However, Stern did not recognize the depths of Steve Vai’s talent. Steve Vai had been well known in the rock world for the work he had had done with Frank Zappa. Steve Vai had also released a few solo albums that had showed off the guitarists virtuosic skills and brilliant original compositions.
For his new band David Lee Roth also recruited Billy Sheehan. The brilliant Billy Sheehan at the time was considered one of rock and roll’s great new talents. Billy Sheehan had played with a power trio called Talas. After leaving the Roth band, Sheehan would go on to form Mr. Big. He would become a member of the Jazz fusion trio Niacin. The original David Lee Roth band also featured the phenomenal drummer Greg Bissonette who has just about played with everyone. The duo of Bissonette on drums and Sheehan on bass formed one of the best rhythm sections in the history of rock and roll. That rhythm section greatly contributed to the sound behind these great David Lee Roth Songs.
The first two David Lee Roth albums Eat ‘Em and Smile and Skyscraper offer the most songs on the top 10 David Lee Roth Songs list. The two albums were the highlights of David Lee Roth’s solo career. Roth continued to make albums after Skyscraper. However, those albums did not feature Steve Vai on guitar.
The Top 10 David Lee Roth Songs list only focuses on the material Dave wrote or covered as a solo artist. Since David Lee Roth covered many songs that he had not written, we have included both original and non-original songs on the top 10 David Lee Roth Songs list. As long as David sang it and Eddie Van Halen was nowhere in sight, then it is eligible for this list.
# 10 – It’s Showtime
Starting off the list of the Top 10 David Lee Roth Songs is the great cut “It’s Showtime,” from the A Little Ain’t Enough album. The A Little Ain’t Enough record was released in 1991. The song “Its Showtime,” was mistakenly buried on the album as the eighth track. The song stood out among the rest of the tracks on the record but received very little airplay behind the title track of the LP. The song “Its Showtime,” featured Jason Becker on guitar simply shredding it up. One of the best David Lee Roth songs ever released on vinyl.
# 9 – Just A Gigolo / I Ain’t Got Nobody
The origins of the song “Just A Gigolo,” go back all the way to 1924. Over time, different snippets of classical pieces and lyrical changes delivered the song from its Austrian roots into the hands of Louis Prima. In 1953, Loius Prima recorded the version that David Lee Roth would utilize as the arrangement for his cover of the song. David Lee Roth’s showmanship and personality were the perfect fit for the song which became a huge hit for Mr. Diamond Dave. The song was released on David Lee Roth’s 1985 EP, Crazy From the Heat.
# 8 – Slam Dunk
The song “Slam Dunk,” was released on the 1998 DLR Band album. The song “Slam Dunk,” was the opening track on the album and was written by David Lee Roth, John Lowery and Bob Marlette. The DLR Band album seemed to come out of nowhere with very little promotion behind it. It’s a shame that few fans knew about the album because it was actually a really good record. The album had many great tracks, but “Slam Dunk,” stood out as the best of the lot
# 7 – California Girls
One of the best rock videos of all time helped catapult David Lee Roth’s cover of “California Girls,” into one of the most popular and successful David Lee Roth Songs of the singer’s career. The song was the first single from his Crazy From the Heat EP released in 1985. Many in the rock and roll community have argued that the success of “California Girls,” and “Just A Gigolo,” were the final reasons for David Lee Roth leaving Van Halen.
# 6 – Two Fools A Minute
This song always reminded some people of the Van Halen song “Beautiful Girls.” The same great funky groove that drove that excellent Van Halen song is found on the Skyscraper album cut. Just listening to Steve Vai, Greg Bissonette and Billy Sheehan play on this track make one wish that the supergroup had recorded more than just the two great albums they did with David Lee Roth. The two albums Eat Em and Smile and Skyscraper contain so many great David Lee Roth Songs.
# 5 – Bump and Grind
The David Lee Roth song “Bump and Grind,” was issued on the Eat Em and Smile album. The song was placed as the 8th track on the album just before the old standard “That’s Life,” that was a signature Frank Sinatra song. The Steve Vai guitar solo on “Bump and Grind,” was one of the album’s highlights.
# 4 – Tobacco Road
David Lee Roth has covered many songs throughout his career but his cover of “Tobacco Road,” stands as his finest cover song moment. Steve Vai, Billy Sheehan and Greg Bissonette’s performance on the song was simply killer. David Lee Roth just tares up the vocal as he and the band delivered one of the finest rock and roll moments ever on record.
# 3 – Just Like Paradise
The Skyscraper album was the follow-up to the very successful Eat Em and Smile record. The album’s first single was the keyboard-oriented “Just Like Paradise.” The song was a huge hit for David Lee Roth in 1988. The song hit No.6 on the Billboard Top 100 songs charts in 1988. Not only was it a top 10 single, but it also reached No.1 on the Billboard Rock Charts.
# 2- Shy Boy
Many of the David Lee Roth Songs on this list were covers of popular songs going all the way back to the 1920s. The David Lee Roth version of “Shy Boy,” was a cover of a song written by his bassist Billy Sheehan. The songs had been recorded by Billy Sheehan’s band Talas. It was originally released in 1982 on the Talas album, Sink Your Teeth Into It. The version that David Lee Roth covered with Steve Vai, Billy Sheehan and Greg Bissonette simply blew fans away when it was first released on the Eat Em and Smile LP. It is easily one of rock and rolls greatest moments and one of the best David Lee Roth Songs ever recorded. Listed as the second track on the album after “Yankee Rose,” it also helped form one of the best opening pairs of rock songs ever released on a rock album.
# 1 – Yankee Rose
“Yankee Rose,” was the first single released from David Lee Roth’s debut album Eat Em and Smile. Steve Vai’s opening guitar lick in which he literally got his guitar to sound like it was talking, perfectly complemented David Lee Roth’s bravado and shtick. Roth had major success with his Ep Crazy from the Heat and the hit singles “California Girls,” and “Just a Gigolo.” However, no one expected Roth to deliver an album that sounded as great as Eat Em and Smile. The song “Yankee Rose,” was the perfect choice for the initial single. The song was written by David Lee Roth and Steve Vai. “Yankee Rose,” made it to the Billboard top 20 in 1986.
The year 1986 also marked the 100-year anniversary of the United States receiving the Statue of Liberty as a gift from France. David Lee Roth said that he wrote the song as a tribute to the Statue of Liberty, Between Steve Vai’s amazing guitar work and Roth’s dynamic vocal, the song “Yankee Rose,” lands at No.1 on the Top 10 David Lee Roth Songs list. It also stands as the very best work David Lee Roth has ever done as a solo artist.
Top 10 David Lee Roth Songsarticle published on Classic RockHistory.com© 2022
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