Van Halen “Ice Cream Man” (1978)

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I can’t say I was ever really a big Van Halen fan so this tune from their self-titled debut album eluded me until many years later when my friend Skemmit included it on a mix CD – I believe tucked between songs by The Bogmen, Johnny Cash, Gorillaz and Ween…his mix CDs were seriously mixed – and I do have to give VH their due: this song totally rocks (the jump at 1:12 alone is worth the tune). Eddie’s tapping technique may not generally be my thing, but he’s unique, damn talented, and a legend among guitarists, plus he was good enough for Michael Jackson to play the guitar solo on ‘Beat It’, so what the hell. And as for the over-the-top David Lee Roth as a front man, he himself would no doubt gladly tell you that just like the titular Ice Cream Man he’s “guaranteed to satisfy.”

In a classic bit of his always-welcome overkill, my favorite Pop Culture writer on earth, Chuck Klosterman, recently ranked and wrote about all 131 Van Halen songs ever recorded, and in it he completely nailed my feeling on this one (#42 on his list): “People who don’t much care for Van Halen tend to like this song, as do small children who believe it’s literally about ice cream.” I feel just fine in both categories.


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