Formed in Pasadena, California in 1972, Van Halen is a hard rock band that is composed of David Lee Roth on vocals, Alex Van Halen on drums, Eddie Van Halen on guitars, and Michael Anthony on bass. They were one of the most successful bands from the 80s. Throughout their career, they have sold more than 80 million albums worldwide and they are on the nineteenth spot on the RIAA list of best selling artist in United States history.
Albums and Hit Songs
Since 1978, Van Halen released a total of twelve albums and these are
- Van Halen (1978)
- Van Halen II (1979)
- Women and Children First (1980)
- Fair Warning (1981)
- Diver Down (1982)
- 1984 (1984)
- 5150 (1986)
- OU812 (1988)
- For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge (1991)
- Balance (1995)
- Van Halen III (1998)
- A Different Kind of Truth (2012)
They spawned several hit songs such as
- Runnin’ With The Devil
- Hot For Teacher
- Ain’t Talkin’ Bout Love
- Why Can’t This Be Love
- You Really Got Me
- Dance The Night Away
- Little Guitars
- Drop Dead Legs
- When It’s Love
- Ice Cream Man
- Pretty Woman
- Atomic Punk
- Love Walks In
- I’ll Wait
- Can’t Stop Lovin’ You
- Finish What You Started
Their story started with the Van Halen brothers who made music together in the 1960s. They formed their first band and named it The Broken Combs and started to gain popularity when they played on different backyard parties. And in 1972, they formed another band named Genesis featuring the line up of Eddie as the vocalist and lead guitarist, Mark Stone on Bass and Alex on drums. During that time, they rented a sound system from David Lee Roth in which they eventually hired as their new lead vocalist to save money from renting a sound system even if his past auditions did not meet the band’s expectations. And in 1974, the band decided to replace Mark Stone with Michael Anthony as the bassist. They renamed their band Mammoth when they discovered that Genesis was already being used by another band. But they ended up changing the band’s name again to Van Halen because according to David Lee Roth, the band was the Van Halen brother’s brainchild.
The band started to play several backyard gigs and before each gig, they would pass out flyers at local high schools to promote their music. They eventually landed their first break when they were hired to play at the formerly famous club on the Sunset Strip named Gazzarri’s. After that, the band started to play at other well-known clubs in Los Angeles like Whisky A Go Go. During one of their gigs, a writer at the L.A Times saw one of their performances and took Gene Simmons of the band Kiss to witness one of Van Halen’s act. Simmons was impressed with the band and he decided to produce a demo tape for them. But Simmons eventually opted out in supporting the band’s success after Van Halen’s demo tape got rejected by Kiss’ management.
In 1977, Van Halen landed a contract with Warner Bros. Records which released their debut studio album the following year. Their self-titled debut album became a hit because of constant touring, and in just a span of eight it became a platinum album. it sold over six million copies and spawned the hit songs “You Really Got Me”, “Runnin’ With The Devil”, and “Jamie’s Cryin’”. Their follow up studio album, Van Halen II was released in 1979 which produced the band’s first top 20 single, “Dance The Night Away”. Their third album, Women and Children First, id not managed to produce hit singles but it reached the number sixth spot of the charts. The band followed this up with an international arena tour. And on 1981, they released their album Fair Warning which was not as popular as their previous album but it still managed to reach the top ten of the charts. They followed up Fair Warning with Driver Down in 1982. The album became a huge hit and featured the cover of a Roy Orbison’s song, “(Oh) Pretty Woman” which reached the number three spot in the US charts.
While all their other albums became successful, Van Halen became superstars in 1984 with their album entitled 1984 which became an international hit. The album debuted at number two in the US charts and featured the number one hit single “Jump”. Despite this success, things are not going well within the band. During the tour for their 1984 album, the band members were physically separated on stage while they play separate solo sets. David Lee Roth was not happy with Eddie Van Halen’s appearance on Michael Jackson’s song “Beat It” and Eddie became frustrated with Roth’s crazy antics. Roth then released his own solo EP entitled Crazy From The Heat and he delayed Van Halen’s follow up album to 1984 which caused him to be fired from the band. And the public was surprised when Sammy Hagar was named as David Lee Roth’s replacement. While everyone doubted that Hagar cannot match and sustain Van Halen’s previous success, he proved them all with the release of the band’s album entitled 5150. It became a huge hit and it even reached the top of the charts. It was able to produce the hit singles “Why Can’t This Be Love”, “ Love Walks In” and “Dreams”. In the following years, the band produced two more successful albums namely OU812 and For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge in 1988 and 1991 respectively. It was in this period that Eddie Van Halen was recognized as one of The 10 Best Guitarists of the 1980s.
By the time Van Halen released their album Balance in 1995, tensions between Eddie Van Halen and Sammy Hagar started to grow. While their album became successful in the market and managed to reach the top spot of the charts, there were escalating tensions in the band because they wanted to release a greatest hits album but Sammy Hagar did not like the idea. Eddie Van Halen took the decision to change the vocalist and they started recording new songs with David Lee Roth again without the knowledge of Hagar. When Hagar found out he went all hysterical.
Eddie Van Halen fired Hagar from the band and proceeded to record two new songs with Roth. But Eddie fired Roth too saying that he was only with the band to record two new songs. Van Halen then hired former Extreme vocalist, Gary Cherone as their new lead vocalist. And in 1998, Cherone’s first album with Van Halen was released with the title Van Halen III. Although the album managed to reach the third spot of the charts, it began to decline fast because the album received mixed reviews and criticisms. After this album proved to be a flop, Cherone was immediately fired from the band in 1999. And news about a Van Halen/Roth reunion circulated in the media. Roth confirmed the news and said that he recorded some songs with the band over the previous summer. After this confirmation, Eddie Van Halen announced that he was battling with cancer but was told that he had a good shot at recovery.
Month’s after this news, the band decided to but their ties with Warner Bros. Records. and admitted that they have not found any replacement for Gary Cherone and that they were not considering to bring back David Lee Roth as their lead vocalist.
Van Halen was inducted in the Rock and Roll Hall of fame in 2007, and the rumors of the band having a reunion with Roth have circulated again. The rumors were then confirmed when the band announced the legitimate dates of their tour which kicked off in September of 2007 and went on to be one of Van Halen’s successful tour with gross sales of over 93 million dollars. And on 2012, the band released an album since their 1998 Van Halen III. The album was entitled A Different Kind of Truth and it was greeted with positive reviews. It debuted at the second spot of the Billboard Top 200 charts and became a certified gold album in Canada. Van Halen followed this up with a worldwide tour to promote their album.