Friday, July 4, 2014

"(Oh) Pretty Woman" by Van Halen

Song#:  0906
Date:  02/06/1982
Debut:  84
Peak:  12
Weeks:  16
Genre:  Rock

Pop Bits:  Van Halen's 1981 album "Fair Warning" was their best on the chart to that point peaking at #5. Following its release, they embarked on an extensive tour that took time away from writing and recording. After the tour they wanted to take their time and really focus on the next album, so to keep their name kicking around they decided to do a quick toss-off cover for their next single. This cover tune became an unexpected hit, their biggest at the time, and it forced the band to get in the studio asap and push out an album. Consisting of five cover songs and others that had been kicking around already, the band rushed out "Diver Down." Although critics mostly panned the LP, it was a big hit peaking at #3 and eventually going 4x platinum. 

ReduxReview:  I thought this single was kind of lame back in the day. I considered it a smarmy rock redo of a revered classic. These days I'm less hoity-toity about stuff like this and can appreciate the fun aspect of the tune. It's not even close to being one of Van Halen's best, but I hear it differently now and like it better.

ReduxRating:  6/10

Trivia:  Double Shot!  1) This is a remake of the classic Roy Orbison #1 from 1964. Many artists have covered the song, but Van Halen's is the only other one to reach the pop chart.  2) It was still early in the days of MTV and content could be an issue, as it was for many years. Van Halen's video for this song was one of the first to be banned by the channel. One of the main reasons was near the beginning of the video where a woman is held captive and basically fondled by little people. What was revealed near the end was that the woman was actually a man in drag, which just kind of made things worse. It's considered tame by today's standards but was definitely not appreciated by parents of the day who flooded MTV with calls.


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