"Diver Down" is the fifth studio album by American hard rock band Van Halen, released in April 1982. It spent 65 weeks on the album chart in the United States and had, by 1998, sold four million copies in the US.
The album cover artwork displays the "diver down" flag used in many US jurisdictions (which indicates a SCUBA diver is currently submerged in the area).
The back cover of the album features a photo by Richard Aaron of Van Halen on stage at the Tangerine Bowl in Orlando, Florida that was taken on October 24, 1981 as they concluded a set opening for The Rolling Stones.
The music video for "(Oh) Pretty Woman" was one of the first banned by MTV, although VH1 Classic has consistently aired it in recent years. In 1982, Roth explained the ban as the result of complaints that it made fun of "an almost theological figure" the Samurai warrior (Michael Anthony in the video) and also because two midgets appeared to molest a woman (actually a Los Angeles area drag queen performer). The video, directed by Roth, was, he said: "rather like a surrealistic art project ... where they paint the picture and come back three days later and try to figure out what they meant." The track "Intruder" on the album, which precedes "(Oh) Pretty Woman", was written specifically in order that there would be enough music to cover the length of the film that was edited down for the "(Oh) Pretty Woman" video. In his 1982 interview with Simmons, Roth takes credit for "Intruder," stating: "I wrote that... When we finished the movie (i.e., the video) it was about three minutes too long. So, I said, we won't cut any of it; we'll write soundtrack music for the beginning. So we went into the studio and I played the synthesizer and I wrote it. It took about an hour to put that together."
Eddie and Alex Van Halen's father, Jan Van Halen, plays clarinet on "Big Bad Bill".
Five of the twelve songs on the album are covers, the most popular being the cover of "Oh, Pretty Woman", a Roy Orbison song. At the time, the record company thought it had a greater chance of a hit record if the album comprised songs that were already successful.
In retrospect, it turned out to be one of the Van Halen brothers' least-favorite albums, with Eddie stating "I'd rather have a bomb with one of my own songs than a hit with someone else's." However, at the time whilst he admitted to the pressure the band was put under to record it, he was able to tell Guitar Player (Dec. 1982) that it "was fun": "When we came off the Fair Warning tour last year , we were going to take a break and spend a lot of time writing this and that. Dave came up with the idea of, 'Hey, why don't we start off the new year with just putting out a single?' He wanted to do 'Dancing in the Streets.' He gave me the original Martha Reeves & the Vandellas tape, and I listened to it and said, 'I can't get a handle on anything out of this song.' I couldn't figure out a riff, and you know the way I like to play: I always like to do a riff, as opposed to just hitting barre chords and strumming. So I said, 'Look, if you want to do a cover tune, why don't we do 'Pretty Woman'? It took one day. We went to Sunset Sound in L.A., recorded it, and it came out right after the first of the year. It started climbing the charts, so all of a sudden Warner Bros. is going, 'You got a hit single on your hands. We gotta have that record.' We said, 'Wait a minute, we just did that to keep us out there, so that people know we're still alive.' But they just kept pressuring, so we jumped right back in without any rest or time to recuperate from the tour, and started recording. We spent 12 days making the album... it was a lot of fun." In addition to this, two of the original songs were around long before the album was made. "Hang 'Em High" can trace its roots back to the band's 1977 demos as "Last Night", which had the same music but different lyrics. "Cathedral" was also nothing new, being played in its current form throughout 1981 with earlier versions going back to 1980. Additionally, "Happy Trails" had been recorded for their 1977 demos as a joke.
Eddie Van Halen -- Electric and acoustic guitars, backing vocals
David Lee Roth -- Lead vocals, synthesizer on 'Intruder', acoustic guitar & harmonica on 'The Full Bug'
Alex Van Halen -- Drums
Michael Anthony -- Bass guitar, backing vocals
Jan Van Halen -- Clarinet on 'Big Bad Bill'
01. Where Have All The Good Times Gone!
02. Hang 'Em High
03. Cathedral (instrumental)
05. Intruder (Instrumental)
06. (Oh) Pretty Woman
07. Dancing In The Street
08. Little Guitars (Intro)
09. Little Guitars
10. Big Bad Bill (Is Sweet William Now)
11. The Full Bug
12. Happy Trails
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