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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Heaviest Van Halen Album Ever
At first I was skeptical about this 3rd album by the godly Van Halen because it is one of the overlooked albums, but it is also the most underrated. I would rate this the 3rd best Van Halen album. Michael Anthony was at the top of his game, It was arguably DLR's best performance, Eddie was still on top of it, and it had remarkable work by Alex. "And The Cradle Will Rock"...
Published on July 8 2004 by Kevin Gardiner

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3.0 out of 5 stars Heavy Trifecta
With their third release, WOMEN AND CHILDREN FIRST, Van Halen stepped into an era of heavier guitar work. Eddie rips chrods like crazy on this release. Released in March of 1980, WACF has some filler, but overall ranks as a very strong release. The opening track, "And The Cradle Will Rock, " gets your blood pumping. The odd sound at the biggining is actually a keyboard,...
Published on July 5 2003 by MR77100


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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Heaviest Van Halen Album Ever, July 8 2004
By 
This review is from: Women and Children First (Audio CD)
At first I was skeptical about this 3rd album by the godly Van Halen because it is one of the overlooked albums, but it is also the most underrated. I would rate this the 3rd best Van Halen album. Michael Anthony was at the top of his game, It was arguably DLR's best performance, Eddie was still on top of it, and it had remarkable work by Alex. "And The Cradle Will Rock" is a popular song from the album but I personally don't think it's that great of a song. "Romeo Delight" is the hardest, and pretty close to the best song i've ever heard. It's hard, fast, has catchy lyrics, and the ending riff blew me away. This is the best work Michael Anthony ever did on bass, and one of the best Alex did on the drums. The lead in song "Tora! Tora!" is good but they could of added it to "Loss of Control", or just not put it in at all. "Loss of Control" is another of the good songs and the second best in my oppinion. "Take Your Whiskey Home" is like a funny version of "Ice Cream Man" off of VH1 it begins with Dave on the acoustic, and it has funny lyrics, and he hiccups while singing the song.
If your into harder songs, and your a VH fan, this is definatly the album your looking for. "Everybody Wants Some", "Fools", "Romeo Delight", "Loss of Control", and the killer finisher "In A Simple Rhyme" are all good songs and any one of those songs alone are worth the money. This is the most underated album, but I can't see why. It is a must have for any Van Halen fan.
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4.0 out of 5 stars This is where Van Halen opened up their sound, October 1, 2007, Sept. 1 2012
By 
Mike London "MAC" (Oxford, UK) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Women and Children First (Audio CD)
By 1980, Van Halen were certified rock stars. They had put two LPs (albeit rather similar sounding to one another) which were massively successful, they were selling out arena tours, and had become one of America's premier hard rock bands. So when they went into the studio a third time, they wisely chose to branch out their sound and record a much stylistically broader set of songs that had yet been heard by Van Halen's fans.

If you listen to Van Halen's discography in chronological process (a good practice to do with any band or musical artist, to get a glimpse of their career path and musical projectory), WOMEN AND CHILDREN FIRST is one of the most important records to their career, and proved to be both a transitional record and one of the most underrated albums of their career. Their debut established the `Van Halen' sound, and VH II followed that sound without changing it up at all. Had they done so a third time, it would have been an artistic misfire and the band would probably start to fade from public consciousness.

Thankfully, Van Halen didn't do that. Instead, they introduced keyboards (Cradle Will Rock has keyboards processed through a guitar amp), does a bluesy acoustic, almost folk sound number (Could This Be Magic, one of the most underrated VH songs ever), some social commentary (!!) about rock fans and their relationship to their parents and authority figures (Cradle Will Rock), stretches out their musical muscle (Fools), and shows they can write some flat-out great hard rock songs (Romeo's Delight, Loss of Control, In a Simple Rhyme). While "Tora! Tora!" is more of a riff and an intro to "Loss of Control" than a real song, the other eight songs prove Van Halen was becoming a much more ambitious band the third time around. It is true that you have to spend more time with this record than the previous two to fully appreciate the music, but it is time well spent, much of it finding the different layers to the music.

What makes WOMEN so wonderful is how natural this expansion of the Van Halen sound is. They have more musical ambition, develop their song-writing skills, and just manage to churn out one of their most idiosyncratic records. While VHII sounds simply like VH repeated, WOMEN sounds like the real followup to the debut. And while I have always found "Everybody Wants Some" rather sophomoric in the lyrical department, the music itself is outstanding. On a moral level, I find myself disagreeing with "Everybody Wants Some", largely due to the sheer promiscuity it promotes, as well as at the very end Roth is propositioning a prostitute (he says "Look, I'll pay you for it, what the f--?" "In a Simple Rhyme", for my money, is one of the best VH songs recorded, and should have been a hit on the same level as any of their other famous material. I've also always had a partial "Could This Be Magic", Van Halen's equivalent of Zeppelin's "Going To California". What I mean by that is it's a fantastic folk song by a band mostly known for hard rock (though Zeppelin had a huge variety of style and texture to their work as well).

