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 Post subject: History
PostPosted: Sun May 07, 2006 1:04 am 
The Lord of all that matters
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Van Halen

Van Halen is an American rock band formed in the early-1970s. The band's first studio album, Van Halen, released in 1978 is widely regarded as a milestone in rock music. With this first release, the band established itself as a leader in the emerging and commercially successful U.S. heavy metal music genre of the 1980s. In particular, the band's guitarist, Eddie Van Halen, quickly gained widespread fame for his technical prowess and musical sensibility. Almost overnight, he was touted as one of the most innovative and influential American rock and roll guitarists.

From 1978 to 1998 the band released 11 studio albums (all of which broke the Top 20 spot of the Billboard 200 music charts). The band has sold more than 75 million albums worldwide and has received several Grammy nominations. Van Halen is listed in the Guinness Book of World Records with the most number one hits on the Billboard Mainstream Rock List. According to the Recording Industry Association of America Van Halen is #19 on the list of Top Selling Artists of all time (having sold more than 56 million albums in the U.S.). Van Halen is one of five rock groups that have had 2 albums sell more than 10 million albums in the U.S. (the others being: Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, the Beatles, and Def Leppard).

In addition to being recognized for their artistic contributions, commercial success and popularity, the band is known for drama surrounding the lead singer spot. Although the core instrumentalists and backing vocals have remained constant (Eddie Van Halen, Alex Van Halen and Michael Anthony), the band has recorded studio albums with three different lead vocalists: David Lee Roth, Sammy Hagar and Gary Cherone. Each vocalist has departed (at least once) under cloudy circumstances. Following their 2004 concert tour the band is currently on hiatus; once again they have a vacancy in the lead singer position and an uncertain future.


The Core Members: 1974-Present

Eddie Van Halen - guitar, bass, keyboards and vocals

Alex Van Halen - drums and percussion

Michael Anthony - bass and vocals


David Lee Roth - vocals (1974-1985, 1996)

Sammy Hagar - vocals (1985-1996, 2004)

Gary Cherone - vocals (1996-1999)


The band became a staple act on California's Sunset Strip during the mid-1970s, consistently playing at well known clubs such as the Whisky A Go-Go. In 1976 Gene Simmons, of the rock band KISS, saw one of Van Halen's shows and subsequently financed their first demo tape. Simmons wanted to change the band's name to Daddy Longlegs and had designed cover art (a daddy longlegs spider wearing a top hat), but the band disagreed and stuck with Van Halen.

(1978-1985) with David Lee Roth

With Ted Templeman at the helm, the band moved into the studio and quickly recorded their first album. Simply titled Van Halen, the album was released to immediate commercial success, reaching #19 on the Billboard pop music charts. All of the tracks were laid down very quickly (about three weeks), with little over-dubbing or double tracking. Minor mistakes were left on the record and a very simple musical set-up was used to give the record an almost-live feel. After adding vocals, the album was essentially ready to be mixed. Despite the simple studio set-up, Van Halen featured innovations in musical technique, production, and arrangement.

The first album, one of rock's most commercially successful debuts, is widely regarded as one of the most influential rock albums ever produced. While it included world famous pieces such as "Ain't Talkin' 'Bout Love," "Eruption," and "Runnin' With the Devil," the album also featured a cover of the Kinks' song "You Really Got Me" and a cover of John Brim's "Ice Cream Man." The band toured for nearly a year on the basis of Van Halen, establishing their reputation as a talented and exciting live band. The early chemistry of the band was based upon the interplay of Eddie Van Halen's technical wizardry and David Lee Roth's flamboyant antics (a contrast that would later erupt into full-blown conflict). They returned to the studio in 1979 for Van Halen II, similar in style to their debut. This album yielded the band's first hit single, the poppy "Dance the Night Away."

