Today marks the 41st anniversary of the release of Van Halen’s eponymous first studio album. Released on February 10, 1978, Van Halen peaked at No. 19 on the Billboard charts, and contains many of the hard-rock band’s signature songs, including the remake of The Kinks hit “You Really Got Me” (above).

Brothers Alex and Eddie Van Halen were both classically trained on piano, and originally it was Eddie who aspired to play drums and Alex who wanted to be a guitarist. However, story has it that when Eddie heard Alex play the drum solo in “Wipe Out,” the two switched paths.

Alex’s dynamic playing, flamboyance, lightning cymbals, and double-bass walloping helped Van Halen reinvigorate the hard-rock genre during a time when disco and punk reigned.

Celebrate Alex’s unique and memorable style with some of the album’s classics below.

“Runnin’ With The Devil”


“Jamie’s Cryin'”

“Ain’t Talkin’ Bout Love”

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