WCSX Classic Cuts
Van Halen: “Runnin’ With the Devil”
The Hook: A response to a changing rock scene of the day.
Album: Van Halen
Writers: Van Halen
Stats: Peaked at number-84 on the Billboard Hot 100
Background: David Lee Roth says his lyrics to Van Halen’s “Runnin’ With the Devil” were a response to changes in the attitudes of the biggest bands in music — as rougher edged bands like Deep Purple, Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin gave way to less dangerous rockers like Journey, REO Speedwagon, The Doobie Brothers and Foreigner.
Van Halen singer David Lee Roth on the changes in the music scene that caused them to write “Runnin’ With the Devil.” OC:…parents flipped. :26
“It was smoothing out and becoming in a certain respect ‘correct’ — the whole idea of the guys in Journey not wanting to be pictured smoking a cigarette. And in direct response I came out screaming, ‘Nobody rules these streets at night but me and I’m running with the devil and I’m on fire!’ It just upset the whole birthday party. The kids loved it – the parents flipped.”