Over the next four years, the band alternated album releases and touring to increasing commercial and critical acclaim. By 1980, Van Halen was perhaps the world's most successful and influential hard rock band (a legacy the band sustained throughout their career; in 2000, VH1 cited Van Halen as #7 on their list, "100 Greatest Artists of Hard Rock"). Their third album "Women and Children First" was released in 1980, further cementing Van Halen's status as an elite rock group with such loud and popular songs as "And the Cradle Will Rock" and "Everybody Wants Some!!". In 1981, during the recording of their fourth album, Fair Warning, tensions began to rise within the band. Eddie Van Halen's desire to experiment with more serious songs and complex structures was at odds with Roth's pop instincts and increasingly cartoonish, irony-laden persona. Although Roth (and producer Templeman) acquiesced to Eddie's wishes, Fair Warning was a relative sales disappointment, yielding no hit singles. The following album, Diver Down, featured a hit cover of Roy Orbison's classic rock and roll song "Oh, Pretty Woman". After a successful tour to support Diver Down, Van Halen became the highest paid music group for a single appearance, earning a spot in the Guinness Book of World Records for their inebriated, $1 million, 90-minute set at the U.S. Festival in 1983. (This record was eventually eclipsed in the 1990s.)

Van Halen's next album, 1984 (released on January 9, 1984) was their commercial, and many claim, artistic pinnacle. It was also a breaking point for the original line-up. Keyboards, previously heard only rarely, were now fully integrated into the band's sound. The album's lead single, "Jump", featured a bouncy synthesizer hook and anthemic lyrics by Roth. "Jump" became the band's first and only #1 pop hit and resulted in the band's first Grammy nomination. The other huge hits off the album were "Panama," "I'll Wait," and "Hot For Teacher." The album 1984 was praised by critics and fans alike, peaking at #2 on the Billboard charts behind the popular Thriller by Michael Jackson (Eddie Van Halen played the guitar solo on the hit song "Beat It," from that album). In the midst of their greatest commercial success and tour, the artistic and personal tensions between the musicians reached a breaking point. Roth exited the band on April 1, 1985.

(1985-1996) with Sammy Hagar

In search of a new lead singer, Eddie Van Halen first offered the position to Patty Smyth of Scandal, who turned down the offer. The band was then introduced to singer/guitarist/song-writer Sammy Hagar. Hagar (who sang lead vocals for the band Montrose in the early '70s) was at that time a solo artist coming off a very successful year (his 1984 album VOA had yielded the hit single "I Can't Drive 55'" that peaked at #26 on the pop charts). Late in 1985 Hagar agreed to join the band and a new era began for Van Halen.

The album 5150, released on March 24, 1986, was an immediate smash hit. Driven by the keyboard-dominated singles "Why Can't This Be Love," "Dreams," and "Love Walks In," it became the band's first release to reach #1 on the Billboard album charts. Filled out with diverse songs ranging from the near thrash of "Get Up," and party rock of "Summer Nights" and "Good Enough," to the more introspective "Best Of Both Worlds" and an EVH guitar tour de force on the title track, 5150 is generally considered the strongest album of the "Hagar era."

The next ten years with Sammy Hagar were marked by two somewhat opposing trends: expansion of the band's commercial success amid increasing fan resentment over Roth's departure. Hagar's style enabled Van Halen to become accessible to a wider audience, with lyrics that were more conventional and refined. Eddie's keyboard work brought a wider variety of sonic textures within each song, and the production was altered toward the pop side. The result was markedly different from the hard charging, rollicking riffs of the group's earlier work, and Eddie's trademark guitar sound was now rarely heard without many digital effects. Die-hard "old Van Halen" fans referred derisively to the new "Van Hagar" sound as "soft" or "fluffy" compared with the raucous, raw sound of the Roth era.

During Hagar's tenure, the band established a musical formula that proved commercially successful in the United States. All four studio albums produced during this period reached #1 on the Billboard pop music charts. Also during this time, 17 singles breached the top 12 of the mainstream rock tracks chart. In addition, Van Halen was nominated for two Grammy Awards, winning the 1991 Best Hard Rock Performance with Vocal award for the album For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge. Van Halen continued to enjoy tremendous popular success throughout the mid-90's, while many of their hair metal contemporaries (such as Warrant and Poison) fell from favor, overtaken by anti-establishment "Grunge Music."

