“Submitted for your approval: a busload of tourists on a road their travel agent never told them about…”
Even more than Van Halen‘s 1984, David Lee Roth‘s solo debut, the Crazy From The Heat EP is one of those “Christ, am I really that old?” touchstones from my youth. Though only a year separated the two recordings – Crazy… being released on January 28, 1985 – they sound worlds apart; as popular as 1984 was, the ubiquity of the “California Girls” and “Just A Gigolo/I Ain’t Got Nobody” singles, along with their constant rotation on MTV, is a much more vivid memory.
At just four songs, this was a meager offering, a toe-in-the-water for David’s solo career. And in all honesty, it might just as well have been called Diamond Dave Sings Karaoke, so faithful are his cover versions on the album. Fer-cryin’-out-loud Edgar Winter plays keyboards and does backing vocals on the cover of Edgar Winter’s “Easy Street.” It’s that much a direct knock-off throughout the entire record.
But, damn, Dave had charisma, didn’t he? You can hear his smirk as he delivers note-perfect covers of The Beach Boys and Louis Prima, even mimicking Louis’s scat vocals on “…Gigolo” syllable-for-syllable. His breezy take on The Lovin’ Spoonful‘s delightfully psychedelic “Coconut Grove” is identical to the original, but somehow still inimitably David Lee Roth.
The EP was a platinum-selling success and paved the way for Roth’s solo career which was met with diminishing enthusiasm after his first two full-length albums. Nonetheless, it was a good run for the frontman of a good time party band – and without Crazy From The Heat, we never would have gotten the following year’s exceptional Roth/Steve Vai-penned “Yankee Rose,” one of the best rock singles of the 80s and quite possibly the most unintentionally homoerotic video ever made.