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With David Lee Roth wandering off for a solo record, the Van Halen brothers officially fired him and recruited former Montrose singer Sammy Hagar to take over the lead vocal slot. Hagar brought discipline with him, and the songs immediately tightened up and lost the cheeky asides that Roth barked with natural authority. As a more standardized heavy metal/hard rock combo, the new Van Halen had immediate crowd-pleasers with "Why Can't This Be Love," "Dreams," and "Best of Both Worlds," where Eddie's shocking guitarwork found a comfortable, more conventional format to color. The tuneful mastery on "Summer Nights" could only come from his hands. The rhythm section of bassist Michael Anthony and drummer Alex Van Halen remained the glue that ensured the group was better than the competition. Where other hard rock bands often trudged, Van Halen glided. Even the hustle and bustle of the Sammy Hagar workout "Get Up" has a fluid sense that only comes from musicians with a natural feel for the pocket.

Customer Reviews

The First Album As Van Hagar

When I heard that Sammy Hagar was goin to lead Van Halen I was blown away. Sammy was my favourite rock singer at the time and I thought that this could be a good fit. This album did not live up to my expectations. I think Sammy was good for VH as they seemed to be headed toward a more Pop/Rock sound on 1984. I do not know what I expected but this wasn't it. Although Sammy did have some great songs with VH that went on to be well received DLR was the best frontman for this band. Unfortunateley DLR and the rest could not work things out. VH was a great band with one of the best axemen in rock music but their time came and went and the rest is history.

Change is Good!

Van Halen purists aren't typically fond of this album, but sometimes change is good. I think Sammy brought a fresh sound and energy that helped take Van Halen in a different direction...with success. While some say it was "pop-rock", truth be told, I don't recall hearing these tracks that often on any pop radio stations. Eddie's guitar playing on 5150 still kept the songs raw sounding despite the continued presence of synthesizers carried over from their 1984 album. This album had a lot of solid tracks...that are simply good party songs.

What about Sammy?

When are the Hagar albums gonna be remastered??? (seriously!..I want an answer iTunes!!)


Formed: 1974 in Pasadena, CA

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

With their 1978 eponymous debut, Van Halen simultaneously rewrote the rules of rock guitar and hard rock in general. Guitarist Eddie Van Halen redefined what the electric guitar could do, developing a blindingly fast technique with a variety of self-taught two-handed tapping, hammer-ons, pull-offs, and effects that mimicked the sounds of machines and animals. It was wildly inventive and over the top, equaled only by vocalist David Lee Roth, who brought the role of a metal singer to near-performance...
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