Overall, the music Van Halen recorded for this album is looser, funkier, and covers a much wider spectrum of music than their previous two records. The music sounds live, lived in, and like the band's been playing this music for that rare period of time when the material is still fresh enough, but more than capable of playing the material, and that point where the band has played the songs so much they just needed a break from it. Why WACF isn't more highly regarded is beyond me. I think this is easily their most underrated album.

Interestingly enough, when "In a Simple Rhyme" ends, a short 20 second untitled instrumental starts. The name of this instrumental, nowhere listed on the packaging, is "Growth", and was originally going to be used to as the opening track to WACF's followup. This followup turned out to be "Fair Warning", and the original idea was to use "Growth" as the opening track was unfortunately abandoned. It has some great, undeveloped potential.

Although the majority of the record may not be as immediately accessible as the biggest songs off the 1978 debut and 1984, overall it is a record that reveals more and more with each listen and reveals itself to be a record with as much lasting power as either of those two titans. It may take you a little bit to get into, but once you do, you'll be hooked.

Bottom line: Even though VAN HALEN or 1984 or the first two logical places to start listening to Van Halen with Roth was in the band, for the newbies this is a great place to start as well. Given how underrated it is, it would be nice for new listeners saying their first VH record was this one. I know a lot of people get nostalgic about records that got them into different bands, and it'd be nice if this was that record for more people than it is now, given its underrated status.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Best Van Halen album, June 17 2004
By 
Terrence J. Reardon (South Carolina and Mass., USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Women and Children First (Audio CD)
Van Halen's third album Women and Children First was released in March of 1980. The album was recorded in two weeks but sure doesn't sound it. The opening And the Cradle Will Rock had a killer keyboard riff which sounds like a guitar but was a distorted Wurlitzer piano and a killer Eddie Van Halen guitar solo. David Lee Roth's vocals were killer on this album. Everybody Wants Some is an awesome song and all I can think about is the claymated hamburger singing this song in Better Off Dead but a killer song nonetheless with stellar drumming from Alex Van Halen and superb bass work from Michael Anthony. Other standouts on this album are Fools, Romeo Delight, Take Your Whiskey Home, Loss of Control and the closing In a Simple Rhyme. When this album was released, it stormed right into the US Top 5 and was another Multi-Platinum hit for the band. I first heard this album when I got it fro Christmas in 1984 on cassette and the remastered CD buries the original album by a longshot. Highly recommended!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Their most enjoyable album, Aug. 22 2003
By 
John Alapick (Harveys Lake, PA United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Women and Children First (Audio CD)
Women And Children First is one of Van Halen's best albums, even if it isn't among their biggest sellers. This is clearly David Lee Roth's album with his charisma dominating every track. They certainly could not make an album this fun with Sammy Hagar or Gary Cherone. This is Van Halen at their most laid back.
Although the tracks here are longer than on their first two albums, the album never ceases to sound like a party. The most straight-forward track is the opener "And The Cradle Will Rock..." which still sounds pretty loose when compared to later albums with Roth like Fair Warning and 1984. Tracks such as "Everybody Wants Some", "Fools", and "Romeo Delight" are all very strong riff-rockers which sound like they were made for the concert stage. The hyperactive "Loss Of Control" leads to the more laid back classic rocker "Take Your Whiskey Home", the strongest track here. The acoustic "Could This Be Magic?" is very catchy with the band sounding a little tipsy during the chorus. "In A Simple Rhyme" closes the album with a bang, another underrated classic. This album is best enjoyed in its entirety as each track blends into the next flawlessly. After this album, Eddie Van Halen exerted more control over the band's direction. This lead the band to its greatest success but losing the looseness and innocence that made them special. Fans who only have the albums with Hagar or those having just the most popular albums like Van Halen or 1984 should definitely check this out.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Heavy Trifecta, July 5 2003
By 
This review is from: Women and Children First (Audio CD)
With their third release, WOMEN AND CHILDREN FIRST, Van Halen stepped into an era of heavier guitar work. Eddie rips chrods like crazy on this release. Released in March of 1980, WACF has some filler, but overall ranks as a very strong release. The opening track, "And The Cradle Will Rock, " gets your blood pumping. The odd sound at the biggining is actually a keyboard, which the band had been experimenting with at the time, and would play a big part in 1984. "Everbody Wants Some!" is a wild rocker with Roth talking between the verses, "I like the way that line runs up the back of your stocking." It's hilarious and I listen to this track over and over. "Fools" takes forver to start up, and has a clunky chorus that gets boring. "Romeo Delight" speeds things up alot after that and Eddie really shows his pro style on this one.
