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What if David Bowie replaced David Lee Roth in Van Halen in 1985? Were the signs there all along? How does House Of Pain play into this? And were Kriss Kross wearing their clothes backwards in an attempt to get back to the time when Roth was in the mighty VH? Young Southpaw investigates
Taking in 1984, Diamond Dogs, Dancing In The Street, The Pointer Sisters, RATT, and much more
“I have a new album out, ‘The Lost Archimedes’. You can get it over on Bandcamp, youngsouthpaw.bandcamp.com And on the album I broach the subject that what if David Bowie had replaced David Lee Roth in Van Halen?
I mean makes sense, ya know. Coupling two of the most innovative musicians of the 20th century. Heck, prolly even of the entire Universe since Time Immemorial.
But also ya know, they both had songs called 1984. Van Halen’s the first track on the greatest album ever made, Bowie’s was on Diamond Dogs…Diamond Dave, there ya go! Makes perfect sense…
And they also both covered The Kinks’ ‘Where Have All The Good Times Gone’. A very relevant question after Roth’s departure
And I mean the Bowie Jagger Dancin’ In The Street is a hard thing to reckon with man. But when you realize it came in 1985, the very year Roth left and a mere months after that devastating event. Ya gotta figure it might have been some sort of signaling, ya know. VH themselves had also covered it back on Diver Down – another DD, like Diamond Dogs – an odd way to go about it, but ya know, lettin’ em know that he was available for the position. Gettin’ some moral support from his good buddy Mick
And then like 5150 man, that’s gotta be a nod to the US Festival ya know. Van Halen had a clause in their contract that no one could be paid more than them. So when Bowie was gettin’ a million and a half dolla bills, that brought VH’s fee up to also 1 point 5. 5150 ya know, even and then gettin’ raised up
5150 ya got Inside as the last…song, I guess, if you can call it that… Then Bowie goes and releases 1.Outside, a decade later of course, obviously he’s still smarting that it never happened. Heart’s Filthy Lesson and all that…
BUT!! Before that – and this is HUGE – his feelings best came out a few years before this, in 93 with, well you guessed it – Jump They Say. I mean who else says Jump, ya know…it’s right there…
Well I guess The Pointer Sisters said Jump as well. That woulda been rad, David Bowie bein’ in The Pointer Sisters. They coulda all covered I’m So Excited about Bowie actually joining Van Halen. The gracious sisters of course completely understanding how great it would be for him. Even if they were losing a now vital member…
But hold up a second cause I’m about ta blow yr minds. Bowie put out Jump They Say in 1993… And there’s someone else sayin’ Jump even just the year before. That’s right – HOUSE OF PAIN!!!!
Which if you’ll recall…was a Van Halen song!!! And the last song we ever heard from the original Van Halen, well I shouldn’t even be sayin original, you know what I mean. Last song we heard from Van Halen for quite a while, it bein the final song on 1984 and all…
Who coulda foretold that in the early 90s House Of Pain would become a band. And not only that but their song, their big hit, would be Jump Around! Callin’ back to Jump at the beginning of the 1984 album. And like House A Pain was an old tune of theirs, brought back just for the occasion. And it was also the b-side to the Jump 45. They knew!
