Joey’s Top 10s: Top 10 Van Halen songs

Joey counts down top 10 songs from one of the most iconic rock bands of all time



Eddie Van Halen going ham at a concert in 2014.


Van Halen has been one of my favorite bands for as long as I can remember, with “Jump” and “Panama” being the two I recall most distinctly from my childhood. However, the band is so much more than those two hits.

Van Halen is one of the few bands who had a change in their roster and still managed to be successful.

When Sammy Hagar took over after David Lee Roth got fired/quit (the story is told differently from both sides), the band didn’t fizzle out; they arguably got more popular. David Lee Roth brought his screeching “bad boy” style and Sammy Hagar was the king of the 80s power ballads.

Anyway, here are my top 10 songs by the mighty Van Halen.

  1. “Could This Be Magic?”

The least stereotypical “Van Halen-y” song on this list, “Could This Be Magic?” has Eddie Van Halen, legendary guitar soloist, playing a sea shanty-esque piece on guitar.

I think this song is a nice way of showing off the band’s musical talent, and that they can stray away from their hard-rocking roots to deliver this fun and slightly goofy song.

  1. “Atomic Punk”

Coming from Van Halen’s debut album (cleverly named “Van Halen”), “Atomic Punk” paints a dark picture of a post-apocalyptic scene where the narrator has declared himself the king.

It features Van Halen’s signature guitar tone soaking with reverb, and his brother Alex goes to town on the drums.

  1. “Can’t Stop Lovin’ You”

The first song of the “Van Hagar” era to make this list, “Can’t Stop Lovin’ You” is a really sweet ballad that you do not have to look past the title of the song to grasp.

I like the band’s Hagar era because of the more heartfelt lyrics and themes behind the hard-rocking guitar tracks that Eddie lays down.

  1. “Right Now”

This is perhaps one of the most inspiring songs by the band, almost a direct antithesis to “Jump” in my opinion.

“Right Now” inspires the listener to not wait to start accomplishing something, and that waiting or putting off a task is counterproductive. The lyrics of this song are equally as important and heavy hitting as the instrumental portion.

  1. “Why Can’t This Be Love”

From the album “5150,” “Why Can’t This Be Love” is filled with synth riffs, a musical direction that Van Halen started to lean in their smash hit album “1984,” and a possible reason why Roth got fired/quit/whatever actually happened. It is another classic Hagar ballad about yearning for love.

  1. “Dance the Night Away”

A simple (by Van Halen standards) but effective riff from Eddie VH on the guitar, and classic Roth screams, this song screams summer vacation to me.

  1. “Hot For Teacher”

One of the coolest intro riffs in music history, “Hot For Teacher” begins with Alex Van Halen on drums imitating a V8 engine followed by Eddie putting on a masterclass of the tapping technique he revolutionized.

While I will leave you readers to interpret the meaning of the song for yourself, this is one of the best songs in rock history.

  1. “Jump”

Arguably the most popular song by the band, “Jump” hit the airwaves with the release of “1984” and has not left since.

I am sure everyone reading this list has heard the song, and probably does not need to hear my two cents on why you should listen to it. And on the off chance you have not heard it (first off, how?) please go check it out, it is some of the best four minutes in music.

  1. “Panama”

Another all-time great song coming off the album “1984,” “Panama” is another song that speaks for itself.

“Panama” is a classic Van Halen song that gets played far too often (or maybe not enough) at 4th of July parties. It is a fun, upbeat and all-around good-time song to listen to.

Honorable Mentions: “When It’s Love,” “Ice Cream Man,” “Eruption”

  1. “Feel Your Love Tonight”

What? Surprised that “Jump” is not at the top of the list?

I truly think that “Feel Your Love Tonight” is not only the best song on Van Halen’s legendary debut album, but their best song ever. Period.

This song has every element of a Van Halen hit: heavy guitar riff, screechy Roth vocals and a killer guitar solo that is impossible to recreate. If you do not believe me, check the song out and report back. It is a masterpiece and is truly all you can ask for in a rock song.