Why Can't This Be Love (5:21)

Cover of Best of Van Halen, Volume 1

From Best of Van Halen, Volume 1 and 35 other releases

“Why Can’t This Be Love” peaked at #1 on the U.S. Billboard Top Rock Tracks Chart in the Spring of 1986.


“Why Can’t This Be Love” is a song by Van Halen, off the album 5150, the band’s first with lead singer Sammy Hagar, who had replaced founding member David Lee Roth in late 1985. It was the initial single from that album, released in March 1986. It was released on both 7” and 12” single formats, the 12” single featuring an extended version of the song.

The song, driven by bouncy lead keyboard work from Eddie Van Halen performed on an Oberheim OB-8,[1] rose to number 3 on the US Billboard singles chart, and helped 5150 reach the number one slot on the albums chart, a first for the band.

During the 5150 and OU812 tours, Eddie Van Halen played the keyboard parts (using either a Kurzweil K250 or Yamaha DX-7 connected by MIDI to an OB-8 backstage) while Hagar played the guitar parts and the solo. Since the For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge tour, Van Halen has taken over the guitar parts and the keyboards are played backstage. Starting during the 1995 Balance tour, Michael Anthony and Eddie Van Halen would sing the second verse of the song during live performances. They would continue to do this on both the 1998 and 2004 tours.

The song was covered by Gigolo Aunts on Everybody Wants Some! (of Van Halen), released in 1997 by CherryDisc Records (Catalog Number: CH 5794-2). Along with another hard rock song, AC/DC’s “You Shook Me All Night Long”, it was covered by Arab Strap on their E.P. The Shy Retirer[2] and their self-released live album The Cunted Circus.[3]

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