I mean it’s kinda like Jump gave birth to House Of Pain. It’s 8 songs before on the record ya know, like 8 months of pregnancy, like House Of Pain was…a month premature. I don’t know, maybe they were just dyin’ to get out and jump around, you know. Reminds me of that chapter in Ulysses, where Joyce mimics the nine months of pregnancy with – sure it does, sure it does, reminds me of that – where Joyce mimics the styles of writing throughout the history of the English language over 9 long paragraphs. But Van Halen’s House Of Pain is 8 months cause it’s pop music, just dyin’ to get out there, it’s very nature. And woah H-O-P Hop! Like jump! Why wasn’t it Hop Around? Well of course because it was Jump that gave birth to it…
And you know if we trace it back from House of Pain we’ve got Drop Dead Legs but you wanna elevate the legs if you’re givin’ birth and then of course Panama! Like the Panama Canal! The waters breaking and like Ulysses was based on the Odyssey which was all about sea travel. And then I’ll Wait is a big clue too! It was 8 years between 1984 and Jump Around, just like the 8 songs! The 8 in the 19-8-E4 – E4 like a chess move – prefiguring the Wu Tang too. But I’ll Wait man, little did we know how long we’d have to wait for Roth to rejoin them. Or if it would ever happen. And I guess Bowie was waitin’ forever
And keeping going backwards, the first word of Panama is Jump! It’s like that song extends beyond the boundaries of time ya know. And if you played the record in reverse Panama would then turn inta Jump! Right after they say that first word! Actually also turn inta that riff that became Top Of The World, same album as Run- around. This is all too much! Though I mean obviously we always knew 1984 had great cosmic energies flowin’ thru it
And of course Van Hagar’s Runaround, man, came out the very year before House Of Pain put out Jump Around. Sure a lot of stuff goin around. Like that Ratt song, Round and Round. Of course if there’s a bunch of rats runnin around you’re gonna be jumpin’ Ya don’t wanna get bit by a rat. Even Warren DiMartini, unless like he could transfer his guitar playin skills to you that way. But that seems like a weird way to get around – here we go again – just practisin’ ya know
The Ramones took an early stance with this, with I Don’t Wanna Walk Around With You, first album 1976, while VH were still recordin’ demos with Gene Simmons
Of course Bowie covered Chuck Berry’s Round And Round early on…
And he had You’ve Been Around on Black Tie White Noise, same album as Jump They Say
But like 1992 when House Of Pain – the band House of Pain came out – was the same year as Kriss Kross. Also with a Jump! I was both really excited and confused at first cause I was expecting Kris Kristopherson to be covering the Van Halen classic. Took me a bit to get used to that that is what it would sound like. But then like slowly I got it ya know, they were wearing their clothes backwards cause they want to get back to a time when David Lee Roth was still in Van Halen. Symbolic, ya know…
But like 1984 being full of cosmic significance, the idea of Bowie being in Van Halen has been around a long time. Maybe even since the beginning of time itself. But as it goes with mysticism, the first hints I can see of it date back to 1972 and 73…
1972 Bowie releases 5 Years, obviously aware that in 1977 VH would be recording their debut album. Of course he would release Heroes towards the end of 77 just to remind us what was coming
And back in 73 he goes and releases a version of Jacques Brel’s ‘Amsterdam’. A nod to the Van Halen brothers homeland of course
Diamond Dogs came out in 1974, same year Eddie and co changed their name from Mammoth to Van Halen. Bowie keeping the animal symbolism going as well as the Diamond of Diamond Dave as previously mentioned. And putting out the song 1984 like that was such a bold statement of intent
And then like who else could he have been referring to with Young Americans? Setting aside for a moment that their last name is clearly Dutch, cause of course they embody the very spirit of American Rock N Roll. Heck the very spirit of America
And the overtones keep goin’, 1980 ya know, both albums Scary Monsters & Super Creeps…gotta save the Women & Children First of course
And then like off Fair Warning we had So This Is Love? and Hear About It Later, which of course we did – two years later – Bowie bringing out Modern Love to answer their question
Offa Let’s Dance…Let’s Dance The Night Away ya know… And like what else would you light up the sky with but Ziggy Stardust?!
Heck maybe even Changes was about all this. Ya know, the darker side. Obviously you’d start putting it out in 1971 that Roth might leave Van Halen, a band that didn’t even exist yet, ya know to make sure people were prepared. Of course no one could ever be prepared but Bowie should be lauded for tryin’…
And I gotta think Roth woulda been cool with it ya know, being replaced by…I mean this is David Bowie we’re talkin about”