×

Uh-oh, it looks like your Internet Explorer is out of date.

For a better shopping experience, please upgrade now.

Best of Both Worlds
     

The Best of Both Worlds

by Van Halen
 
As the title indicates, this two-disc retrospective strives to please both David Lee Roth devotees and Sammy Hagar heads by dividing its contents fairly equitably between the two frontmen -- leaving the Gary Cherone era mercifully untouched. Naturally, the collection presents

Overview

As the title indicates, this two-disc retrospective strives to please both David Lee Roth devotees and Sammy Hagar heads by dividing its contents fairly equitably between the two frontmen -- leaving the Gary Cherone era mercifully untouched. Naturally, the collection presents all the band's touchstones, from bulldozing early faves like "Ain't Talkin' 'Bout Love" to more sophisticated latter-day efforts like "Right Now," but just as important, it puts a three-pack of new tunes on the table. That material shows Van Halen to be anything but stuck in the past -- even though the nu-metal-styled "It's About Time" ends with Hagar bellowing a command to "turn your clocks back." That song is the strongest of the trio, but fans are likely to find plenty to dig in the typically strutting "Up for Breakfast" as well as "Learning to See," the requisite power ballad, replete with demonstrative piano lines from Eddie Van Halen. While there's not much in the way of rarities -- the concert staple "Eruption," previously only available on the B-side to "Runnin' With the Devil," is about as off-the-wall as it gets -- Best of Both Worlds ties together Van Halen's long and winding history with plenty of pizzazz.

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Stephen Thomas Erlewine
It's no secret that there's a deep animosity between Van Halen -- particularly their leader, guitarist Edward (formerly Eddie) Van Halen -- and their former frontman, David Lee Roth. His 1985 departure was acrimonious, and while his solo career paled in comparison to Van Halen's continued success with Sammy Hagar as their frontman, the group never escaped the shadow of Diamond Dave. No matter how many number one albums and singles they racked up, no matter how many shows they sold out, fans and critics alike preferred their gonzo days with Roth, and kept hounding the band for a reunion. Edward held his ground for years, but once the band stumbled with 1995's Balance, he reconsidered, courting Dave for an ill-fated mini-reunion for the 1996 hits compilation The Best of Van Halen, Vol. 1 -- a move that resulted not just in two enjoyable albeit underwhelming new songs, but also the alienation of Sammy, who left the band over this issue. Van Halen recruited Extreme vocalist Gary Cherone for 1998's Van Halen III, but instead of offering a new beginning, the album torpedoed the group's career, losing them fans and eventually their record contract. Years passed with no activity from the band, and the silence whetted the appetite for a reunion -- which for many meant a reunion with Dave, not Sammy, but bad blood can run deep, so when Edward pulled the rest of the band together for a comeback tour in 2004, he chose Hagar as the frontman. To promote the tour, the band assembled a new hits compilation, the double-disc, 36-track Best of Both Worlds. On the surface, this seemed like an ideal solution to the problems that plagued the half-baked Best Of, which at one disc couldn't possibly have fit the hits from both the Dave and Sam eras, but Best of Both Worlds turns out to be another botched collection, and one of the reasons it doesn't work as well as it should is that animosity toward David Lee Roth. Since the band's sound and popularity were built on the records they made with Roth, there was no way for Van Halen to ignore his contribution, but they do their damnedest to diminish it here. There are no pictures of Diamond Dave to be found in the artwork (unless you count the miniature reproductions of the sleeves of Van Halen and Women and Children First) and David Wild's liner notes mention him only twice -- once when he joins the band, once when he leaves -- while conspicuously lavishing praise on Sammy. As petty as this swipe is, it's understandable and could even be forgivable if the two discs were well assembled, but they're sabotaged by an absurd sequencing that alternates a Dave song with a Sammy song for the bulk of the entire collection. This is a jarring sequencing, to say the least, causing a whiplash change of tone, mood, and attitude with every song, which are otherwise well-chosen, containing the big hits from each era (the only exception is the boneheaded move to end the collection with three cuts from the 1993 live album Live: Right Here, Right Now, all Diamond Dave songs sung by Sammy). This attempt to elevate Sammy above Dave in the canon is a bit like trying to say Ronnie James Dio was more important to Black Sabbath than Ozzy Osbourne -- a piece of flat-out hyperbole that does a disservice to what the singer actually achieved. David Lee Roth was larger than life, a gonzo performance artist touched with genius who helped Van Halen seem bigger, sillier, grander than any other metal band; with him in front, they were giants, they were golden gods. Sammy Hagar was his opposite, an everyman who sang about girls and tequila, somebody who brought Van Halen back down to earth. Since part of the fun of rock stars is to have them be larger than life, a manifestation of the audience's dreams, fans naturally gravitate toward the Diamond Dave years, but there are merits to both approaches and both resulted in good to great music. But that's hard to appreciate on Best of Both Worlds, when the Dave and Sammy tunes are mixed up with no regard for chronological, musical, or emotional cohesiveness. The raw materials for a great Van Halen compilation are here -- it's just up to users to take these 36 songs and sequence them at home, on their CD players or iPods, to make this the compilation it should have been. [WEA International released the Very Best of Van Halen in 2004, which contains the exact same track listing.]

Product Details

Release Date:
04/10/2007
Label:
Rhino/Wea Uk
UPC:
0081227651527
catalogNumber:
276515
Rank:
25280

Tracks

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Van Halen   Primary Artist
Sammy Hagar   Acoustic Guitar,Electric Guitar,Vocals
David Lee Roth   Vocals
Alex Van Halen   Percussion,Drums,Background Vocals

Technical Credits

Ivory Joe Hunter   Composer
Marvin Gaye   Composer
Sammy Hagar   Composer,Producer
Roy Orbison   Composer
David Lee Roth   Composer
Ray Davies   Composer
Michael Anthony   Composer
Glen Ballard   Producer
Bruce Fairbairn   Producer
Lee Herschberg   Engineer
Andy Johns   Producer,Engineer
Donn Landee   Engineer
Bill Malina   Engineer
Peggy McCreary   Engineer
Gene Meros   Engineer
Erwin Musper   Engineer
Kent Nebergall   Engineer
Ted Templeman   Producer
Alex Van Halen   Composer,Producer
David Wild   Liner Notes
Mike Plotnikoff   Engineer
Corey Bailey   Engineer
Jeri Heiden   Art Direction
Steve Woolard   Discographical Annotation
Bill Dees   Composer
Jim Fitzpatrick   Engineer
Sara Cumings   Art Direction

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Post to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews