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Runnin' With The Devil by Van Halen
Album: Van HalenReleased: 1978Charted:
This is the first song on the first Van Halen album. It starts with a backwards blare of car horns, which was made by a contraption Eddie Van Halen put together using a bunch of horns, a car battery, and a footswitch. They used to use it when they played at clubs.
Van Halen included this song on a demo Gene Simmons
produced for them in 1977. After seeing them in concert, Simmons flew the band to New York, bought them clothes, and set up a recording session. They didn't get a record deal out of it, but gained valuable experience.
Gene Simmons had the idea for the car horns at the beginning. He had the band do this on the 1977 "House Of Pain" demo he produced for them.
At one point, David Lee Roth says, "Goddamn it lady, you know I ain't lyin' too ya, I'm gonna tell you one time." Roth was never eloquent, but he was occasionally introspective (see "Hang 'Em High"), and even poetic (see "Secrets").
The song contains many of the things Van Halen became famous for: David Lee Roth's squeal, Eddie's guitar solo, and Michael Anthony's backup vocals.
Eddie's guitar is on the cover of the album. He pieced it together using parts of different guitars until he got the sound and feel he wanted. It is striped black and white on the album, but Eddie later painted it red.
This was easy for the band to record because they did not use many studio tricks. They pretty much recorded what they had been playing live for years. Later Van Halen albums became much more complicated.
Van Halen opened concerts for Journey and Black Sabbath after releasing this album, helping it sell over 5 million copies as more people found out about them.
This gets constant play on classic rock radio. It was not played a lot when it first came out because nobody had heard of Van Halen, so it was never burned out.
Adam Sandler pretends to play this with a devil-horned blade he uses as a guitar at the beginning of the 2001 movie Little Nicky. The song also appears in the pilot for the 1999 TV series Freaks and Geeks, and in the movies Lost & Found (1999) and Ready To Rumble (2000).
This bears a strong resemblance to Pink Floyd's similarly titled song "Run Like Hell
," particularly in the intro (one note on the bass played over and over interrupted by a guitar with echo). Both songs were released within a year of each other, so it is probably just a coincidence.
This was featured in a 2016 commercial for the Acura NSX that first aired during the Super Bowl.