LAMONT’S MUSIC NOTES-JUNE 18, 2019…THIRTY FIVE YEARS AGO VAN HALEN RELEASED ‘PANAMA’ THE THIRD SINGLE FROM THE ALBUM ‘1984’
SOME TRIVIA CONCERNING VAN HALEN’S PANAMA:
-This was one of the last Van Halen songs recorded with David Lee Roth as lead singer. -Some of the scenes in the video where David Lee Roth is doing fun stuff like riding in a convertible, was footage shot for the “Jump” video but not used. Both videos were co-directed by Pete Angelus, who also did “Hot For Teacher.”
-During the bridge of the song, after Roth says, “I can barely see the road from the heat comin’ off it,” you can hear the sound of a car revving in the background. The car is Eddie Van Halen’s 1972 Lamborghini Miura S. Van Halen has stated that he is an avid car collector.
-According to David Lee Roth, he wrote the song with a stripper in mind that he met in Arizona. The song came about after an interview Roth gave in the early ’80s; the interviewer accused him of only writing lyrics about sex, drugs, and fast cars. Sometime either during or after the interview, Diamond Dave realized he’d never actually written a song about fast cars, so he started working on the lyrics to “Panama,” which he later admitted he had been writing about a stripper he knew without realizing it. The finished lyrics were inspired by both the stripper and the car.
-In the video, Michael Anthony played a bass shaped like a bottle of Jack Daniel’s whiskey, which the company custom made for him. This was a product placement coup, since MTV had a strict policy against advertising within videos – they made ZZ Top remove a shot of Schlitz beer from one of their clips before they would air it. By integrating the product into Anthony’s bass, there was no good way to remove it, and MTV wasn’t about to turn down a Van Halen video in 1984.
-This was one of the first songs recorded at Eddie Van Halen’s 5150 studios. “5150” is California police code for a mentally unstable person causing a disturbance.
-The album cover, which showed a baby on the cover smoking a cigarette, caused a bit of controversy. Some record stores refused to stock it.
HERE’S THE OFFICIAL VIDEO FOR VAN HALEN’S PANAMA