During his recent chat with Guitar Player magazine, former Van Halen singer Sammy Hagar reflected on his work with the band. Among other things, he remembered the writing and recording process of “Right Now” from the band’s “For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge” album, released in 1992.
The record (with a title that was a pretty clever acronym) was the third one out of four to feature Sammy Hagar on vocals. And the song “Right Now” goes way back to 1983, even before Eddie Van Halen wrote “Jump.” An early version of the piece also appeared in the 1984 film “The Wild Life.”
Before Sammy was even considered as the band’s vocalist, Eddie wanted to record an album with various singers. And “Right Now,” according to the guitar maestro’s idea, was supposed to have Joe Cocker on vocals.
However, Sammy took some time to get used to the piece. During the album sessions, Eddie played it to him on the piano. The singer explained:
I liked it, but I didn’t know what I could do with it. Eddie was hearing it like the song ‘Feelin’ Alright?
But I didn’t hear it that way. We tried to get it going, but nothing felt right. We just sort of left it and he played me something else, and that became ‘Poundcake.’
I liked it, but I didn’t know what I could do with it,” he says. “Eddie was hearing it like the song ‘Feelin’ Alright?
Eddie kept playing me the piano part, trying to inspire me. I heard him play it probably 100 times. Then one day I started singing to it, and I had it. Everything fit and made sense. The lyrics came to me, and I told Eddie, ‘This thing’s written. Let’s record.
I don’t think we even had a cassette of it. We just went straight into recording. The whole thing came together like magic. The tune was happening.
As he also explained, the solo was the final touch done at the very end. He remembers the recording process:
Usually, Eddie had solos pretty locked down before we started recording. But on this song, he winged it. He came out of the house in pajamas and slippers, went into the studio, and played whatever came out. And as you might expect, it was pretty damn great.
Sammy also remembers that it took Eddie two takes to make it work, ultimately putting them together for the final version. But according to Sammy, it “sounded awesome, because as everybody knows, Eddie never played a bad solo.”
No doubts about that. You can check out the song in the embedded player below.