During the recording of their contribution to the film Twister, escalating tension between Hagar and the Van Halen brothers boiled over publicly as Hagar departed on Father's Day, 1996. Hagar claimed that he was fired; Eddie Van Halen claimed that Hagar quit. The media storm surrounding the dramatic exit of Hagar helped him to immediately restart his solo career. However, the publicity wasn't helpful for Van Halen, only serving to shine a bright light on the vacant lead singer spot. The commercial success that Van Halen reached with Sammy Hagar set high expectations ‚Äö?Ñ??‚àö?ë‚àö‚àÇ‚Äö?†??‚àö?´‚Äö?†??‚àö?ú and fans everywhere were watching and waiting for the band's next move.

Gary Cherone (1998)

Soon after Hagar's departure, David Lee Roth entered the studio with the Van Halen brothers, Michael Anthony, and producer Glen Ballard. Two songs from those sessions were added to the band's Greatest Hits album (with the Roth single "Me Wise Magic" reaching #1 on the mainstream rock chart; the album The Best of Van Halen, Vol. 1 was #1 on the pop charts). However, Eddie and Alex were still auditioning other singers ‚Äö?Ñ??‚àö?ë‚àö‚àÇ‚Äö?†??‚àö?´‚Äö?†??‚àö?ú among them unknown singer Mitch Malloy. Malloy would reveal years later that, during this time, Eddie had hired him for the job[10]. By September, however, David Lee Roth and the rest of the band were asked to present an award at the 1996 MTV Video Music Awards. On September 4, 1996, the four original members of Van Halen made their first public appearance together in over eleven years, presenting an award at the 1996 MTV Video Music Awards. This appearance was greeted with a standing ovation, and fueled hopeful speculation for a reunion tour. However, old wounds were reopened; while doing backstage interviews with the media, Roth told Eddie not to talk about personal issues such as Eddie's hip replacement. According to Eddie, Roth was very rude and self-centered, causing the relationship between them to sour once again. Mitch Malloy revealed several years later that immediately after the awards, he told Eddie that he did not want to be the lead singer of Van Halen because the public appearance with Dave made it impossible for any other singer to be successful with the group. Several weeks after the awards show, the public and media became aware that Roth would not be reuniting with the band. At this time, Roth released a media statement where he apologized to the media and the fans, stating that he was an unwitting participant in a publicity stunt perpetrated by the Van Halens and Ray Daniels (their manager) in order to sell more copies of the greatest hits album. The next day, Eddie and Alex Van Halen released their own statement, stressing that they were completely honest with Roth and never led him to believe that he was guaranteed to be the next lead singer.

Continuing their search Van Halen approached former Little Angels singer Toby Jepson who declined and so the band recruited Gary Cherone, the frontman of the defunct Boston-based band Extreme. The result of their collaboration was the experimental Van Halen III. Many songs were longer and more ethereal ("Once"), more thought-provoking ("How Many Say I," with Eddie on vocals), or were just plain different ("From Afar," "Josephina"). These changes alienated many existing Van Halen fans who were followers of Roth's and Hagar's hard rock sound while failing to attract a new audience. Sales were lackluster compared to those of previous albums ‚Äö?Ñ??‚àö?ë‚àö‚àÇ‚Äö?†??‚àö?´‚Äö?†??‚àö?ú yet the VHIII album peaked at #4 on the charts (it was Gold certified), and produced a #1 Mainstream Rock Track hit, "Without You". However, no tracks from the album ever appeared on the pop music charts. A left over track entitled "That's Why I Love You" found its way onto the internet, leaving fans to wonder why it didn't make the album. Van Halen also contributed a song to the Lethal Weapon 4 soundtrack with the title "Fire In The Hole."

In early 1999, the band started work on the follow up to III with Cherone on vocals. Working titles of demo tracks included "Left for Dead," "River Wide," "Say Uncle," "You Wear it Well," "More Than Yesterday," "I Don't Miss You...Much," "Love Divine," and "From Here, Where Do We Go." However, the album was not completed and Cherone left the band amicably in November 1999.

(2000-2004) Four years of silence

From 2000 to early 2004, no albums were released and no official information was provided to fans about the future of the band. However, information about individual members, past and present, trickled in.

Some highlights:

During 2000, the band secretly started working with David Lee Roth, and six new tracks were worked on at 5150. However, Roth and the band fell out yet again and no new material was released.

In 1999, Eddie Van Halen reluctantly had hip replacement surgery (when the pain became unbearable). He also underwent cancer treatment soon after (at the Mayo Clinic) and announced his complete recovery on the official website in May 2002.

