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Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Songs of My Life #56 – Van Halen – Panama – 1984



Songs of My Life #56 – Van Halen – Panama – 1984.

The big hit from Van Halen’s 1984 album was the single release ‘Jump’, which apart from the increase in the use of synth and keyboards was a popular crossover between the pop and harder rock fans that proliferated my year in high school. And while I did love and still love that particular song, it was always ‘Panama’ that grabbed me more once I got my hands on the album.

Why? Well, listen to the way the song is structured and played and you’ll get a better idea. The start of the song kicks you in the chest immediately, it has that energetic start that pulls you straight in without reservations. The thumping rhythm of Alex’s kit and Michael’s bass combined with the brilliance of Ed’s guitar are there from the start, allowing no respite. DLR’s vocals chime in and power away as well, and the simple bridge and chorus are made for singing along to. Even the laid back section in the middle of the song is just perfect Van Halen.

While I had heard little bits of Van Halen before this, it was “1984” that made me a fan, and both ‘Jump’ and ‘Panama’ were huge pieces of that. The devastation I felt when they announced Dave was leaving the band is still as real today as it was back then.

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