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Van Halen

'Both' Sides Now

VanVan Halen recorded three new songs for inclusion on "The Very Best of Van Halen," due this week via Warner Bros. The cuts "It's About Time," "Up for Breakfast" and "Learning To See" feature vocalist Sammy Hagar, who rejoined the group after an eight year hiatus. Van Halen is currently in the midst of a North American tour.

The double-disc "Very Best" picks up the Van Halen story with the iconic "Eruption" from the group's self-titled 1978 debut. Every major hit is present, from the David Lee Roth-era smashes "Jump," "Panama," "I'll Wait" and "(Oh) Pretty Woman" to such Hagar-associated material as "When It's Love," "Why Can't This Be Love" and "Finish What Ya Started."

Also featured are live versions of "Ain't Talking 'Bout Love," "Jump" and "Panama" from the 1993 concert set "Right Here, Right Now." Notably excluded are any songs from Van Halen's latest studio album, 1998's "Van Halen III," the lone release to feature former Extreme vocalist Gary Cherone.

Hagar boasts that "there were 10 other songs we could have worked on. If there'd been time, we'd love to have done a whole record."

"[Alex and guitarist Eddie Van Halen had been] jamming in the studio for years putting ideas down," he continues. "I'd say, 'that song's great, let's work on that.' But then they'd say, 'listen to this.' It was never-ending. There's so much material that needs to be finished for sure. It became a heavy workload on me as soon as we started getting into it. We had to kind of pick and choose. I took about two hours of stuff home with me and used to work out to it every day. That's really how it got defined."