The Van Halen Song Believed To Be Ripped Off From Doobie Brothers
Van Halen for "Jump" - VHTelevision / Youtube
Van Halen, with Eddie Van Halen at the helm, is synonymous with groundbreaking guitar work and original compositions. However, amidst the band’s iconic catalog, there’s an intriguing chapter where one of their biggest hits took inspiration from an unexpected source – The Doobie Brothers.
Van Halen, initially known for their prowess as a cover band, transitioned into crafting original material by their third album.
Albums like Women and Children First and Fair Warning marked a shift towards heavy metal, showcasing the band’s evolving musical identity.
During this transformation, Eddie Van Halen’s growing fascination with keyboards played a pivotal role. The infusion of keyboard sounds, notably in hits like ‘Jump’ from the 1984 album, reflected a changing musical landscape. However, one of the band’s keyboard-infused tracks, ‘I’ll Wait,’ found an unlikely muse in The Doobie Brothers.
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As Eddie recalls, their producer, Ted Templeman, brought in Michael McDonald, the frontman of The Doobie Brothers, to the studio. The collaboration wasn’t traditional – it involved playing the track for McDonald and capturing his spontaneous ad-libs using a concealed microcassette recorder.
“Ted played that track for Michael McDonald in his office to see what he would come up with. Little did we know that Ted was using a microcassette recorder he held under his desk to record what Michael was improvising.”
The result was a bluesy yet swaggering song that found its place in Van Halen’s repertoire.
‘I’ll Wait’ showcased a perfect blend of hard rock and keyboards, echoing Roth’s signature style. However, the story takes a legal twist.
“After the album came out, we got sued. Michael McDonald said that he came up with that chorus. I don’t know if Dave knew that it was Michael McDonald, but I knew that Ted played it for him. If Ted had been more on the up and up about it, we would have given Michael credit.”
Despite the legal challenges, the band managed to make McDonald’s contributions their own. In the hands of Eddie Van Halen, the familiar riffs became a unique Van Halen creation, a testament to Eddie’s ability to transform influences into his distinctive sound.