1991 – Van Halen’s “For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge…

Sammy Hagar with Van HalenSammy Hagar with Van Halen

1991 – Van Halen’s “For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge’‘ debuts at No. 1 on Chart Toppers’s pop album chart.

For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge (also known as F.U.C.K.) is the ninth album by the American hard rock band Van Halen, released in 1991. The album’s title came from lead singer Sammy Hagar, who wanted to push the issue of censorship with naming Van Halen’s album with a vulgarity, stating, “That’s when censorship was a big issue. I wanted to name the album just Fuck.” Hagar eventually backed away from the outright vulgarity after he was (mis)informed by his friend, former world lightweight boxing champion Ray “Boom Boom” Mancini, that the word “fuck” was an acronym for the phrase “for unlawful carnal knowledge.”. Their tour promoting the album was named F.U.C.K. ‘n’ Live.

The album itself was marketed as the “return” to Van Halen’s rock roots, with most songs being guitar driven, and the synth sounds being replaced by pianos, as the synth sound had become very dated by the time of the album’s release. This can be prominently heard on “Right Now,” the most popular song from the album. The band also reconciled with producer Ted Templeman who produced earlier Van Halen albums to return to work on the album. This was the first album that Eddie Van Halen recorded without his trademark overdriven Marshall heads. It was said in interviews with Ted Templeman that Eddie’s Marshalls kept breaking down due to their age and the fact that Eddie overdrove the power amp stage to achieve his tone, so Ted helped Eddie settle on using a Soldano SLO-100 to record the album. Shortly after the recording of the album, Eddie started his long-time use of the 5150 series of custom amplifiers, manufactured by American instrument company Peavey.

“Poundcake” featured the sound of a battery operated power drill, which Eddie held to the pickups of his guitar and revved, creating the intro. The song “Top of the World” features a riff that was first heard during the outro of the 1984-era hit “Jump.” For this reason, “Top of the World” is frequently played directly after “Jump” and appears immediately after it on the “Best of Both Worlds” compilation. The instrumental “316” is named for the March 16 birthday of Eddie’s son Wolfgang, who is currently Van Halen’s bass player, although the song predates his birth (as it can be heard on “Live Without A Net”.

* 1 Track listing
* 2 Personnel
o 2.1 Band
o 2.2 Guest musicians
* 3 Production
* 4 Miscellaneous
* 5 Charts
o 5.1 Album
o 5.2 Singles
* 6 Awards
* 7 References

Track listing

All songs by Michael Anthony, Sammy Hagar, Eddie Van Halen and Alex Van Halen.

1. “Poundcake” – 5:22
2. “Judgement Day” – 4:41
3. “Spanked” – 4:53
4. “Runaround” – 4:21
5. “Pleasure Dome” – 6:57
6. “In ‘n’ Out” – 6:05
7. “Man on a Mission” – 5:04
8. “The Dream Is Over” – 4:00
9. “Right Now” – 5:21
10. “316” – 1:29
11. “Top of the World” – 3:55



* Sammy Hagar – lead vocals, rhythm guitar
* Eddie Van Halen – lead guitar, keyboards, electric drill (used on “Poundcake”), background vocals
* Michael Anthony – bass, background vocals
* Alex Van Halen – percussion, drums

Guest musicians

* Steve Lukather – background vocals on “Top of the World”


* Producers: Andy Johns, Ted Templeman, Van Halen
* Engineers: Lee Herschberg, Andy Johns, Michael Scott, Mike Scott
* Mixing: Andy Johns, Michael Scott, Ted Templeman
* Art direction: Jeri Heiden
* Photography: David Seltzer, Glen Wexler


* The opening riff of “Pleasure Dome” is highly similar, and most likely an homage, to a prominent guitar line in the Rush song “Xanadu,” which is about the fabled “pleasure dome” of Mongol/Chinese emperor Kublai Khan. Coincidentally, Rush had just recently signed to Atlantic Records, a sister label to Van Halen’s then-label Warner Bros. Records.

* “Right Now” was used by Pepsi in their TV ads to introduce Crystal Pepsi. Adidas also used it in some ads for overseas markets.

* When playing the song “Poundcake” in concert, Eddie Van Halen often slides the rotating drill up and down the fret board.

* At the beginning of “Poundcake” you can hear band members talking before the song begins.



Billboard (North America)
Year     Chart     Position
1991     The Billboard 200     1


Billboard (North America)
Year     Single     Chart     Position
1991     “Poundcake”     Mainstream Rock Tracks     1
1991     “Right Now”     Mainstream Rock Tracks     2
1991     “Runaround”     Mainstream Rock Tracks     1
1991     “Top of the World”     Mainstream Rock Tracks     1
1991     “Top of the World”     The Billboard Hot 100     27
1992     “Man on a Mission”     Mainstream Rock Tracks     21
1992     “Right Now”     The Billboard Hot 100     55
1992     “The Dream Is Over”     Mainstream Rock Tracks     7


Grammy Awards
Year     Winner     Category
1991     For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge     Best Hard Rock Performance

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