Van Halen Albums Ranked

Van Halen is an American hard rock band formed in Pasadena, California, in 1972. From 1974 until 1985, the band consisted of guitarist Eddie Van Halen, vocalist David Lee Roth, drummer Alex Van Halen, and bassist Michael Anthony. The band went on to become major stars, and by the early 1980s they were one of the most successful rock acts of the time. 1984 was their most successful album. The lead single, “Jump”, became an international hit and their only single to reach number one on the Billboard Hot 100. Here is Van Halen’s best albums of all time ranked.

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12. Van Halen III (1998)

“Van Halen 3 is the much-maligned 1998 album featuring the band’s third lead singer, ex-Extreme vocalist Gary Cherone. It would prove to be Cherone’s only album with the band, it’s follow-up abandoned mid-way. The album took a serious beating when it came out and although it does veer substantially from the “Van Halen sound,” it is honestly a very interesting and rewarding listen if given the time. Eddie Van Halen turns in some of his most interesting guitar work, the majority of it unlike anything he’s crafted before. The production leaves a lot to be desired, often sounding thin and tinny, not to mention typically leaving Cherone’s voice sounding distorted, but these songs really do deliver over multiple listens. Is this the stuff the band turned in with Roth or Hagar? No. Definitely not. But if you’re a fan of Eddie’s guitar work and a fan of music in general, this really is a gift that keeps on giving. Twenty years later, I’m still finding little nuances that I never picked up on before. So ignore its reputation and give it a chance.”

11. Balance (1995)

“Here is the thing, sometimes I feel like this album is so many things. First it rocks, no question there. Second, they seem to be trying to go back to the days of 5150 with their hit love songs. Third, we see instrumentals again so perhaps a little longing for the DLR days? Also, finally a kick-tastic drum solo by the main man Alex. The songs on this one are pretty diverse but they still retain their sound -like you can see Van Halen playing and writing all this stuff. What a crazy awesome cover as well if you think about it. Also, one last thing: make sure you get the Japanese edition because the bonus track at the very end is unreal!”

10. For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge (1991)

“Be prepared, because this album will rock your pants off! Then you will know the true meaning of carnal knowledge. Away with the keyboards and give me some more of that pound cake! Every song bursts with energy, kind of like “5150”, but without the friendly keyboard driven love songs. The only song to really have the keys is “Right Now”, but it is so epic that if fits right in with this metal parade. It is no wonder why these guys beat out Guns and Roses and Metallica for best metal album that year because as soon as you turn this craze fest on, you will be forever lost in a pleasure dome of the band that is Van Halen.”

9. A Different Kind of Truth (2012)

” I loved van halen when dave lee roth was in them and was a big fan however you always wonder whether the new stuff will compare. the good news is it is better than I hoped for and certainly compares favourably with the old stuff. also it is 50 mins long whereas all the old stuff is max 35mins for some strange reason. I would say van halen 1 , 1984 and fair warning are my favourites and this stands alongside these.I would also say there is a bit more imagination in the new songs, still classic van halen, great sound ,vocals and guitar. Great stuff highly recommended and a great surprise.”

8. OU812 (1988)

“I personally have always loved this album. I must admit that the first “Van Hagar” album 5150 was a more rocking solid album than this but this is a good album. The hits we all know such as “Finish What Ya Started, Feels So Good, When It’s Love & Black & Blue make this album stand out for me. Plus the clever title OU812, in direct response to Roth’s solo album “Eat Em And Smile. If you like Van Halen this album, 5150, 1984 and the first Van Halen album are must haves. But that all really depends on yours tastes.”

