The Van Halen song that was ripped off from AC/DC

Van Halen

Van Halen’s voice was always distinctive among the hair metal bands that emerged in the 1980s. Nobody could contest Eddie Van Halen’s fretboard power in comparison to the sounds of Ratt or Poison that were taking over the airwaves. Few could match his ability to produce a kaleidoscope of distinct sounds. For many metal fans, the band may have recorded the soundtrack of the decade, but Eddie was just as likely to borrow lines from his favourite performers.

However, Eddie freely acknowledged that while he was a member of Van Halen, he stopped listening to most new music. Purchasing only Peter Gabriel’s music, the guitarist was content to rely on his favourite artists during his glory day,  whether that was the sounds of Eric Clapton or Jeff Beck.

Eddie began collecting his original licks that revolutionised the sound of the guitar. By the time he began recording the band’s debut album under David Lee Roth’s direction. Eddie was known for playing with both hands on the fretboard. It was different from the typical lead guitarist approach. And allowed millions of aspiring musicians to try to match his intensity.

For the next few years, Eddie would lead the band into heavier territory, even though they kept their party vibe for their first two albums. Eddie demonstrated the band’s metal credentials with songs that at times resembled Black Sabbath’s. He appeared on albums such as Women and Children First and Fair Warning.

Although Eddie’s obsession with the keyboard on the album 1984 would take precedence in the mid-1980s, he acknowledged stealing one of his favourite licks from another rock legend. Even though Van Halen was regarded as an American rock and roll classic, they faced fierce competition from Australia’s AC/DC.

Making the most of the fundamentals and crafting songs that prioritised groove over technical flash, Angus Young was renowned for taking the sounds of bluesy rock and turning it up to eleven. Eddie felt that it would be interesting to work in the style of AC/DC for the song “Drop Dead Legs”. Even though he had plenty of flash to spare.

Eddie revealed to Guitar World that he took inspiration for the song from AC/DC’s “Back in Black”. I used the entire song to plagiarise the band. It was a beat that had me moving. Nevertheless, “Drop Dead Legs” seems slower to me. Everything I hear passes through me in some way and emerges in a different way. Thus, “Drop Dead Legs” resembles “Back in Black” in a jazz context. The decreasing sequence is comparable. However, I added a lot more notes to it.

The Van Halen song is what the Australian band would sound like if they received a lot of musical steroids. It transforms rock fundamentals into one of Van Halen’s most underappreciated deep cuts. Most AC/DC songs benefit from having the same groove as “Drop Dead Legs.” After this album, the band’s relationship with Roth was about to come to an abrupt end, but “Drop Dead Legs” showed that Van Halen was still capable of kicking ass even on an album heavy on keyboards.

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