Van Halen, “Runnin’ With The Devil” (“Van Halen,” 1978)
When a video of David Lee Roth’s isolated vocals for ‘Runnin’ With The Devil’ went viral a few years ago it underscored not only his unintentionally hilarious delivery (those screams!) but his incredible vibrato-rich voice.
Then again DLR himself oozed charisma — think the exuberance of a Broadway star crossed with the unselfconsciousness of a class prankster — that meshed well with the band’s loose bluesy rock ‘n’ roll.
That came across especially well on ‘Runnin’ With The Devil’ a supremely confident tune that feels like a panther stalking its prey.
Eddie Van Halen’s guitar riffs are both fluid and aggressive – especially on his brief solo during the bridge and hint at seedy danger.
Bassist Michael Anthony’s roasted bass (and indelible backing vocals) adds wrinkles of worry.
And when DLR sings – with a swing in his voice – ‘I found the simple life ain’t so simple/When I jumped out on that road’ the song pivots and becomes something even more interesting.