So This Is Love?

Album: Fair Warning (1981)
Charted: 110
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Songfacts®:

  • In the original handwritten lyrics for the song, frontman David Lee Roth wrote the title "Flesh And Blood (Bannana Oil)," with that "Bannana" being his misspelling (hey, there was no spell-check in 1981, and he probably didn't have a dictionary handy). The original title might have better suited the final song, because nothing in the lyrics sounds like "love" as any mature adult conceives of the idea.

    What is described in the song is clearly lust, not love, as Roth sees a woman on the street and is filled with desire. Libidinous hormones flood his mind with carnal illusions of love, but he's really just hoping to bed her.

    "So This is Love?" is a fun song meant in good humor. Van Halen as a band never claimed to be deep or philosophical. This was the '80s, which are remembered as times of mindless greed by detractors and carefree fun by nostalgic admirers. The truth lies somewhere in between, shaded in each case by each individual perspective and existential disposition.
  • The original lyrics included the verse:

    Flesh and blood
    Oooh I need your love
    C'mon honey take me home
    Flesh and blood
    That's what everybody wants
    Look at me I'm skin and bone


    It's interesting that the verse isn't in the final recording because it encapsulates better than any other what the song is really getting at. Roth is aware he's "just a man," skin and bone, yearning for sex and pretty things. Hell, maybe there is more of a philosophical backbone to the song (not likely, though, and fun-times Roth would likely cringe at the suggestion).
  • This was the first of four singles released off of Van Halen's fourth studio album, Fair Warning. On the Hot 100, it bubbled under at #110 (the lowest the chart went at the time) for one week; it hit #15 on the Mainstream Rock chart.
  • According to the Van Halen News Desk, the Eddie Van Halen guitar solo in the song was compiled from about four different takes.
  • There are two videos for the song. The first comes from the original release of the single. It's a recording of a live June 1981 performance in Oakland, California.

    The second video was filmed near the end of 1981 but was lost to the dust bins of history for more than 40 years before the Van Halen Italia Fan Club found it and released it on YouTube in June 2021.

    That video was filmed at the Preshistoric Park of Rivolta D'Adda near Milan, Italy. The band had been touring Europe and stopped to record some bits for the Happy Circus television show that played on Italian state television.

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