Best of Both Worlds

Best of Both Worlds

4.0 12
by Van Halen

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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…  See more details below


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.

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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.]

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Product Details

Release Date:


Disc 1

  1. Eruption
  2. You Really Got Me
  3. Ain’t Talkin’ ’Bout Love
  4. Jamie’s Cryin’
  5. Runnin’ With The Devil
  6. Beautiful Girls
  7. Dance The Night Away
  8. And The Cradle Will Rock...
  9. Everybody Wants Some
  10. Unchained
  11. Dancing In The Street
  12. (Oh) Pretty Woman
  13. Hot For Teacher
  14. Jump
  15. Panama
  16. I’ll Wait
  17. Why Can’t This Be Love
  18. Dreams
  19. Best Of Both Worlds
  20. Love Walks In

Disc 2

  1. When It's Love
  2. Finish What You Started
  3. Feels So Good
  4. Black And Blue
  5. Poundcake
  6. Runaround
  7. Right Now
  8. Top Of The World
  9. Can’t Stop Loving You
  10. Not Enough
  11. It’s About Time
  12. Learning To See
  13. Up For Breakfast
  14. Ain’t Talkin’ ’Bout Love
  15. Jump
  16. Panama

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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
Michael Anthony   Bass,Background Vocals

Technical Credits

Ivory Joe Hunter   Composer
Marvin Gaye   Composer
Sammy Hagar   Composer
Michael McDonald   Composer
Roy Orbison   Composer
David Lee Roth   Composer
Ray Davies   Composer
Glen Ballard   Audio Production
Bruce Fairbairn   Audio Production
Andy Johns   Audio Production
William "Mickey" Stevenson   Composer
Ted Templeman   Audio Production
Van Halen   Audio Production
Eddie Van Halen   Composer
Alex Van Halen   Composer
David Wild   Liner Notes
Jeri Heiden   Art Direction
Steve Woolard   Discographical Annotation
Bill Dees   Composer
Michael Anthony   Composer
Sara Cumings   Art Direction

