Van Halen – You Really Got Me


Van Halen recorded demos of 10 songs in November 1976 during sessions at Village Recorders in West L.A. and New York’s Electric Lady studios produced and financed by Gene Simmons of Kiss.  However, the resulting three-track demo tape attracted little interest from record labels, and Kiss’s manager Bill Aucoin even declined to manage the band. Guitarist Eddie Van Halen was not convinced of the quality of the material because they could not make the recordings with their own equipment. Simmons left to tour with Kiss after recording the demos, but said he would try to secure Van Halen a record deal afterwards.

After recording the demos, the band was offered several concerts. At a sold-out show in their hometown, Pasadena, the group’s future manager, Marshall Berle, discovered the band. He and musical entrepreneur Kim Fowley paired them with punk rock band Venus and the Razorblades for a gig at the Whisky a Go Go. After being well received by Berle at the Whisky a Go Go, the band gained the attention of Mo Ostin and Ted Templeman of Warner Bros. who both attended the band’s performance at the Starwood on February 3, 1977. Van Halen proceeded to sign a contract with Warner.

The recording of this debut album with producer Ted Templeman began August 29, 1977. The tracks were recorded quickly during sessions between August 31 and September 8, 1977.  It was mostly recorded live, but “Runnin’ with the Devil”, “Jamie’s Cryin'”, “Feel Your Love Tonight” and “Ice Cream Man” contain guitar overdubs. Edward also overdubbed his solo for “Ain’t Talkin’ ’bout Love” with an electric sitar. Work on the album ended October 4 with the final mixing of “Little Dreamer” and “Eruption” (titled simply “Guitar Solo” on studio documents). Overall, the album cost approximately $54,000 to produce. 

“We didn’t have a ton of material,” recalled bassist Michael Anthony, “so we basically just took our live show and all the songs we knew and went for it. The whole album only took a couple of weeks. Ted Templeman wanted to make a big, powerful guitar record, and he had all he needed in what Eddie was doing.”

The subsequent tour began March 3, 1978 at the Aragon Ballroom in Chicago with the band opening for Journey and Montrose in the United States. They later opened for heavy metal band Black Sabbath in Europe and the United States.