Van HalenFair Warning

Label:Warner Bros. Records – HS 3540
Vinyl, LP, Album, Jacksonville Pressing
Style:Hard Rock, Heavy Metal


A1Mean Street4:55
A2"Dirty Movies"4:06
A3Sinner's Swing!3:08
A4Hear About It Later4:33
B2Push Comes To Shove3:48
B3So This Is Love?3:05
B4Sunday Afternoon In The Park2:00
B5One Foot Out The Door1:56

Companies, etc.



"0" stamped and "JW" etched in runouts denote a Capitol Records Pressing Plant, Jacksonville, pressing. Remainder of runouts etched.

Some covers are gold-stamped as promotional.

Released with a printed inner sleeve.

Cover Painting: © 1981 Guttman/Maclay Collection. © 1981 Van Halen Productions, Inc. Made in U.S.A.

Barcode and Other Identifiers

  • Barcode (Text): 0 7599-23540-1
  • Barcode (Scanned): 075992354011
  • Rights Society: ASCAP
  • Matrix / Runout (Side A runout, variant 1): HS-1-3540 JW-1 #1 0
  • Matrix / Runout (Side B runout, variant 1): HS-2-3540 JW-1 #1 0
  • Matrix / Runout (Side A runout, variant 2): HS-1-3540 JW-2 0
  • Matrix / Runout (Side B runout, variant 2): HS-2-3540 JW-4 [illegible scratch] 2 0
  • Matrix / Runout (Side A runout, variant 3): HS-1-3540 JW-2 #5 0
  • Matrix / Runout (Side B runout, variant 3): HS-2-3540 JW-3 #1 0

Other Versions (5 of 170)

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Title (Format)LabelCat#CountryYear
Recently Edited
Fair Warning (LP, Album, Misprint, Stereo)Warner Bros. RecordsWB 56 899Germany1981
New Submission
Fair Warning (LP, Album)Warner Bros. RecordsWBC 1505South Africa1981
New Submission
Fair Warning (LP, Album)Warner Bros. Records26.042Brazil1981
Recently Edited
Fair Warning (LP, Album)Warner Bros. RecordsW 56899Italy1981
New Submission
Fair Warning (LP, Album)Warner Bros. RecordsWB 56 899Colombia1981


  • _Obscuremuse_'s avatar
    Its arguable that after their debut, this is probably their best album. Dark, plodding, and full of the angst and desperation that reflected the economic situation of the early 80's.
    • ottomanmusick's avatar
      I think this is the best VH, really after VH 1. Curious why it seems to be the rarest and most expensive on yonder discogs. Less volume pressed?
      • JorgAusfelt's avatar
        Edited 2 years ago
        What a waste of '2 ozs. of plastic with a hole in the middle'*...this is where I got off, after 4 years and 4 albums. And I never turned back.

        Nostalgia used to be better...btw, their original bass player Mark Stone (1972-74) died on Sept. 28. And come Sunday, it's 50 years since Janis Joplin kicked the bucket. Yada, yada, yada...

        /Jörg, Sweden (oldtimer)

        *) Man - 2 Ozs. Of Plastic With A Hole In The Middle
        • vindic8r's avatar
          I have an odd copy of this version that has matching matrix/runout yet the label of this version (HS-1-3312 JW-3 #5) yet has the label from this version:

          Has anyone else see this?
          • rykodrix's avatar
            As with The Who's By Numbers, one might speculate the title Fair Warning was the band's honest admission to fans that the record was completed with lackluster effort, phoned in. Nothing is further from the truth. Although the 1981 LP -- VH's fourth (of six) with the Van Halen Mach 1 line-up (David Lee Roth, Eddie and Alex Van Halen, and Michael Anthony) -- could be considered the band's weakest of their phenomenal '78-'84 run, that's only because Van Halen, Van Halen II, and Women and Children First were such powerful and accomplished records. "Weak" is relative in the rare hard-rock air Van Halen floated on at this point in their career. Not a half-assed attempt at all, Fair Warning finds the band focused and tight, laying down exceptional rhythms, sharp riffs and pyrotechnic guitar solos ("Mean Street," "So This Is Love?"), hard and in-your-face bastardized blues ("One Foot Out The Door"), classic Van Halen choruses ("Hear About It Later"), and the band's most enduring FM-radio hit with a memorable "Diamond Dave" Lee Roth sexualized, comedic interlude ("Unchained"). Maybe two million copies sold (Platinum), a #5 Billboard 200 apex, and four songs in the Top 40 was by numbers for Van Halen at this point, as easy as connecting the dots; but you don't get results like that without shrewd hooks and stellar craftsmanship. Yet the question remains: why Fair Warning? Simply put, Van Halen were cautioning listeners that the gloves were off: the songs contained hard, up-tempo rhythms, slashing and wild guitar solos, and -- most noteworthy -- angry, edgy, explicitly greasy-sexy, smutty-humorous, misogynistic lyrics sung with serious emotion. No strangers to innuendo-laden, party-time casual-sex-with-a-smile songs on previous albums ("Feel Your Love Tonight," Bottom's Up!," "Beautiful Girls," "Everybody Wants Some!!"), on Fair Warning Van Halen took their testosterone-driven songs to a new level, perhaps a new low. And it works. In spades. Just like the seedy, pornographic underbelly of VH's hometown Los Angeles, Fair Warning bared the band's collective id to the fans. "This is home/The only one I know" David Lee Roth sings defiantly on "Mean Street," Fair Warning's opening cut. Van Halen's L.A. is where glamorous beauty and refined sexuality are a thin veneer over the carnal truth. "Dirty Movies" may begin with a dreamy intro by Eddie Van Halen, but it quickly devolves into a heavy-bottomed, chugging tale where "Daddy's Little Sweetie after some damn Rainbow/Got the Big Deal in the back of a Limo" and winds up the object of whistling sleazeballs shouting "Take it all Off!" Dirty Diamond Dave Lee Roth and Co. get even more lascivious on "Sinner's Swing," Roth sneering "She looks so f$$ing good, so sexy and so frail,/something got the bite on me, I'm going straight to hell" as the rest of the band almost pleasantly calls out "Gi-Gi-Gi-Gi-Give me that Bush!" It's enough to make the "Bitch" and "Starf$$ker" era Rolling Stones blush, or green with envy. But, quoting Mick Jagger, "the one thing you can't fix is a track that doesn't f$$king move." Van Halen prove keenly aware of this on Fair Warning, rocking hard --perhaps harder than any Van Halen record before or since-- slashing and burning through nine solid tracks with enough muscle to shoulder the often equally fierce lyrics. A record any Hard Rock fan should have in his/her collection.
            • frank.ciolino's avatar
              Edited 4 years ago
              Fair Warning doesn't possess the same beer drenched fun as do the first 3 albums by the band. Still a great album though (EVH is amazing throughout). Sinner's Swing, Hear About It Later, So This is Love, Sunday Afternoon in the Park, Mean Street and Unchained were the FW numbers they ripped through at Detroit's Cobo Hall Area on a hot 4th of July weekend 1981. Great times for sure!



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