Runnin' With The Devil words and music by Van Halen
track one on Van Halen I (1978)

This was it the breakout record, the breakneck single, the break-it-down, from the two Dutch brothers, Van HalenĀ“s debut single, Runnin With The Devil. Take one spoonful Led Zeppelin, one sugarcube of Jimi Hendrix, a dash of California megalomaniac David Lee Roth, mix it all together and what do you have? American Rock and Roll - a fine tuned machine.
The guitar work is frenzied and slick... David Lee Roth's vocals pierce me. If you've never checked out Van Halen... don't try Jump, don't waste your time with any of that Sammy Hagar shit... get this song and see what it's all about

So the song starts with a few good yells from David Lee Roth:
Yeah, Yeah!
Ah, yeah!

Then we have the first verse: it's nothing special, Van Halen proved itself on its energy not it's Shakespearean lyrics.
I live my life like there's no tomorrow
And all I've got I had to steal
Least I don't need to beg or borrow
Yes I'm living at a pace that kills

Now we get the chorus:
Oooh, yeah
(Ahh!) Runnin' with the devil (Ahh-hah! Yeah!)
(Woo-hoo-oo!) Runnin' with the devil
I'm gonna tell ya all about it

Verse 2: the standard storyof the grass not being greener on the other side, the simple life being more complex than rocket science.
I found the simple life ain't so simple
When I jumped out, on that road
I got no love, no love you'd call real
Ain't got nobody, waitin' at home

The chorus again:
(Ah, yeah-ah!)
Runnin' with the devil
(God damn it lady. You know I ain't lyin' to ya)
(I'm only gonna tell you one time-ya!)
Runnin' with the devil
(Yes I am! Yeah!)

This is where we get to hear what would become the patented Edward Van Halen guitar solo... fluent, quicksilver, mecurial slipslide, sonic screaming...
(Guitar Solo)

some more enthusiasm from avid Lee and then the second verse repeats itself along with the chorus before the song fades out...

fade out

So there you have it... Van Halen at its best. Never mind Bon Jovi, bollocks to Def Leppard, screw Motley Crue, Van Halen was the premiere hair rock and roll band of the late seventies and eighties.

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