Eddie Van Halen’s transcendent guitar work on the band’s first five albums led to many fans’ shock when he manned the keyboards and added synthesizers to their sound, most prevalent on the hit single “Jump” and its signature synth hook.
But as Carter points out in the video above, there’s still “plenty of rock” to be found on the album in tracks like “Hot for Teacher.”
“It was pretty obvious from an early time, from the very first appearance of keyboards, that Eddie had been able to reconcile guitar and keyboard,” he says, adding that the band experienced even more success with Sammy Hagar as they added more keys.
Perhaps the biggest point Carter makes is that the album came out right in the middle of the 1980s, when it was “hard to find guitars” in most forms of popular music. The move certainly didn’t hurt Van Halen then, and with the classic singles it produced, it only improved their legacy in the long-term.
– Matt Dolloff / 100.7 WZLX
Van Halen on ZLX: