|Van Halen III|
|Studio album by|
|Released||March 17, 1998|
|Studio||5150 Studios, Studio City, CA|
|Genre||Hard rock, heavy metal|
|Producer||Mike Post, Eddie Van Halen|
|Van Halen chronology|
|Singles from Van Halen III|
|Los Angeles Times|||
|The Rolling Stone Album Guide|||
Van Halen III is the eleventh studio album by American rock band Van Halen, released on March 17, 1998 by Warner Bros. Records. Produced by Mike Post and Eddie Van Halen, it is the band's only studio album to feature Extreme lead vocalist Gary Cherone, and the last to feature bassist Michael Anthony before he was replaced in the band by Eddie's son Wolfgang in 2006. Work on a follow-up album with Cherone commenced in 1999, but never advanced past a few demos.
Van Halen III was the band's last album for fourteen years, and their final album of the 20th century. It was also the final album the band released on Warner Bros. When they returned in 2012 with A Different Kind of Truth, it was with Interscope Records. It is their longest studio album to date, clocking in at slightly over 65 minutes.
The album's title refers to Van Halen's third recorded line-up, and to the band's first two album titles, Van Halen and Van Halen II. None of its material is featured on The Best of Both Worlds, the band's 2004 hits compilation.
As a producer, Eddie brought his friend Mike Post. The album's final song, "How Many Say I", was an unusual acoustic piano ballad featuring Eddie on lead vocals and Cherone on backing vocals. Eddie declared he was forced into singing, and added harmonies so he would not perform alone.
Van Halen III is also known for its minimal use of Michael Anthony on bass guitar. Anthony only played bass on "Without You", "One I Want" & "Fire In The Hole". Eddie Van Halen recorded bass for the rest of the album. After Michael Anthony's departure from Van Halen, he confirmed that Eddie Van Halen dictated to him how to play bass on this record. He said by the time of making this album, Eddie was playing the bass more as well as drums. "I don't know if Eddie was basically making a solo record, which is what Van Halen III seemed like to me." A song entitled "That's Why I Love You" was dropped at the last minute in favor of "Josephina". "Fire in the Hole" was added to the Lethal Weapon 4 film soundtrack.
"I would have preferred to tour with them and then put out a record," Cherone told KNAC. "It would have been a better idea to establish myself first and then hit the studio with the band... There were some great ideas and some little gems but it was not a great record. I had fun but at times it was like being a stranger in a strange land."
The album cover is a still picture from stock footage of Frank "Cannonball" Richards, a vaudeville and sideshow performer known for his act of getting shot in the gut with a cannonball.
Van Halen III debuted at the Billboard 200 in fourth place, with 191,000 copies sold. The album's only significant radio hit was "Without You", which reached #1 on the Mainstream Rock Tracks chart on the March 7, 1998 issue of Billboard, and remained there for six weeks. Other songs receiving airplay on rock radio were "Fire in the Hole" and "One I Want".
Reception for Van Halen III was mostly mixed to negative. Stephen Thomas Erlewine from AllMusic stated the album, "suffers from the same problems as Hagar-era Van Halen - limp riffs, weak melodies, and plodding, colorless rhythms."Entertainment Weekly gave it a B grade rating, saying, "judging from the renewed intensity of Eddie's guitar playing throughout much of III, having a merely competent, relatively ego-free singer seems to have reinvigorated his muse" but goes on to say "How Many Say I", a song Eddie sang lead vocals on was, "cringeworthy" and "unintentionally hilarious".Greg Kot from Rolling Stone gave it 2 stars out of 5 noting, "Cherone sounds disconcertingly like Hagar, full of spleen-busting bluster and incapable of understatement", and "When the band plays it heavy, it mires itself in a Seventies tar pit, with only the chorus of "Without You" achieving any sort of pop resonance." Kot compliments Eddie's vocals saying, "'How Many Say I' finds the guitarist singing in a disarmingly appealing, nicotine-stained voice over a moody piano melody."Billboard reviewer Paul Verna summed up III as "a wasted opportunity to breathe life into a now-tired formula".
|3.||"One I Want"||5:30|
|5.||"Dirty Water Dog"||5:27|
|7.||"Fire in the Hole"||5:31|
|9.||"Year to the Day"||8:34|
|10.||"Primary" (guitar solo by Eddie Van Halen)||1:27|
|11.||"Ballot or the Bullet"||5:42|
|12.||"How Many Say I"||6:04|
Billboard (North America)
|1998||Top Canadian Albums||4|
Billboard (North America)
|1998||"Fire in the Hole"||Mainstream Rock Tracks||6|
|1998||"One I Want"||Mainstream Rock Tracks||27|
|1998||"Without You"||Mainstream Rock Tracks||1|
|United States (RIAA)||Gold||500,000^|
^shipments figures based on certification alone