Home Music Music Lists

Rolling Stone Readers Select Ten Favorite Van Halen Songs

Picks include ‘Right Now,’ ‘Panama,’ ‘Hot for Teacher,’ ‘Eruption’

david lee roth sammy hagar


The last two decades have been a strange time for Van Halen. The band's last three tours have featured three different singers, and there hasn't been an actual studio album since 1998. The band also made the highly controversial move to oust original bass player Michael Anthony in favor of Eddie's teenage son, Wolfgang Van Halen. According to Anthony, they didn't even tell him he was out – he had to read about it on the Internet. Despite all that, the band has an intensely loyal fan base. It's impossible to argue with the quality of their early work, and it's beyond debate that their 1978 self-titled LP is one of the greatest debuts in rock history. The group appears to be on the verge of announcing a new album, so we figured it was a good time to poll our readers to learn their ten favorite Van Halen songs. The results aren't shocking. It's 80% David Lee Roth era, 20% Van Hagar and 0% Gary Cherone era. That feels about right. Click through to see the results.

By Andy Greene

Play video

1. ‘Unchained’ (1981)

It's not quite as famous as "Jump" or "Hot for Teacher," but "Unchained" has frequently been voted the favorite song of Van Halen fans. During the interlude, producer Ted Templeman breaks in and says "Come on, Dave, gimme a break!" Dave responds with, "One break, coming up!" According to legend, Ted felt that Dave was being too over the top and he scolded him. The band liked the moment and kept it in. Recent evidence suggests that the bit was rehearsed, but it's hard to say for sure. Like most things in the Van Halen world, there are two competing narratives of one event.