Might as well jump: Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab has announced that Van Halen's first six multi-platinum albums originally released on the Warner Bros. label will be coming to hybrid stereo SACD (playable on all CD players) as well as to audiophile-standard UltraDisc One-Step 180-gram, 45 RPM vinyl. The band's incendiary debut Van Halen (1978) is due for release in the fourth quarter of 2022, with Van Halen II (1979), Women and Children First (1980), Fair Warning (1981), Diver Down (1982), and 1984 (1984) all to follow from MoFi and Warner Records.
Limited to 10,000 numbered copies, each UltraDisc One-Step box set will be mastered from the original analog master tapes and pressed at RTI on 180-gram MoFi SuperVinyl at 45 RPM for optimal sound quality. The Van Halen catalogue joins such classic albums as Carole King's Tapestry, Paul Simon's Still Crazy After All These Years, Eagles' Desperado, Miles Davis' Bitches Brew, and Marvin Gaye's What's Going On in the lavish One-Step box set format.
In addition to the limited edition UltraDisc One-Step 45rpm vinyl boxes, the individually numbered hybrid stereo Super Audio CDs (SACD) will arrive packaged in mini-gatefold sleeves, also mastered from the original tapes.
The MoFi initiative presents every album from Van Halen's first great era, all the albums released with original singer David Lee Roth matching Eddie Van Halen's searing licks with vocal intensity. Featuring the now-immortal six-string styles of Eddie Van Halen, the devastating rhythm section of bassist Michael Anthony and drummer Alex Van Halen and the clean production of Ted Templeman (Doobie Brothers, Harper's Bizarre), these albums are all-killer, no-filler: from the strains of "Eruption" to MTV-ready hits "Jump," "Panama," and "Hot for Teacher," plus amped-up covers of The Kinks ("You Really Got Me"), Roy Orbison ("Oh, Pretty Woman"), and Martha Reeves and The Vandellas ("Dancing in the Street").
Roth famously went solo shortly after 1984; Sammy Hagar took the vocal reins until 1996, when Roth returned for a greatest-hits package. Gary Cherone of Extreme sang on one album, Van Halen III (1998), and Hagar took the band through another round of touring (and another greatest-hits set) from 2003 to 2005, after which he and Anthony both left the band. In 2006, Roth returned with new bassist Wolfgang Van Halen (Eddie's son) to tour the world; in 2012, this lineup released a new album, A Different Kind of Truth. Today, Wolfgang carries on in his late father's spirit. His 2021 album Mammoth WVH (for which he wrote every song and played every instrument) earned a spot on numerous best-of-the-year lists and its single "Distance" nabbed Wolfgang a Grammy nomination as Best Rock Song.
"Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab is excited to release Van Halen's first six iconic albums in the UD1S and SACD formats for the first time," notes Jim Davis, president of Music Direct and Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab, in the press release. "Fans will experience Van Halen's original blend of raw power and Hollywood flair like never before through these limited-edition, audiophile-grade One-Step vinyl box sets." MoFi promises that "the band's records will sound more vivid, present, and entertaining than ever" and adds, "Playing with reference-setting sonics that elevate multi-platinum landmarks whose importance cannot be quantitatively measured, Mobile Fidelity collector's versions provide a clear, clean, transparent, balanced, and turn-the-volume-up-to-11 view of feel-good albums that birthed entirely new styles and fueled hormonally charged desires. And because MoFi's unique SuperVinyl compound allows analog lovers to crank the decibels to their wildest desires without risking noise-floor interference, they will not only hear but feel Van Halen in their chest, no fifth-row concert seat necessary."
The six box sets and six SACDs are due later in 2022, and are available for pre-order now from MoFi/Music Direct at this link.