Van Halen - II (1979, Warner Bros., Germany)
When KISS’ Gene Simmons had discovered Van Halen playing in a club on LA’s Sunset Strip back in ‘76, he quickly signed the Californian band to his Man Of A Thousand Faces production company and flew them to New York to record demos at Electric Lady Studios. But once the demo tape had been recorded, Simmons had to go back on tour and tore up the contract as he was too busy.
Van Halen then signed a record contract with Warner Brothers Records in 1977 and released their debut album in ’78, on which Gene Simmons gets a “thank you” from the band. But just like the debut album, the follow-up album - simply titled II - proves that Van Halen really didn’t need Gene Simmons to make it.
But the guys obviously didn’t forget what he had done for them, and when Gene Simmons one night needed some musicians to record a couple of demos for the next KISS album, both Edward and Alex Van Halen came down to record three songs with Simmons. During the overnight recording session, the Van Halen brothers and Simmons recorded the KISS tracks Christine Sixteen (poor Ace Frehley later had to copy Eddie’s solo note-for-note when KISS was recording what would become the Love Gun album), Tunnel Of Love and Got Love For Sale.
Many of the songs on Van Halen II were originally recorded for the Gene Simmons produced demo tape. These tracks were re-recorded in ’78 with producer Ted Templeman, and when the second album had been released it peaked at no. 6 in the USA. The feel-good party atmosphere of the tunes made for a big success, and over the years the album sold more than 6 million copies in the States alone.
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