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5.0 out of 5 stars Best Van Halen album
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...
Published on June 17 2004 by Terrence J. Reardon

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3.0 out of 5 stars Has some filler, but still rocks hard
WOMEN AND CHILDREN FIRST the third album by VAN HALEN has the unlucky spot of being released by two classic albums VH1, AND VH2, and although this is a solid album, it doesnt come close to the greatness of the first two. This album does has some killer songs AND THE CRADLE WILL ROCK, EVERYBODY WANTS SOME, TAKE YOUR WHISKEY HOME, COULD THIS BE MAGIC, IN A SIMPLE RHYME. The...
Published on July 19 2003 by Martin Lemos


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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 100 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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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 Van Halen III,chronologically, June 15 2004
By 
andy8047 (Nokomis,Florida) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Women and Children First (Audio CD)
March 1980 saw Van Halen's release of their third album,WOMEN AND CHILDREN FIRST. The album title comes from a lyric to COULD THIS BE MAGIC?,track 8 on the CD. TORA TORA!,track 5,is short and instrumental. Other great tracks include AND THE CRADLE WILL ROCK,EVERYBODY WANTS SOME,FOOLS,LOSS OF CONTROL,TAKE YOUR WHISKEY HOME and IN A SIMPLE RHYME.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The Best of VH in the roth era, April 30 2004
By A Customer
This review is from: Women and Children First (Audio CD)
Out of all the albums that DLR was singing for VH, this is by far the best. Any roth era album is killer, but this one is a standout!! It's a must have for any TRUE Van Halen fan
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4.0 out of 5 stars Classic Van Halen in their prime, Jan. 28 2004
By 
Thomas Guyton (Bessemer, Alabama United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Women and Children First (Audio CD)
This is Van Halen possibly at their peak. The fights have not yet started. Vallerie Bertinelli wanted to meet Eddie after listening to the CD and seeing Ed's picture on the back. Cool guitar riffs, classic Dave one liners-"Have you seen Junior's grades?" It seemed like the guys had fun with this one. It is oceans of laughs and reeks of mischief. On later albums with DLR the tone gets more pessimistic.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Rocks the Cradle!, Dec 21 2003
By 
This review is from: Women and Children First (Audio CD)
This is beyond doubt one of VH's best albums ever. Great relaxed/spontaneous guitar work, with songs and lyrics that are witty and sometimes funny. Fair Warning came out a year later and then the VH direction changed for ever. But even 23 years on I can play this remastered CD, and I don't want to switch it off till it's finished! Classic in your face rock!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Van Halen tried and true..., Oct. 6 2003
By 
Robert Kado (Grosse Pointe Park, MI United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Women and Children First (Audio CD)
With this album the true rock and jam of Van Halen was shown in my opinion. This along with Fair Warning are the two albums the true VH fans pop in!
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4.0 out of 5 stars Another platinum gem, Sept. 9 2003
This review is from: Women and Children First (Audio CD)
Third album, third platinum success for Van Halen. Picking up where they left from, these rockers churned out another solid album in 1980, beginning their reign in fine style. This album features the full-blooded roar of "...And the Cradle Will Rock", and "Everybody Wants Some". While this album does have a couple of fillers, it also has the seeds of Van Halen's burgeoning experimentation with keyboards that would eventually bloom in "1984". While not as brilliant as their first two hell-raisers, this was another fine step for the premier hard rock band of the 1980s.
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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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