DAVID LEE ROTH – “Yankee Rose”

Written by David Halbe

Comedy may not have been the intention but it’s hard not to find this oversexed crew trying to be masculine in a pair of spandex amusing.

There is no doubt that David Lee Roth is the ultimate showman. Few vocalists have been able to capture our attention like this heavy metal game show host.

By now, most of you know David Lee Roth’s Van Halen story but here’s a little side note. While still a member of Van Halen, Roth released a solo EP entitled Crazy from the Heat. Made available in January of 1985, the EP was largely successful due to a pair of videos: “California Girls” and “Just A Giggolo/I Ain’t Got Nobody”. These were larger than life visions with a bit of comedy and plenty of eye candy. In April of ’85 Roth officially left Van Halen and embarked on a solo career.

Fully intent on competing with the Van Halen brothers, Roth assembled a cast of stars as his backing band. He recruited Billy Sheehan (Bass), Greg Bissonette (Drums) and Steve Via (Guitars). Using veteran Van Halen producer, Ted Templeman, David Lee Roth released his hard-hitting debut, Eat ‘Em and Smile in July of 1986.

Selling over two million copies in the U.S. alone, the album eventually reached number four on the Billboard Top 200. The first single release from the album was a song called “Yankee Rose”. An anthem supposedly written as a homage to the Statue of Liberty, which at that time was in the process of a major renovation in anniversary of its original (1886) dedication.

A video was released to accompany the single and that’s when David Lee Roth lost me. Some videos you just can’t forget and this is definitely one of them. The opening sequence is hilarious! Knowing the background of the song made it even better. People from all races and nationalities can come to the United States and get a bottle of anything and a glazed donut to go! While this mentality is admirable, what happens next is simply baffling. The successful video formula followed in the Crazy from the Heat EP was not continued. This awesome opening morphs into a performance video that challenges you with visions of male flamboyancy so saucy they are downright embarrassing!  Watch them grind, jeer and shake their asses! Making matters worse, the backdrop is an empty stage. Although, we occasionally get a glimpse of a live crowd. There are no women and there is no Statue of Liberty. Not even a foreign guy with a unibrow holding a package of condoms. All we get is David Lee Roth making obscene gestures. I guess if I was a woman, I might find these visuals appealing but somehow I doubt it.

David Lee Roth’s video for “Yankee Rose” opens great but crashes and burns historically. Comedy may not have been the intention but it’s hard not to find this oversexed crew tying to be masculine in a pair of spandex amusing. Check out “Yankee Rose” and let this vision of lustful ‘80s entertain you! \m/

David Lee Roth (1986) are:

  • David Lee Roth – Vocals
  • Steve Vai – Guitars
  • Billy Sheehan – Bass
  • Gregg Bissonette – Drums
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