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The Best of Both Worlds 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 12 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
If there was something missing from the Van Halen catalogue for all of these years it was a definitive compilation. In 1993 the rockers released the double live album "Right Here, Right Now." It was as good a Van Halen compilation that could be found, even after 15 of recorded music had passed. Never the less, it was a LIVE recording, featuring Sammy Hagar run through most of his hits with the band while omiting most of the David Lee Roth era classics that laid the foundation. In 1996 after Hagar had apparently balked at the idea of a greatest hits compilation and was fired, or left the band, Diamond Dave was brought back into fray. While there's no sense in restatting what happened from there, we all know what went down, it did give birth to the first official Van Halen compilation, "Best Of Volume I." Judging from the single disk nature that features two new Roth tracks, one new song from Hagar and only 14 other tunes rounding out the band's career it's no wonder that fans had been clamoring for a DEFINITIVE Van Halen retrospective for quite some time. Perhaps following the lead of the Rolling Stones (who were also in need of a comprehensive career spanning hits collection when they released the stellar "40 Licks" compilation two years ago) Van Halen gives the fans what they want, at least in terms of bulk. It's hard to argue with any of the 30 songs the band chose to represent their illustrious career. That's not to say there aren't some gems missing of course, but in terms of what you could fit into 160 minutes of music and two CD's, VH and Warner Brothers get it right on "The Best Of Both Worlds." In addition to the Van Halen and Van "Hagar" classics there are three live songs and three new tracks. The new songs are pleasant if not overwhelming. The band sounds good on each but it's clear that the time apart has meant that it will take a bit MORE time before the boys really hone their song writing chops in the studio. Three other songs are culled from Van Halen's live album, the somewhat uninspiring "Live: Right Here, Right Now." The selection of the songs is a bit bizarre at first glance as many will wonder why three David Lee Roth era tunes were picked with Hagar singing the lead. Deeper investigation however reveals that Van Halen, as they tear across America on their reunion tour wants to give the fans a slice of what Roth-era songs sung by Hagar is really like and in turn, perhaps what to expect as the VH catalogue really gets opened up on tour this time around. Other than that there are the standards. As the listener will quickly realize, these aren't just Van Halen standards but a microcosm of what mainstream hard rock and arena rock was between the late-70's and mid-90's. It's impossible not to remeber the awe inspiring theatrics of "Diamond" Dave and guitar wizzardry of Eddie Van Halen on "Van Halen I" standards like "Runnin' With The Devil", "Ain't Talkin' Bout Love", "Jamie's Cryin'" the classic Kinks cover "You Really Got Me" and Eddie's showcase "Eruption." Other great tunes form that classic album like "Feel Your Love Tonight", "Ice Cream Man" and "I'm The One" may be ommited, but you won't even notice as the music and vibe take you on a ride. That ride continues through five more Dave-era Van Halen staples. Van Halen II's two classics "Dance The Night Away" and Beautiful Girls" are here, as are the double hard rock punch of "And The Cradle Will Rock" and "Everybody Wants Some" from VH's third album. The only somewhat less than represented album comes as no surprise to hard core Van Halen fans. The band's fourth album "Fa
Guest More than 1 year ago
Its good that they finally realsed a cd this big. its got all of the Van Halen goodness as well as some new stuff. we'll have to see how those songs turn out...
Guest More than 1 year ago
Finally, it's here! A greatest hits package that includes both the Roth and Hagar eras of Van Halen. This is a must own for any hard rock fans. Two minor gripes, though... 1) We get "Pretty Woman" and "Dancin' in the Streets" from the Diver Down CD. Why not include one original VH song from that CD? "Little Guitars" would have been a welcome selection. 2) Also, how could "Humans Being" not be included? It's one of their most rocking songs in recents years. I guess its omission is just a ploy to get folks to buy the "Twister" soundtrack or the first VH hits CD. Gripes aside, it makes an excellent addition to anyone's rock library.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Finally, a compilation worthy of VH. Two power packed discs instead of that puzzling single set released back in '96. Thirty six tracks and they almost got it right...I would have easily given 5 stars + if not for the ommision of Mean Street, the best VH song ever. I'm also surprised that Summer Nights is not included...but Not Enough is?? The three new songs are cool, hopefully they'll put together a brand new cd in the near future because it's obvious they still have IT. The sequencing of the tunes surprised me at first, every other one is Dave/Sammy, except for the 3 new ones, bunched at the beginning of disc 1 and the 3 live ones at the end of disc 2. After a few listens I kind of like that they did it that way. I highly recommend this package, you'll put it in your cd player and I guarantee you'll keep it in there for a long time. Here's hoping a box set of alternates, outtakes and b-sides are in the works!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Great collection. Accuratly spans the Sammy and Dave years with all the singles. A few reasons for not giving the 5th star: With a complete career collection should have put at least 2 songs from the Van Halen III album with Gary Cherone. Although poorly received and the worst selling VH album it was a GREAT CD- seems like Eddie is trying to erase the album from the VH slate. Not to include at least "Without You" and "Fire In The Hole"(great tunes!) is disappointing. Also could have dropped the live songs at the end and included some more from BALANCE like "Don't Tell Me (What Love Can Do)" or at least the GRAMMY NOMINATED "The Seventh Seal".
Guest More than 1 year ago
The only legitimate way to do a 2 CD set is to have disc one ENTIRELY composed of the DLR years. The four Sammy tunes should have been replaced in favor of "You're No Good", "Bottoms Up!", "So This Is Love", and "Hear About It Later" Granted, this is much better than the single disc compilation but for those of us tired of having Sammy shoved down our throats (especially with the reunion) it would've been nice if the Dave years had been treated with the same respect.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I guess we can all dispose of Van Halen's "Best Of Volume 1" CD now that "The Best Of Both Worlds" double disc is available. I give this compilation only 4 stars out of 5 for the following reason: What gives with placing only ONE track off of the "Fair Warning" album? "The Best Of Both Worlds" could have included at least a couple other songs from "Fair Warning", preferably 'So This Is Love' and 'Mean Streets'. Overall, I recommend this compilation to all Van Halen fans and to anyone who appreciates Hard Rock (and Rock & Roll, period). VAN HALEN RULES!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I would have given this 5 stars, but the omission of Gary Cherone and VH III was puzzling. Granted, it didn't sell well, but "Without You"(my personal favorite VH song)and "Fire in the Hole" are GREAT songs. Also, they should have put "Humans Being", "Don't Tell Me(What Love Can Do)", and "Mean Street" on the album instead of the live tracks. I do hope that VH comes out with a new album SOON with all new material. The three new songs are really good. A Box set of unreleased material, B-sides, rarities, etc. would also be nice.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I was happy to see that they decided to put out a two disc set celebrating "both worlds". I was saldy disappointed when I found out that it was more Hagar than Roth. The three new songs were a great idea; they should've been offset by the three live Roth songs. They're NOT. (Here's where the blasphemy comes in.) Three live Roth-era songs...ALL SUNG BY SAMMY HAGAR??? I want to hear Sammy singing Panama as much as I want to hear Dave singing Dreams....NOT AT ALL. Were there more songs that could've been added to this compilation to make it a "complete" hits package? Sure. "So This Is Love", "Humans Being", "Don't Tell Me", "Bottoms Up", "Mean Streets", etc. all could've been added. It's pretty good (much better than the GH from '97). I give it 3 Stars; not the worst/not the best they could've done.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The constant alternation between Roth and Hagar era Van Halen tracks is annoying. Just pass this CD up and get the original albums from both the Roth and Hagar eras of Van Halen.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago