VAN HALEN – Fair Warning

Van Halen – Fair Warning [Remastered] (2000, Warner Bros. Records)
Original Release: 1981, Warner Bros. Records

1. “Mean Street” … 4:55
2. “Dirty Movies” … 4:06
3. “Sinner’s Swing” … 3:08
4. “Hear About It Later” … 4:33
5. “Unchained” … 3:27
6. “Push Comes to Shove” … 3:48
7. “So This Is Love?” … 3:05
8. “Sunday Afternoon In The Park” … 2:00
9. “One Foot Out The Door” … 1:56

David Lee Roth – Lead Vocals
Eddie Van Halen – Guitar, Backing Vocals
Michael Anthony – Bass, Backing Vocals
Alex Van Halen – Drums

Producer: Ted Templeman

The group’s fourth album shows off a darker, meaner and heavier Van Halen, but this album is still a classic nonetheless. You can’t go wrong with any album from Roth’s first run in the band. Eddie wanted a more “serious” sound (Roth wanted more of a pop direction) for the band and has admitted in later years that he was heavily into cocaine & alcohol during the making of this album, so I guess that accounts for the darkness this album wallows in.

If you need any confirmation that this isn’t your typical “all smiles” Van Halen, just check out the obligatory Eddie instrumental “Sunday Afternoon In The Park”. Quite a departure from “Eruption” and “Spanish Fly”!

As with the case of many classics, there’s not a whole lot for me to say that hasn’t already been said (and said better). Every Roth-VH album is essential listening for any and all rock fans.

This is the least successful album of all the Roth/Hagar years as it “only” has gone double platinum and failed to spawn a big hit song at the time (though I’ve heard “Unchained” quite a lot on radio over the years).

The edition I have of this album is the remaster from 2000. The 2000 Van Halen remasters was one of those annoying remasters sereies where no thought was given to throwing a few bonus tracks on for the fans. You mean to tell me there’s no demos, b-sides, alternate takes or live tracks laying around? Give me a break.

Highlights: “Mean Street”, “Dirty Movies”, “Sinner’s Swing”, “Hear About It Later”, “Unchained”, “So This Is Love?”


Posted on September 30, 2009, in Van Halen and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Fair Warning is, far and away, my favorite Van Halen album, and I love them all (well, all except for VHIII, which is merely OK.)

    It’s a little short on run time, but it packs a powerful punch. And it does so, as you suggest, with a less “commercial” approach. I don’t want to overstate it, but it’s something of a experimental album. “Hear About it Later” is Eddie at his best, but the song doesn’t sound like anything or anyone else, and it certainly isn’t what one would consider mainstream. I love that FW is so dark and brooding, a nice switch for Van Halen.

  2. anything ROTH is good with me. I obsessed over each of the VH albums during the Roth years and I especially appreciated the darker, grittier side of this album.

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