On October 15, 2001, Eddie and his wife of 21 years, actress Valerie Bertinelli, separated. The couple filed for divorce on December 8, 2005. Eddie keeps out of the public eye but appears at the LAPD charity golf tournament during May 2001. His only live performances during this period were joining Mountain on stage for a rendition of "Never in My Life" in August 2002, and a private audience jam at NAMM January 2003. Eddie only gave one official interview, with Maximum Golf Magazine, in July 2001.

Alex Van Halen continued to work with his brother on new material at their 5150 recording studio.

In 2002, Warner Bros. dropped Van Halen (still without a lead singer) from the label, after having released all of their albums since 1978.

Since his departure in 1996, David Lee Roth produced a number of albums and toured with his DLR band (his most recent release being an album of covers called Diamond Dave (2003)). In 2003, Roth brought a court action against Van Halen, their management, and record company claiming he was left out of 1996 royalty renegotiations. On July 4, 2004, Roth performed with the Boston Pops at Boston's annual Pops Goes the Fourth celebration. As of 2005, he has become a certified EMT, and as of January 2006, has replaced Howard Stern on several of Stern's terrestrial radio markets. He has since been let go from this position due to low ratings.

Sammy Hagar has remained active musically. Since his departure from Van Halen, he has released five albums. He also created his own merchandising brand Cabo Wabo, which lends its name to his popular line of tequila, as well as his franchise of cantinas located in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, and Lake Tahoe, Nevada. In addition, he reunited with the original members of his '70s band Montrose in 2003 and 2005 for a handful of performances. Hagar also maintains a good relationship with Michael Anthony and the two often play together.

Michael Anthony stays busy outside of Van Halen with various product merchandising projects (such as his signature Yamaha bass) and has a website. He is involved with the annual music industry NAMM Show.

Anthony has also released a statement on his official website denying rumors that he has been sacked by Van Halen.

Since his departure from Van Halen, Gary Cherone recorded an album and performed locally with his new band Tribe of Judah.

In the summer of 2002, David Lee Roth and Sammy Hagar teamed up for the Song For Song, the Heavyweight Champs of Rock and Roll tour (known tongue-in-cheek as the 'Sans-Halen' or 'Sam & Dave' Tour). It succeeded beyond expectations, drawing large crowds to outdoor auditoriums. In an interview, Roth contrasted his personality with Hagar's, saying "He's the kind of guy you go out with to split a bottle with a friend. I'm the kind of guy you go out with if you want to split your friend with a bottle." During that tour, Michael Anthony guested with Hagar's solo band, The Waboritas, but never played with Roth. Hagar released a live album (Hallelujah), which featured Mike (a few songs) and Gary (one song), and a documentary DVD, Long Road to Cabo, chronicling his tour with David Lee Roth.

During January 2003, the VHND (Van Halen News Desk) website reported a rumour that Sammy Hagar was secretly working with the band.

(2004-2005) Reunion with Sammy Hagar

In late March 2004, Van Halen and Sammy Hagar announced that Hagar would reunite with the band for a Greatest Hits album release and a summer concert tour.

In July 2004, Van Halen released their second Greatest Hits compilation, featuring three new songs with Hagar: "It's About Time", "Up For Breakfast", and "Learning to See." Again, public reaction to the new songs was mixed. The track list had changed since its unveiling, and now Hagar and Roth songs alternated instead of one disc for each singer; a disappointing strategy for fans who prefer (often strongly) one singer over the other. No VHIII songs made it onto the disc. Nevertheless, Van Halen's second Greatest Hits record would be certified platinum in August 2004.

The summer tour grossed 55 million dollars, and Pollstar listed Van Halen in the top 10 grossing tours of 2004. Most of the concerts received positive feedback from professional reviewers. However, serious problems surfaced. Sammy Hagar and Michael Anthony would subsequently admit that Eddie Van Halen had problems with alcohol during the tour that affected everyone involved. Hagar stated that he was "done with Van Halen" and wished that everyone would have "taken it more seriously." It was also revealed in Rolling Stone magazine that promoters had lost money on the tour. Many fans complained that tickets were overpriced (sometimes exceeding $200), and only a few shows were actually sold out. Reports of Eddie being drunk and playing sloppy circulated which is also evident on many of the bootlegs of the tour.

