
Shot mostly in black and white, it was a comedic look at a young boy named “Waldo” going to grade school, terrified with social awkwardness.
We then see each of the 4 members of the bands prepubescent counterparts sitting in class waiting for the new teacher to arrive, who ends up being a swimsuit model beauty…treating the kids to shows of her dancing and modeling for them to their delight.
As I write this it sounds a bit sick.
But I was one of those kids back then, and it was one of the most requested videos of the then brand new MTV .
Now my cousins didn’t have cable TV, it was a new thing with too much lewd content that my Aunt, the greatest Aunt and Godmother on the planet , didn’t want her children exposed to because she was a great mother.
But they get it, along with MTV, and all I can remember is that they saw this video…they being my cousins and my godfather, and my godmother.
It was smut as far as Aunt Linda was concerned and she was a teacher, so when she said:
“NO. Not in my house.”
Cable TV was gone.
And it was Van Halen that took cable away from my cousins.
Meanwhile at my house, my brother and I had been introduced to VH by Richie, our childhood friend from up the block.
Rich had sisters, the oldest of which also liked Halen but owned the albums.
When I expressed an interest in them, 1984 had just broken…”Panama” was released and Brother Rich brought down the rest of their albums on vinyl for us to delve into.
Derek dug them, but I fucking loved them.
Every year a different album became my favorite.
And to this day, Brother Rich and I still send random text messages back and forth to each other out of the blue simply stating one thing.
For the greatest aunt in the world, this ones for her,
Love you Aunt Linda.
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