Crank up the volume and consider: can heavy metal get any more fantastic? The mastery of Eddie Van Halen is irrefutable in Panama; the riff gets its hooks in from the very first bar and you’ve got no choice but to go with the flow.
The video is good fun, replete with flying band members, motorcycles, Michael Anthony’s Jack Daniels bass guitar and a rogue hairdryer. As a female metal fan, this video is a favourite. It’s got David Lee Roth at the height of his powers, shirtless, arrested wearing only a towel, doing acrobatic high kicks and, of course, wearing So Much Spandex. OK, maybe the red underpants over the tights was a bit much but who cares. The man is a god.
Panama only reached 61 on the charts, however it remains a favourite of fans. Pat Boone even did a swing cover of the song in 1997. Apparently David Lee Roth wrote the song as a response to critics who said he only wrote about partying, sex and cars. Roth realised he hadn’t actually written a song about cars and so Panama was written to fill the gap.