Album review: Van Halen, Best of Volume I (1996)




By Steve Newton

Van Halen’s first-ever greatest-hits package is a generous collection of the legendary hard-rock act’s best-known material, but it still has its faults.

First off, the two new tracks that reunited the band with David Lee Roth—“Can’t Get This Stuff No More” and “Me Wise Magic”—were hardly worth the trouble of flying Diamond Dave in from Vegas. They boast little of the brash excitement of most Roth-era tunes, and should have been scrapped to make room for overlooked early gems such as “Little Dreamer” and “D.O.A.”—or the strangely absent Hagar-era standout, “Finish What Ya Started”.

If they were thinkin’, Warner Bros. would have simultaneously issued two separate discs—The Roth Years and The Hagar Years—which not only could have made them more bucks, but would’ve allowed the forever squabbling Van Halen fans to put their money where their Roth-or-Hagar allegiances lie.

Of course, since this compilation is only Volume I, who knows how many more volumes we’ll see before the Van Halen cash cow has been sufficiently milked.

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