Tu(n)esday: Rothagar...

I'm about to admit something very unpopular in rock music circles... I prefer Van Halen with Sammy Hagar as frontman instead of with David Lee Roth. 

The rationale is simple: 

With David, Van Halen recorded more than a dozen cover songs on their six albums. 

With Sammy, they wrote more original music. In fact, I'm pretty sure it was all original. No covers. 

With David, they were pure party rock, which isn't a bad thing, but I doubt it would've held up much longer in a changing music industry. 

With Sammy, they branched out musically and tried new sounds and incorporating new instruments. 

With David, there was a lot of infighting that led to a parting of ways.

With Sammy... Oh wait, the same crap happened.

As a solo artist, David created one of my all-time favorite rock albums in Skyscraper (1988).


I listened to this album, along with Eat 'Em and Smile (1986) and A Little Ain't Enough (1991), a bit over the course of the last couple of days and they are just so incredible to hear. David is having fun. The band is really tight. All the songs are firing on all cylinders. Rock, jazz, speed metal. They're all great.

But, most importantly, as a solo artist, David brought to the limelight the impossible greatness of Steve Vai. 


Sure, Vai actually got his start as a guitarist and transcriber with Frank Zappa but his true emergence was with David Lee Roth's solo band. And then as his own solo act releasing killer albums like Passion & Warfare


Speaking of P&W, did you knew that this year is that album's 25th anniversary? In honor of the anniversary, Vai re-mastered and re-released it back in June in conjunction with a new album titled Modern Primitive. I haven't heard it yet -- it's queued up in Spotify -- but I'm really looking forward to hearing it. Vai is also playing P&W start to finish in a series of concerts. That would be all kinds of cool to see live. 

But, c'mon... 25 years? Seriously?

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Marty Mankins

I like how you tied all of these artists and albums together. I was a big fan of VH with Roth (it was my first concert in September 1982) and I liked the party attitude of the band. But Sammy, who I've never seen in concert (solo or VH), is when I felt VH was a band creating some great music. If I remember right, OU812 is your fav of the Hagar VH albums.

Loved the Roth solo albums with Steve Vai. Great songs on Skyscraper. I always liked "Hot Dog and a Shake" funny as it was.

Had no idea that P&W was 25 years old. Wow. Great album.


Who knew there was only one degree of separation between DLR and Zappa?

Kevin Spencer

I dunno, I'm kinda with you. The first VH song I ever heard back in England was Why Can't This Be Love. I had no idea there even was a Diamond Dave era preceding it. The Roth years, in hindsight, are amazing. But for me, 5150 is the epoch of Van Halen.


Van Hagar was the first time I truly discovered them. Although I had heard several songs from 1984 at the local roller rink that I just never associated with them as a band. OU812 was my first purchase but 5150 was the first real association.

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