"Tora Tora" and "Loss of Control" are mere fillers to take up space, and do little to show the band's creativity. "Take Your Whisky Home" changes all that. It's good rocker that starts acoustic before getting heavy. This and "Could This Be Magic?" are great drinking songs. The latter is a fun acoustic ballad that is fun to play around the campfire. The closer, "In A Simpler Rhyme," has heavy riffs along with a pleasant chorus to start and end the track. The filler in the middle of this album along with "Fools" are the reasons why I ranked it only 3 stars. Other then that, it rocks hard from start to finish. I have a giant poster of the back of this album, and it's an awesome collectors item that I will treasure forever. Pick up this album today and have fun banging your head.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Obnoxious Mayhem, Dec 9 2001
By 
Steven Menzer (Baltimore, MD United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Women and Children First (Audio CD)
This is among their lesser albums, but for rock in general, it's still a must have. It's great if you want something heavy yet adventurous on a rainy or overcast day. The tribal drumming of "Everybody Wants Some", feels like your in some kind of post-industrial, frankenstein swamp land. That's part of the inspiration for the claymation dancing hamburger scene from the movie "BETTER OFF DEAD". In John Cusack's misery as a fast food cook, he imagines that the hamburger he has constructed has come to life singing like David Lee Roth. It's diabolical, heavy and comical all at the same time. Listen to the way Dave get's cut off by Ed's guitar, the first time he tries to say, "I like the way the little line runs up the back of their stockings." It has such a sense of spontaneity which has never been equaled by any of the post DLR-era releases. Built on an awesome processed riff, "And The Cradle Will Rock", recalls the adolescent adventures of VHII's, "D.O.A." Dave's humourously realistic lyrics, score with dead on social criticism. "Fools", is like a ridiculous, self-parody of DLR. There's a certain falalism to "Romeo Delight", with lyrics like, "High crime's on in the city of light's/I'm takin' my whiskey to the party tonight" "Tora! Tora!" is an intro to "Loss Of Control", which simulates a motorcycle accident and the spectacle of such a tragic death. "Loss Of Control", chugs in like a flashback to the mind of the rider before he lost his life. Again the songwriting is funny and original with a pilot suddenly crying "mayday". "Take Your Whiskey Home", further elaborates on choosing the path of self-destruction. In an old-fashioned way, "Could This Be Magic", beams with outstanding New Orleans flavored acoustic guitar work from Ed, the authentic southern bluesman vocals of DLR, and a great chorus. Roth's on-the-verge-of-laughter vocals again have a great improvised sound to them. "In A Simple Rhyme", tries to be a great song, but ends up fairly pedestrian.
Although the band sounds thrilled, there is a noticable nihilism on this album, compared to the more innocent VHII. Fair Warning would be more angry and bleak, but with less humour, before the band turned more pop on Diver Down. But the first two songs are among VH's best and make this album well-worthwhile.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Obnoxious Mayhem, Dec 9 2001
By 
Steven Menzer (Baltimore, MD United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Women and Children First (Audio CD)
This is among their lesser albums, but for rock in general, it's still a must have. It's great if you want something heavy yet adventurous on a rainy or overcast day. The tribal drumming of "Everybody Wants Some", feels like your in some kind of post-industrial, frankenstein swamp land. That's part of the inspiration for the claymation dancing hamburger scene from the movie "BETTER OFF DEAD". In John Cusack's misery as a fast food cook, he imagines that the hamburger he has constructed has come to life singing like David Lee Roth. It's diabolical, heavy and comical all at the same time. Listen to the way Dave get's cut off by Ed's guitar, the first time he tries to say, "I like the way the little line runs up the back of their stockings." It has such a sense of spontaneity which has never been equaled by any of the post DLR-era releases. Built on an awesome processed riff, "And The Cradle Will Rock", recalls the adolescent adventures of VHII's, "D.O.A." Dave's humourously realistic lyrics, score with dead on social criticism. "Fools", is like a ridiculous, self-parody of DLR. There's a certain fatalism to "Romeo Delight", with lyrics like, "High crime's on in the city of light's/I'm takin' my whiskey to the party tonight" "Tora! Tora!", is an intro to "Loss Of Control", which simulates a motorcycle accident and the spectacle of such a tragic death. "Loss Of Control", chugs in like a flashback to the mind of the rider before he lost his life. Again the songwriting is funny and original with a pilot suddenly crying "mayday". "Take Your Whiskey Home", further elaborates on choosing the path of self-destruction. In an old-fashioned way, "Could This Be Magic", beams with outstanding New Orleans flavored acoustic guitar work from Ed, the authentic southern bluesman vocals of DLR, and a great chorus. Roth's on-the-verge-of-laughter vocals give the track a lot of charm. "In A Simple Rhyme", tries to be a great song, but ends up fairly pedestrian.
