OU812: Wikis

  
  

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OU812
Studio album by Van Halen
Released May 24, 1988
Recorded 1987-1988 at 5150 Studios, Hollywood, CA
Genre heavy metal,Hard rock
Length 50:09
Label Warner Bros.
Producer Van Halen, Donn Landee
Professional reviews
Van Halen chronology
5150
(1986)
OU812
(1988)
For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge
(1991)

OU812 is the eighth album by American heavy metal, hard rock band Van Halen, released in 1988. The album title is allegedly a joke on Van Halen's previous lead singer David Lee Roth's 1986 album Eat 'Em and Smile (OU812 translates phonetically to "Oh, you ate one too?"). However, "OU812" was also seen in the 70s sitcom Taxi written on a wall. The first person to use the phrase was Redd Foxx.[1] Furthermore, "OU812" is the license plate on the red Ferrari that Cheech and Chong drive in Cheech & Chong's Next Movie (released in 1980).

The original European release (as shipped in France, Germany, Italy and the UK) is missing track 10, as are all vinyl pressings of the album. The CD and some cassette versions have Track 10. The track listing on the back cover is arranged in alphabetical order, instead of in sequence.

Many fans derided OU812's production; Eddie Van Halen's guitar sits low in the mix, and its sound, as on 5150 does not resemble the loud, bright sound on the Roth-era albums. However, the crisp acoustic western sound and style on "Finish What Ya Started" was well received as a first for the band.[2]

The album is dedicated to Eddie's and Alex's father, Jan, who died in December 1986 at the age of 66. The inner linings of the album include the words, "This one's for you, pa." Jan Van Halen had previously appeared playing clarinet on one track, "Big Bad Bill (Is Sweet William Now)," on Van Halen's 1982 album, Diver Down.[3]

The title of this album inspired Massachusetts hardcore punk/crossover thrash band Gang Green to name an EP I81B4U and as a response to former singer David Lee Roth's first LP Eat 'Em and Smile.

Contents

Details behind the songs

Mine All Mine

"Mine All Mine" kicks off the album. During production, Sammy Hagar was having a hard time writing lyrics to the song, until one day, Donn Landee suggested everybody to leave, so he and Hagar can work on the lyrics. After seven rewrites and a bottle of tequila, Hagar sang the vocals from beginning to end in one take. When he finished, Landee embraced Hagar, before calling everybody back in the studio, where they were amazed by Sammy's vocals.

When It's Love

Despite being the second track on the album, "When It's Love" was the very first song Van Halen worked on. Upon entering the studio, Sammy listened to the piano and drum tracks of the song from the night before. After giving it a listen over and over again, Sammy came up with the lyrics and melodies and it fell into place.

A.F.U. (Naturally Wired)

"A.F.U. (Naturally Wired)" is an adrenaline-pumping song, reflecting on the energy and the intensity of the band on tour.

Cabo Wabo

"Cabo Wabo" was a reference to the band's, particularly Sammy Hagar's, love of the Mexican resort town of Cabo San Lucas. In April 1990, the band opened the Cabo Wabo Cantina in the city. However, the venture was soon bought out to be owned by Hagar in its entirety. Hagar later parlayed this into a premium tequila brand sold around the world, Cabo Wabo.[4]

Source Of Infection

"Source Of Infection" was referred to Eddie Van Halen's recent health scare. In April 1988, while vacationing with then-wife Valerie Bertinelli off the coast of Turtle Island (located off the Australian coast), Eddie was infected by the dengue fever virus. Two days later, his temperature reached 105 degrees Fahrenheit and he had to spend five days recuperating in the local hospital.

Feels So Good

"Feels So Good" was a song that was out of the ordinary for Van Halen, as it sounded too pop. Although Sammy and Eddie liked the song, Alex and Mike did not. As of 2010, this song has never been played live on tour.

Finish What Ya Started

"Finish What Ya Started" was another first for the band, as they explored the acoustic sound. One night, Sammy and Eddie jammed on the beach with two acoustic guitars over tequila and cigarettes, and Hagar ran upstairs and downstairs to write lyrics on the spot.

Black And Blue

"Black And Blue" was a dripping with sex song, based on Sammy's experiences during the tour supporting 5150, where he was actually bruised up pretty bad.

Sucker In A 3 Piece

"Sucker In A 3 Piece" was a song written about a moment, when Sammy Hagar was visiting Cabo San Lucas, he saw an attractive 23-year-old woman poolside with a 60-year-old rich man, possibly a suit.

A Apolitical Blues

"A Apolitical Blues" was a Little Feat cover that finishes the album. To date, this is the only cover song Van Halen recorded with Sammy Hagar. Coincidentally, Donn Landee used to engineer Little Feat albums, working under Ted Templeman. So when Hagar suggested doing the song to Landee, Donn agreed and suggested to the band that they use the same setup Little Feat used to record the song, which was all four play together in one room with two microphones on each corner.

Numb To The Touch

"Numb To The Touch" was written and supposed to be on the album, but it wasn't finished in time, so it wasn't released. According to Sammy Hagar, it was supposed to be a traditional heavy metal song, similar to Whitesnake.

In popular culture

The title of the album was referenced in Season 1, Episode 7 of the American TV series, Chuck, entitled "Chuck Versus the Alma Mater." The secret code to reprogram the master television remote in the Buy More store was "O-U-8-1-2."

Track listing

All songs written by all members of the band, except where noted

  1. "Mine All Mine" – 5:11
  2. "When It's Love" – 5:36
  3. "A.F.U. (Naturally Wired)" – 4:28
  4. "Cabo Wabo" – 7:04
  5. "Source of Infection" – 3:58
  6. "Feels So Good" – 4:27
  7. "Finish What Ya Started" – 4:20
  8. "Black and Blue" – 5:24
  9. "Sucker in a 3 Piece" – 5:52
  10. "A Apolitical Blues" (Lowell George) – 3:50

Personnel

Production

  • Producer: Van Halen, Donn Landee
  • Engineer: Donn Landee
  • Assistant engineer: Ken Deane
  • Mastering: Bobby Hata
  • Art direction: Jeri Heiden, Maura P. McLaughlin
  • Photography: Eika Aoshima, Stuart Watson

Charts

Album

Billboard (North America)

Year Chart Position
1988 The Billboard 200 1

Singles

Billboard (North America)

Year Single Chart Position
1988 "Black and Blue" Mainstream Rock Tracks 1
The Billboard Hot 100 34
"Cabo Wabo" Mainstream Rock Tracks 31
"Feels So Good" Mainstream Rock Tracks 6
"Finish What Ya Started" Mainstream Rock Tracks 2
The Billboard Hot 100 13
"When It's Love" Mainstream Rock Tracks 1
The Billboard Hot 100 5
"Mine All Mine Mainstream Rock Tracks 50
1989 "Feels So Good" The Billboard Hot 100 35

Unused tracks

  • Numb to the Touch[5]

References

Preceded by
Faith by George Michael
Billboard 200 number-one album
June 25 - July 22, 1988
Succeeded by
Hysteria by Def Leppard







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