Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Unreleased Van Halen song surfaces

An unreleased Van Halen song has surfaced, thanks to the folks at the Van Halen News Desk.

The untitled track, believed to be called “Ripley,” was originally recorded during the sessions for the “1984” album, but didn’t make the final cut; Eddie then used the song when doing the music score for the 1984 film, “The Wild Life.”

Written by Cameron Crowe, “The Wild Life” was billed as being “from the creators of ‘Fast Times At Ridgemont High’ – something even faster.” Universal Pictures were clearly trying to capitalize on the success of “Ridgemont High,” tying in Crowe’s connection and going so far as to feature “Fast Time’s” star Sean Penn’s brother, Chris, in the lead role.

The song was recorded on a Ripley guitar (hence the assumed title), an unusual instrument itself: designed by Steve Ripley (leader of the country rock band The Tractors), each string on the guitar can be sent to different parts of the audio spectrum (think left/right in the stereo field) through the use of individual pan pots. Eddie used one of the very first original Ripley guitars on “1984’s” “Top Jimmy.”

While “The Wild Life” featured Eddie’s musical score in bits and pieces throughout the movie, the companion soundtrack release featured one full EVH song, “Donut City,” where Eddie played all the parts himself.

“Ripley” was recorded with Alex Van Halen on drums, and this is the first time a full version has surfaced.

The film remains available only on VHS and laser disc; no DVD has been released, reportedly due, in part, to the music rights issues concerning the artists on the soundtrack.

Eddie Van Halen – Ripley (full version)
Partial clips featured in “The Wild Life” (1984)

Eddie Van Halen – Donut City (1984)
The Wild Life soundtrack