While a new album, opening for Metallica and playing headline shows were all big deals for Wolfgang Van Halen and his Mammoth WVH band this year, he was happy to be involved in another major project. Van Halen played rhythm guitar on “I'm Just Ken,” a Grammy Award-nominated song from the hit film “Barbie” sung by co-star Ryan Gosling.
The track, which appeared on the Billboard Hot 100 and the Hot Rock & Alternative Songs chart, is being re-released Wednesday, Dec. 20, in a new “I'm Just Ken (Merry Kristmas Barbie)” version, and Van Halen tells us that being involved in the “Barbie” phenomenon in any capacity has been surreal:
“I couldn't believe it. I knew it was good, just from being involved in it and seeing what I was able to see. But to see how much, specifically the song I played on, to blow up as much as it did was pretty crazy to see.” :17
“I'm Just Ken” was written and produced by Mark Ronson and Andrew Wyatt, the latter of whom produced the Rolling Stones' new album “Hackney Diamonds.”
Other notable musicians on the track included Slash on lead guitar and current Foo Fighters drummer Josh Freese on drums.
The “Barbie” movie opened on July 21 and is the top-grossing film of 2023 with $1.44 billion at the box office. It's been nominated for nine Golden Globe Awards, 18 Critics' Choice Award and 12 Grammy Awards — including Best Song Written for Visual Media for “I'm Just Ken.”
Mammoth WVH released its second album, “Mammoth II,” during August. The group returns to the road for a North American tour starting February 21st in St. Louis.