Back in the day my bestie Susie had a crush on Eddie Van Halen and I had one on Diamond Dave. She liked the shy, silent, genius-guitar-playing-type. I liked the do a ninja kick in your face, shirtless, blowhard, colorful, scarf-wearing type.
Susie and I made a good pair – just like Eddie and Dave.
I remember saving up my babysitting money to buy my first Van Halen album, Diver Down – it was all red and shiny and pretty with a big white stripe. I played that album until it skipped and scratched and I could no longer listen to their cover of Roy Orbison’s Pretty Woman any more.
My next purchase was their album 1984 which hailed oh-so-many good songs as well as truly amazing music videos. Yes, yes, yes we all love Jump and Hot for Teacher…but my favorite off of 1984 was always the rip-rousing-sexy Panama.
The guitar lick, the sing along chorus (PANAMA! PANAMA-HUH!) and especially, the David Lee Roth talky-thing in the middle of the song where he talks about reaching down and easing the seat back.
All of these are good, good things.
The video featured the band on stage doing their usual crazy antics inter cut with shots of them flying through the air on cables. It also features David Lee Roth getting pulled from a hotel room and arrested in a towel, dancing using a ninja sword and ribbon dancing.
Let’s see you dance with a ribbon, Eddie Van Halen.
If Susie and I could have gotten paid for the hours we spent watching the early days of MTV we would be ba-zillionaires right now. There were certain videos we would lose our minds over and when Panama came on our minds were officially lost. We would kiss the television screen and leave lip prints that my parents would have to had wondered about. We would scream like teenagers a Beatles concert, hold the sides of our face so our heads didn’t blow up and just yell. My parents didn’t wonder about this one, they just screamed back at us to shut the hell up.
I always wondered what the hell Panama was about? A country? A canal? I guess it is about a car? Whatever, it’s a great song, and an was an awesome video. I just needed to see Dave, running his fingers through his tousled blonde hair and have him look straight into the camera at me.
Mostly I needed to scream at and kiss the television screen with Susie. That is what made me smile when I heard it on the radio earlier this week. That and thinking about three David Lee Roth's sliding down firepoles.