After the tour ended, Van Halen once again disappeared. Hagar returned to his solo band The Waboritas, and Anthony appeared with him on tour occasionally. Eddie's collaboration with Peavey ended (for his signature 5150 guitar amplifier series, replaced with the 6505 amp, and Eddie is now endorsing Charvel, which is reissuing the EVH classic guitar models). As for 2005, no announcements had been made about the future of the band.

In August 2005, Van Halen sued the Baltimore Orioles, claiming that the Orioles reneged on a deal to bring the band to Oriole Park at Camden Yards on September 2, 2004, which would have been the first concert at the otherwise baseball-only facility.

On October 7, 2005, newsletter Popbitch reported that Van Halen would be seeking a new lead singer via a reality TV show similar to INXS's Rock Star: INXS. Although several other news sources picked up this story, eventually it turned out to be nothing more than a false rumor.

(Dec 2005 - Present) The Future of Van Halen

December 22, 2005: Michael Anthony reveals during a radio interview with Mark & Brian that the band is yet again on hiatus and that he hasn't spoken to the Van Halen brothers for some time. He won't be drawn into any detailed questions regarding Eddie's sub-par performances on the 2004 tour or on the guitarist's plans for the future.

January 3, 2006: David Lee Roth reveals during an interview with the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review that he spoke to Alex Van Halen the previous week and a reunion with Van Halen is "inevitable". Moreover, Roth states in an interview with the Cleveland Plain Dealer that he also has spoken to Eddie Van Halen recently, though he says "Eddie's off in his own world."

January 21, 2006: Roth talks about the songs he recorded with Van Halen in 2000 during his radio show. He hints he has copies of the tracks and threatens to play them on the air.

February 2006: A new Eddie Van Halen interview appears in the February edition of Hit Parader. He isn't asked any direct questions regarding the future of Van Halen but admits he was "satisfied" with the 2004 reunion tour. Asked if any problems occurred with Sammy Hagar during the tour he answers, "Sammy is Sammy, and for the most part that's just fine with me."

February 13, 2006: Various news and music Web sites report that Van Halen is indeed the band to be featured in a new TV series called Rockstar: The Series. The band's publicist, Larry Solters, is quoted as saying, "I'm not denying it. I'm not going to answer any questions about it."

February 15, 2006: The New York Daily News[16] runs a story with several quotes from Roth regarding a Van Halen reunion. "People want the reunion," Roth said. "No one will pay respect to what any of us do [musically] until we get the reunion out of the way.". "Once Eddie (Van Halen) does that, everything else he does can be seen with a fresh eye."

March 6, 2006: An exclusive and revealing Michael Anthony interview appeared in the Japanese rock magazine Burrn!.

Some of the highlights:

The Van Halen brothers did not want Anthony to take part in the 2004 reunion tour.

Anthony also received far less money then the rest of the band during the tour.

Eddie Van Halen had issues with Hagar selling Cabo Wabo products at Van Halen's 2004 shows.

The band had tried on three occasions to make a record with Roth.

During one reunion attempt, Roth wanted the band to play music similar to The Chemical Brothers.

Anthony did not play bass on any of the three new songs on the Best of Both Worlds compilation.

The whole band only played together on three tracks on the Van Halen III album with Eddie Van Halen using a drum machine on "Dirty Water Dog".

Anthony hasn't spoken to Eddie Van Halen since the 2004 tour, though he has spoken to Alex Van Halen at the funeral for Greg Emerson, a Van Halen drum tech.


1978 Van Halen

1979 Van Halen II

1980 Women and Children First

1981 Fair Warning

1982 Diver Down

1984 1984 Grammy Award Nomination: Best Rock Vocal Performance by a Duo or Group ("Jump")

1986 5150

1988 OU812

1991 For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge Grammy Award Win: Best Hard Rock Performance (For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge)

1995 Balance Grammy Award Nomination: Best Hard Rock Performance ("The Seventh Seal")

1998 Van Halen III

Live album

1993 Live: Right Here, Right Now Featuring Sammy Hagar vocals


1996 Best of Volume I Featuring two new songs with David Lee Roth

2004 The Best of Both Worlds Featuring three new songs with Sammy Hagar

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