Just Like Paradise

Album: Skyscraper (1988)
Charted: 27 6

Songfacts®:

  • "Just Like Paradise" was David Lee Roth's last big hit; in America it charted higher than any of his other solo tracks except his cover of "California Girls," which was released fresh off his departure from Van Halen. "Paradise" gave the Van Halen fans what they wanted from Roth: A song about living the good life with cars, girls and rock and roll - very similar to what he delivered with "Panama."
  • Roth wrote this song with Brett Tuggle, who also played keyboards and sang backup on the album. Tuggle toured with Rick Springfield for a few years before hooking up with Roth, and he later became a member of Mick Fleetwood's band The Zoo, which led to tours with Fleetwood Mac and Stevie Nicks.

    Tuggle came up with the track in 1987 after the Eat 'Em and Smile tour ended. Roth asked his band members to come up with song ideas, so Tuggle complied, composing the music on a keyboard. When he had the chord sequence and drums roughed out, he made a demo and took it Roth's guitarist, Steve Vai, who added a guitar part. Tuggle took it to Roth's house in Pasadena and played the cassette in his basement rehearsal space. When it ended, Roth took a hit from a joint and asked him to play it again. "He had the lyric for it at the next rehearsal," Tuggle told Rolling Stone. "It was interesting to see how fast that happened, and then to see it become the leadoff single from the second album was very exciting and thrilling for me."
  • Note that the title and lyrics are a mismatch: The lyrics go, "Just like living in paradise," while the song is properly titled "Just Like Paradise."
  • David Lee Roth went out on the edge for rock climbing footage used in the video and on the Skyscraper cover art, showing Roth clinging like a bug to the solid rock face of a mountain. That mountain is the famous Half Dome of Yosemite, an icon of California embedded on the state quarter and the driver's license. The really was Roth up there, although we didn't see the "bouts of shakes and deep breaths" that a member of the crew later described. Rock climbing is a very slow activity, so most of the video was performance footage of a preening Roth augmented by his guitarist Steve Vai and his 3-necked, heart-shaped guitar. Later in the video, we see Vai with a much more sensible guitar.
  • It was paradise-no-more when Roth's band had a particular run of bad luck right after Skyscraper. First guitarist Steve Vai left to go join Whitesnake. Then Roth brought in Jason Becker for a replacement - who was then diagnosed with Lou Gehrig's disease (that's the same one that physicist Stephen W. Hawking has). So they had to get Joe Holmes to fill in guitar for their next tour, by which time the '80s were over and grunge rock pushed classic arena/metal rock off the stage.

Comments: 6

  • AnonymousIs Steve Vai clowning SRV in the Video? Seriously, watch it again, and answer me.
  • Scotty B from DallasTo flashy to glamy to poppy. I did buy my ticket and did see the show live. Dave as a front man was entertaining but to much show not enough go for my tastes.
  • Doug from AmericaOops -- I just read that Dave shot at Lost Arrow spire, too, as well as Half Dome, during the album cover shoot.
  • Doug from AmericaBear's wrong. That is Half Dome and Dave was a rock climber, though not experienced at aid climbing. Dave did, however, need a lot of help to pull this off. Read about it here: https://www.thoughtco.com/rocker-david-lee-roth-skyscraper-3972248
  • Raunchy from Tulsa, OkYep, I remember this Roth hit. Back in '88 it was big. But ya know, I always thought Roth's voice wasn't right for rock.
  • Bear from Berkeley, CaThat's not Half Dome. He was on Lost Arrow Spire and El Capitan. He also wasn't a rock climber and needed a lot of help to pull this off.
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