News Segment


May 20, 2004

NEW YORK (Billboard) – Van Halen has recorded three new songs for inclusion on “The Very Best of Van Halen,” expected to come out later this summer to coincide with the rock band’s reunion tour.

The cuts “It’s About Time,” “Up for Breakfast” and “Learning To See” feature vocalist Sammy Hagar, who has rejoined the group eight years after an acrimonious departure.

The double-disc “Very Best” (Warner Music Group) picks up the Van Halen story with the iconic “Eruption” from the group’s self-titled 1978 debut. Every major hit is present, from the David Lee Roth-era smashes “Jump,” “Panama,” “I’ll Wait” and “(Oh) Pretty Woman” to such Hagar-associated material as “When It’s Love,” “Why Can’t This Be Love” and “Finish What Ya Started.”

Also featured are live versions of “Ain’t Talking ‘Bout Love,” “Jump” and “Panama” from the 1993 concert set “Right Here, Right Now.” Notably excluded are any songs from Van Halen’s last studio album, 1998’s commercial dud “Van Halen III,” the lone release to feature former Extreme vocalist Gary Cherone.

Van Halen’s first tour since 1998 will kick off June 11 in Greensboro, N.C. The band’s manager, Irving Azoff, recently told Billboard the trek will ultimately consist of four legs of 22 shows each.

According to a spokesperson, the album’s running order has not yet been finalized, contrary to the track list posted on Van Halen’s official Web site ( Van Halen previously released a single-disc hits package, “Best Of, Volume I,” in 1996. It featured two new tracks recorded during a brief and ill-fated reunion with Roth.

Jonathan Cohen courtesy of Billboard