Video Hits, Vol. 1

by: Van Halen

Video Hits Vol. 1 is a good Van Halen clip collection, but not a great one -- there's too much Sammy Hagar and not enough David Lee Roth. This video is a companion to the Best of Van Halen, Vol. 1 album, although the song selections differ quite a bit. Without question, the best videos are "Jump," "Panama," and "Hot for Teacher." All three -- the stark, powerfully simple "Jump" in particular -- are 1980s video classics. It's hard to believe there was so much animosity between Eddie Van Halen and Roth, because they seemed to be having a blast. "Panama" features on-stage and behind-the-scenes silliness and excess. "Hot for Teacher" includes frightened schoolboy Waldo, Van Halen's child doubles, and bikini-clad "teachers" before the funny finale shows Alex Van Halen as a Beverly Hills gynecologist, Michael Anthony as a sumo wrestler, Eddie Van Halen as a mental-ward patient, and Roth as America's favorite TV game-show host. The Hagar-era videos gradually get more sophisticated and less fun. The Hagar standouts are "When It's Love" (set in a dark bar), the babe-loaded "Poundcake," and the critically acclaimed, text-heavy "Right Now," which won Best Video at MTV's Video Music Awards in 1992. (Note that "Dreams" is not the Blue Angels stunt-jets version; it was recorded live in 1993 at the Whisky-A-Go-Go in Los Angeles.) Video Hits, Vol. 1 was originally released in 1996, but the DVD (copyrighted in 1998 and released in 1999) adds "Without You," a lame song and so-so video with Extreme's Gary Cherone at the helm during his brief stay as Van Halen's frontman. Two rare videos missing from this collection are "Unchained" (filmed live in concert) and the cheesy yet fun "(Oh) Pretty Woman." They should have been included. ~ Bret Adams

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