Yankee Rose

Album: Eat Em' And Smile (1986)
Charted: 16

Songfacts®:

  • This song is a tribute to the Statue of Liberty in New York. It was released around the time it was being renovated, so interest was high in the statue.
  • David Lee Roth's first solo effort was his Crazy from the Heat EP, which he released while he was still in Van Halen. That EP contained two hit singles, "California Girls" and "Just A Gigolo / I Ain't Got Nobody," which kept him on radio and MTV throughout the spring and summer of 1985. At the end of the summer, he left Van Halen.

    Crazy from the Heat was all cover songs and was laced with jocularity. For his first full-length solo album, he wanted to prove that he was much more than a novelty act outside the confines of Van Halen. This meant assembling a band and writing original songs. The band was bass player "Bad" Billy Sheehan, drummer Gregg Bissonette, and crucially, guitarist Steve Vai.

    A rising star who did time with Frank Zappa, Alcatrazz and Public Image Ltd., Vai was one of the few guitarists who could approach the creative energy of Eddie Van Halen. His songwriting skills were key to the album's success: he co-wrote 6 of the 10 tracks with Roth, including the lead single, "Yankee Rose." Vai stayed with Roth for his next album, Skyscraper (1988), before focusing on his own solo career.
  • After Roth and Van Halen parted ways, they took some shots at each other in the press and tried to clear up perceived misconceptions. Roth made it clear that he fancied himself much more than just a showman and lyricist. Speaking with Winner magazine in 1986, he explained: "What I'm good at is the song-crafting end, tweaking out the little phrases. The two little high notes at the end of the phrase in 'Jump,' I wrote. The little riff in 'Yankee Rose,' that little ZZ Top-type riff that goes 'da da da da da da DAH dum' - that's me. When the two guitars do that thing in the middle, when everything stops and they do it together and it's just total spasmo - that's my contribution."
  • There is also a song from the 1920s called "Yankee Rose" that was written by Sidney Holden and Abe Frankl.
  • The music video starts with a skit where David Lee Roth, dressed in the warpaint and feathers he's wearing on the album cover, goes into a convenience store and asks for "a bottle of anything, to go."

    The rest of the video, which Roth directed with Pete Angelus, is a performance piece. The intro tied in the trial theme of the album cover and was a valiant effort to create a catch phrase along the lines of "Sit down, Waldo," which he uttered in the intro to the "Hot For Teacher" video.

Comments: 11

  • Doug from America@Rob A lot of 80s metal guitarists did that same guitar spin that Vai does in the video, such as the guitarists in Quiet Riot and Whitesnake (pre-Vai).
  • Doug from America@Don According to the Church of Satan, "Dr. LaVey wanted the significance [of "Yankee Rose" at the end of the Satanic Bible] to remain a mystery and we respect his wishes." That said, "Yankee Rose" is the title of an old patriotic pop song written by Sidney Holden (lyrics) and Abe Frankl (music) in the 1920s, meant as a tribute to the Statue of Liberty. LaVey liked to play this song on his organ, and you can hear this song covered by LaVey on his album, Satan Takes A Holiday. LaVey considered old pop songs, and not heavy metal music, to be the true music of the occult.
    You can't make this stuff up, LOL!

    Roth also considered his "Yankee Rose" to be a tribute to the Statue of Liberty. Not sure if or how his version ties in with either the older pop tune or Lavey's book (or recording).
  • Horace from Las Vegas, Nvawesome mtv video. When videos were at there peak. the video is shot on stage with roth getting crazy. It's the begining that is classic roth. As he walks into a liquor store after some funny scenes, he says to the clerk, " give me a bottle of anything and a glazed donut to go." classic 80's video.
  • Liquid Len from Ottawa, CanadaI could tell you, Don from St Antonio, but the illuminati would track me down and kill me.
  • Rob from Vancouver, CanadaDid anyone see Roth on the "Tonight Show"?
    I liked his early VH, but he's a few pucks short of a shutout.
  • Lucas from Melbourne, AustraliaShow me your bright lights!
    And your city lights!
    I'm talkin' 'bout a Yankee Rooose!

    Classic rock is the greatest form of music. Agreed? Agreed.
  • Rikki from Ashtabula, OhDavid Lee Roth is awesome. I like his stuff he did after Van Halen much better than what Van Halen did as Van Hagar. Roth is probably the best frontman i nmy opinion. This is an awesome song too. The wah is cool soundng too!
  • Adrian from Oxnard, CaDAVID LEE ROTH IS TE DEVIL!!
  • Don from San Antonio, TxThe Satanic Bible by Anton LaVey concludes with the words "Yankee Rose". I came here looking for an explanation, but there is no mention. Anyone else wanna shed light on this?
  • Rob from Santa Monica, CaThe video for this song featured Steve Vai performing his amazing "throw my guitar for a loop back over my shoulder" maneuver, without missing a note.
  • John from Cheshire, EnglandGuitarist Steve Via (ex Frank Zappa) played lead guitar on the "eat 'em and Smile" Album
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