Although the band sounds thrilled, there is a noticable nihilism on this album, compared to the more innocent VHII. Fair Warning would be more angry and bleak, but with less humour, before the band turned more pop on Diver Down. But the first two songs are among VH's best and make this album well-worthwhile.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The best VH album, Oct. 30 2001
By 
Jinx McElroy (Columbia, SC United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Women and Children First (Audio CD)
"Women and Children First" is THE David Lee Roth plays himself album. On no other VH record will you find so much of Diamond Dave being Diamond Dave. "Women and Children First" is also one of VH's most musically eclectic efforts with songs ranging from Black Sabbath style riffing to cajun(ish) blues to lala pop... and Msr. Roth holds every bit of it together with every ounce of charisma and charm he can muster.
It's interesting to note that DLR was only in Van Halen for 5 years, and Sammy Hagar was in Van Halen for nearly 15. What true Van Halen fan would rank a Van Hagar album in their top 5??? Answer: NONE! The band blew their wad in the first five years, and this record is the pinnacle of said wad.
If you are to compare individual songs, sure "Unchained" might be better than anything on "WACF"... sure "Runnin with the Devil" may be better than anything on "WACF"... but as an entire album this little gem wins hands down. "And the Cradle Will Rock" and "Take Your Whiskey Home" qualify as two of the best rock songs EVER WRITTEN... and who can possibly deny the unabashed COOL of the breakdown in "Everybody Wants SOME"? I mean, "I really like the way the line runs up the back of your stockings..."...God it gives me goosebumps! David Lee Roth is the master of trash-talk, and he shines like no other on this effort.
For those lucky enough to get the early pressings of the LP, included is an amazingly huge poster of Dave chained to a fence. My copy has tack-holes in it. Most do. Owners of the CD get no poster... but they do get that crisp digital sound! I'd rather have the crackle on the record and the giant photo of Dave chained to a fence.
If you are unfamiliar with this LP or just haven't heard it in a long while, pick up a copy. Study it. Listen to it 10 times in a row and get back to me. Tell me it's not the best Van Halen record. I dare ya! Sure, you might try to tell me "Diver Down" or "Van Halen 2"... I just hope you enjoy being wrong!... because I AM RIGHT!
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4.0 out of 5 stars Everybody wants some...loss of control!!!, June 27 2001
This review is from: Women and Children First (Audio CD)
Van Halen's third album, "Women and Children First," was released on March 26th 1980, and it spent thirty-one weeks competing on the billboard charts. This album is the group's third release of eventually thirteen albums, and it features the musical genius of Producer Ted Templeman and Engineer Donn Landee behind it. While the band had already established themselves as serious Rock N' Rollers in their first two self-titled album's, "Women and Children First," solidified the bands existence within the conscious of rock. The sexually promiscuous and musically charging opening tracks, "And the cradle will rock," and "Everybody wants some," propelled the album to achieve platinum status in less than three months. Guitar enthusiasts are sure to relish in lead guitarist Eddie Van Halens solo performances of, "Loss of control," and "Fools." "Women and Children First" represents rock in a furiously fast, attention deficit, and radical symposium of sound that has been mimicked by generations of contending bands. Any serious collector of reputable rock music will have this in their collection.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A glorious remastering job, Nov. 15 2000
This review is from: Women and Children First (Audio CD)
Yes, albums get remastered all the time - and more often than not, the "new improved remaster" is not drastically or noticeably different from the previous CD issue. Not here folks, the DLR-era Van Halen remasters are nearly revolutionary. It's like listening to these albums with new ears, really - the drums are deep and tight, the bass is full and round, Eddie's guitar is in your face and David Lee Roth is breathing down your neck. Women and Children First is usually the album I'd pick on any given day as my favorite - it shows the band at it's most diverse. It's got loads of those dark chord progressions that they were the kings of (until whatever happened to them that made them turn into radio-friendly unit-shifters), some of Roth's best lyrics, and it's even got the late great Nicolette Larson singing uncredited background vocals on "Could This Be Magic" (probably a return favor for Eddie playing uncredited guitar on "Can't Get Away From You" on her 'Nicolette' album). At the time, there was no other band like Van Halen - they were path blazers and true bundles of rock and roll energy bursting with creativity and great SONGS that didn't pander to pop radio. So, if you're like me and were wondering if these new HDCD remasters are worth buying these CDs once again, I assure you - your ears will be amazed at what a great job was done. Oh yeah - you also get that poster shot of David Lee Roth chained up to the fence that originally came with the LP restored in the insert booklet which was proof that all the girls that had that poster up on their walls in the summer of 1980 wanted some too.
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