7. Diver Down (1982)

“This is Eddie’s least favorite album and I understand why, but this is the best song for “covers” ever, in my humble opinion. I didn’t know that when i first purchased the album so many years ago, but I have come to love it as much as their other albums because I think they do a better job of making some of those covers their own. Starting with “Where Have All the Good Times Gone?”, “Pretty Woman” and “Dancing in the Streets” those are the ones I think are better than the originals. As for their songs my favorites are “Hang ‘Em High”, “Cathedral” and “Little Guitars”. Cathedral is just pure guitar genius and Eddie has played it at every concert I’ve attended. As an added plus the pictures on the back of the album are perfect. It shows them all individually and playing at some stadium. If you’re a Van Halen nut like I am you must have it for your collection.5 stars because it’s Van Halen”

6. 5150 (1986)

“High Energy. Yes, you can feel the excitement of having a new lead singer within the band, and you sense the raw power and energy of another brain in every song! This is the ultimate 80’s album and it rocks! OK, one thing, and I feel this has to be brought up every time, I love Lee Roth and I think “1984” is one of the best albums ever! But give me a break and don’t put this one down because you thought David was a god. One break commin’ up! OK, maybe he was a god, but this album is a close second. But by second I mean that they are both number one in their own right. It’s like comparing sugar and salt, both have their time and places and are the best at seasoning whichever food they should go on, but I seriously think this album is the by far the best effort put forth from the Van Hagar era.”

5. Van Halen II (1979)

“In 1978, VAN HALEN, made a huge musical statement. Maybe the bands of the 60’s had largely grown old and many had hung up their guitars for good, but rock wasn’t dead. Disco hadn’t suffocated it. Van Halen picked up where the previous generation left off, and with shades of Jimi Hendrix, :Led Zeppelin, and the Rolling Stones, these American rockers cranked up the volume and let ‘er rip. Rock fans remain forever grateful.”

4. Women and Children First (1980)

“I kind of forgot about this album for a long time. Last year I went on a Van Halen buying rampage and bought most of their collection on cd from amazon. Glad I included this one.

Van Halen released Women and Children First as a follow up to their first 2 studios albums. There isn’t much for the top 40 crowd to get very excited about. ‘And The Cradle Will Rock’ comes the closest to being a hit single. It’s a great song, marking the first time Eddie moved over to keyboards in the studio. Actually, it’s a Hammond organ and adds a ton of atmosphere to the song.

For the rest of the album the tried and true formula of letting Eddie go crazy on his guitar always works and when that happens here the results are predictably good.”

See More: Def Leppard Albums Ranked

3. Fair Warning (1981)

“This is the best hard rock band of all time at their best. Everything about Fair Warning is dark, heavy, and overwhelming. No band this side of Led Zeppelin has ever sounded as effortlessly powerful. And if you like “hits”, then So This Is Love, Mean Streets, Hear About It Later, and Unchained fill your bill. As for purchasing, I’ve never found a CD version that isn’t significantly range-restricted, and the remasters are the worst offenders. Get the 1987 US original if you can find it.”

2. 1984 (1984)

“It’s Van Halen when they were one of the worlds biggest band. Everyone should own this album. Not just the fans but everyone. It’s that good. As a fan though I’ll admit that if I don’t hear Jump again I will be happy. It’s like KISS’ Rock n Roll all night it’s played by every radio station and as a fan I think there are better songs on here that the general public should hear. Top Jimmy is a hidden gem so is Drop dead legs.

This album shows up on everyone’s top lists from best rock albums to albums every guitarist should own. If you’re a music fan don’t let this album stay out of your collection. If you’re young guitar player I recommend this album and really all Van Halen albums as you’ll hear a side of Eddie that 90% of fans miss – his rhythm playing and song writing. Yep, Eddie is a masterful rhythm player and really knows how to structure songs. He’s a musicians musician who can also relate to non-musicians with his song writing.”

1. Van Halen (1978)

“Van Halen= woman, Booze, and parties and VH2 is that good time music that we all need. Even if you aren’t a huge classic rock fan you cant help but smile and sing along. Being introduced originally to their “1984” LP I was hesitant to even consider another one of their albums could measure up but boy was I wrong.VH2 still has a raw sound that was present of their very first LP and the musicianship is so tight I don’t know anyway to explain it so basically you as the reader must listen to this record!
right when I get outta work I hop in my Camaro crank it up and enjoy these boys playing some incredible cuts. If you are a VH fan you WILL be a fan of this record. Even if you like the Hagar era id say you’d enjoy this because of how in tune the band is.”