“This song's about when life is good!”: Watch newly unearthed footage of Van Halen performing Top of the World in 1991

Eddie Van Halen performing onstage in 1991
(Image credit: Van Halen)

Van Halen have shared previously unreleased footage of the band performing Top of the World at the West End Marketplace in Dallas, Texas in December 1991. 

The song was the only single from the band’s For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge record from that same year to break into the top 40 of the Billboard Hot 100.  

The band’s ninth record, and third with Sammy Hagar on vocals, will see a special expanded version released on July 12 via Rhino, with this pro-shot footage helping whet the appetite. 

The release includes a newly remastered version of the record, which marked a third consecutive number one album for the Van Halen-Hagar line-up, alongside never-seen-before audio and footage from the band's Texas show on December 4, 1991, from which this clip is taken.  

That night’s setlist saw Hagar performing the Roth-era track Panama, alongside then-new tracks, Judgement Day and Poundcake, set staple 5150, and two Hagar solo tracks: I Can’t Drive 55 and There’s Only One Way to Rock

It certainly looks like a boisterous show, with one fan seen clinging to the top of a stop sign to gain an unrestricted view of the electric guitar hero in action, and Hagar revving up the crowd throughout.

“This song's about life – when it's good,” Hagar says before the song kicks in. “You've gotta sing this chorus with us – it'll make you feel so fucking good you can't stand it!” 

Van Halen - Top Of The World (Live in Dallas, TX 1991) [Official Video] - YouTube Van Halen - Top Of The World (Live in Dallas, TX 1991) [Official Video] - YouTube
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The expanded edition of For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge also includes alternate takes of Right Now – a song Hagar has highlighted as “a really great example of how Eddie Van Halen and I could collaborate” – and The Dream Is Over.

Top of the World is the only song on the album to feature a guest star, with Steve Lukather providing backing vocals. He penned a touching tribute to his trailblazing friend in the wake of his passing in 2020, saying: “He was the magic. The guitar just gave him a means to perform that magic.”  

The record is notable for helping earn the band, and Van Halen’s lead guitar heroics, their first Grammy award, scooping up the accolade for Best Hard Rock Performance in 1992. 

Their nomination pitted the band against AC/DC's Moneytalks, Alice In Chains' Man in the Box, and Guns N' Roses' Use Your Illusion I.  

The record’s remaster has been handled by producer and engineer Bernie Grundman, with the expanded edition of For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge releasing on July 12. 

  • The 2LP/2CD/Blu-ray Collection can be pre-ordered now via Rhino.
Phil Weller

A freelance writer with a penchant for music that gets weird, Phil is a regular contributor to ProgGuitar World, and Total Guitar magazines and is especially keen on shining a light on unknown artists. Outside of the journalism realm, you can find him writing angular riffs in progressive metal band, Prognosis, in which he slings an 8-string Strandberg Boden Original, churning that low string through a variety of tunings. He's also a published author and is currently penning his debut novel which chucks fantasy, mythology and humanity into a great big melting pot.