It’s not only Music Monday, it’s the first Monday of October, and that means…Halloween!
This month, I’ve decided to go with a “Halloween-esque” sound (save for one Music Monday this month – that’s my birthday, which is a whole separate theme!). While the pre-set playlist of offerings this month aren’t about Halloween expressly, they are songs culled from “Halloween-style music playlist” searches. Today’s song ranks at #26 on Good Housekeeping’s “50 Best Halloween Songs You Need To Play At Your Costume Party.”
So today’s the song is actually not about Halloween (nor what the song seems to imply), it shows up on Halloween playlists, among plenty of other songs that have nothing to do with Halloween. Some of those I’ve covered in the past. Either way, I hope you like today’s song, as well as the three weeks of Halloween-esque songs I’ll be covering.
Today’s song implies livin’ fast with a certain symbol of Halloween, but is actually not about that theme. Of course, no explanation was ever given for what today’s song represents, but has been left up to certain interpretation.
“Runnin’ with the Devil” is a 1978 single by Van Halen, from their eponymous debut album, and inspired by the Ohio Players song “Runnin’ From the Devil.” Written by David Lee Roth, Eddie Van Halen, Alex Van Halen, and Michael Anthony Sobolewski, the original lineup of Van Halen. While initially believed to be about Satanism, the group has never actually explained the full meaning. Interpretations of the song have implied it is about the life of a young band on tour, with the lyric “runnin’ with the devil” not meant to be taken seriously.
Released in May 1978, “Runnin’ with the Devil” reached #84 on the Billboard Hot 100 (compared to the debut single “You Really Got Me,” which ranked at #36). The album’s initial reception (Billboard Hot 200, #19) was negative, but has since been regarded as one of the greatest rock ‘n roll debut albums. The album is one of their two best-selling albums, behind 1984’s…1984. The song ranks as VH1’s 9th greatest hard rock song of all time.
The years, as they say, have been kind to this song.
And why not? It’s a great song, despite where it found itself on the charts. Despite that, the group would find its way (and include this as a signature song), and run with the devil for twelve albums, nineteen tours, more Billboard Hot 100 singles than any other hard rock/heavy metal band, a Grammy, an American Music Award, and several MTV Video Music Awards.
Don’t weep for them, they did just fine!
Van Halen, as of 2015, is currently on hiatus, with three of the group’s founding members – David Lee Roth, Eddie and Alex Van Halen, as well as Eddie’s son with Valerie Bertinelli, Wolfgang, in the current lineup. The group hasn’t had any activity since their July-October 2015 tour, with the exception of a Japanese singles box set, which was released in November 2019. While Roth has indicated that the group is likely done, Sammy Hagar isn’t counting them out, and hopes for a reunion at some point.
Perhaps they’ll be “runnin’ with the devil” at some point, because better “with” than runnin’ from,” right?
I like my jokes, as terrible as they are.
Have a great Monday, and enjoy the music!