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Top 10 Van Halen Songs

VO: Rebecca Brayton
Formed in 1972 in California, Van Halen have made a name for themselves in the history of music thanks to their brand of hard rock and heavy metal. Despite their success and international popularity, they have also been in the spotlight because of their frequent line-up changes. Regardless, their music speaks for itself. For this list, we’ve chosen our entries based on a combination of the artist’s fan favorites and their most commercially successful songs. Join as we count down our picks for the top 10 Van Halen songs. Special thanks to our users zendaddy621, Antcar99, turtlecams, kyledella12, Al Bebak, Britton Metallic' Kirkland, Sean Idland, Allrocker44, Awesome One and jman1980s for submitting the idea on our Suggest Page at WatchMojo.comsuggest

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They’re hot for teacher. Welcome to, and today we are counting down the top 10 Van Halen songs.

For this list, we’ve chosen our entries based on a combination of the artist’s fan favorites and their most commercially successful songs.

#10: “Right Now”
For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge (1991)

Tired of writing superficial lyrics, Sammy Hagar gave more serious topics a try on this track from Van Halen’s ninth record. Thanks to its exploration of socially relevant issues, “Right Now” was later used to make political statements, but that’s not why it made our list. This hard rocker returns to the band’s guitar-based sound, adds some piano and offers an anthemic chorus. Let’s not forget its MTV VMA-winning music video.

#9: “Dance the Night Away”
Van Halen II (1979)

Inspired by Fleetwood Mac, Van Halen composed this song in the late 1970s for their sophomore effort. Thanks to Eddie Van Halen’s guitar tapping, David Lee Roth’s accessible vocals, Michael Anthony’s memorable bass lines and a danceable rhythm, the hard rocking tune earned crossover appeal. “Dance the Night Away” became the band’s first single to chart within the Billboard Hot 100’s top twenty.

#8: “Runnin’ with the Devil”
Van Halen (1978)

Because their first-ever single was a Kinks cover, many people were only really introduced to Van Halen’s mix of heavy metal and hard rock on “Runnin’ with the Devil.” As the second single from their self-titled debut, it showed the band didn’t only know how to rock, but they also knew how to rock hard. While Roth displayed his screams, the band offered a sonic assault that kept us hooked all the way through.

#7: “Unchained”
Fair Warning (1981)

Van Halen’s fourth record is considered a much darker and heavier effort than their previous records. This 3-and-a-half minute number just about halfway through Fair Warning is no exception. With its quick pace, Roth’s tough vocals and Eddie Van Halen’s use of the audio effect called flanging, “Unchained” has become a fan favorite. It’s also memorable for the inclusion of producer Ted Templeman’s voice during the interlude.

#6: “Dreams”
5150 (1986)

While it still features Van Halen’s hard rock sound, this single from their first album with Sammy Hagar differentiates itself with its synth rock influences. This meant Eddie Van Halen was doing double duty on guitar and keyboards, and the result was a top 30 track on the Billboard Hot 100. Nine years later, “Dreams” helped the band attract new fans when it was used in “Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Movie.”

#5: “Eruption/You Really Got Me”
Van Halen (1978)

“Eruption” is a short instrumental piece that precedes Van Halen’s cover of The Kinks on their debut album. As such, they’re often played together both in concert and on the radio. That’s why we’ve bundled them here, though they’re both great for different reasons: thanks to Eddie Van Halen’s famous tapping technique, the former’s one of the most respected guitar solos ever, while “You Really Got Me” gave the band their first top 40 hit.

#4: “Jump”
1984 (1984)

With its synth-infused opening and stadium rock sound, “Jump” seemed destined for live play. While it features an Eddie Van Halen guitar solo, 1984’s lead single also paved the way for the band to adopt a more mainstream sound. The tune caught on so well, it became Van Halen’s first and only Hot 100 chart-topper. Radio and MTV also embraced the track, and it remains one of their most well known today.

#3: “Hot for Teacher”
1984 (1984)

While this hard rock and heavy metal number features some splendid guitar work from Eddie Van Halen, it’s the energetic drumming by his brother Alex that ultimately drives the track. And while it only found moderate success on the Billboard charts, “Hot For Teacher” still made waves for its risqué lyrical content. But it’s the single’s accompanying music video, starring a scantily clad former Playboy Playmate that we still can’t seem to forget.

#2: “Ain’t Talkin’ ‘Bout Love”
Van Halen (1978)

Though the groundbreaking sound of their eponymous first album spawned several classics, it’s “Ain’t Talkin’ ‘Bout Love” that’s got us hooked. After the opening riff reels us in, we’re immediately transfixed by Eddie Van Halen’s raw guitar and entranced by David Lee Roth’s hard rockin’ vocals. The almost 4-minute tune really packs a punch and has spawned multiple covers.

Honorable Mentions

“Everybody Wants Some!!” Women and Children First (1980)
“Atomic Punk” Van Halen (1978)
“Humans Being” Twister and Best of Volume I (1996)
“Love Walks In” 5150 (1986)
“Poundcake” For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge (1991)
“Can’t Stop Lovin’ You” Balance (1995)

#1: “Panama”
1984 (1984)

While it’s rumored to be about a car, “Panama”’s lyrics also feature some sexually suggestive moments that are hard to ignore. Despite this, or maybe because of it, the 3-and-a-half minute number from 1984 charted within the Billboard Hot 100’s top twenty. But that’s not all: with its heavy guitar riff, anthemic nature, and fusion of hard rock and heavy metal, it’s everything you’d want from a Van Halen track and so much more.

Do you agree with our list? What’s your favorite Van Halen song? With new top 10s published every day, be sure to subscribe to

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