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The Essential Red Collection

Sammy Hagar

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Album Review

When it comes right down to it, Sammy Hagar doesn't have all that many hits — he's hit the Billboard charts about 30 times as a solo artist since leaving Montrose in the late '70s, and about ten of those are ones that you'd want to hear again, particularly when you take into account that such classic anthems as "Three Lock Box," "I've Done Everything for You," and "Heavy Metal" didn't hit the charts, but covers of "A Whiter Shade of Pale" and "(Sittin' On) The Dock of the Bay" and latter-day nonentities like "Serious Ju Ju" actually did. In other words, it seems like it'd be pretty easy to put together a definitive single-disc collection of his solo work, even if you threw in Montrose's "Bad Motor Scooter" for good measure because, let's face it, that was a Sammy cut anyway. Previous compilations like Unboxed or The Best of Sammy Hagar were constrained by label restrictions, since they only featured songs from his Geffen and EMI recordings, respectively, but Hip-O's 2004 effort The Essential Red Collection was supposed to solve this problem by cross-licensing between the two labels, and adding "Bad Motor Scooter," too. Alas, it falls short of being definitive, lacking such staples as "Cruisin' and Boozin'," "Baby's On Fire," "I Don't Need Love," and, worst of all, "Three Lock Box," whose absence is even more glaring considering that the immortal lyric "Suckers walk/Money talks" is highlighted in the liner notes. In their place is a handful of lesser-known, latter-day post-"Give to Live" hits, plus two unreleased cuts from 1974, which, as collector bait goes, aren't bad, but their presence eats up space that would have been better served by real hits. Nevertheless, this is the closest listeners have come to a definitive Sammy collection, and if you have this, along with either Unboxed or The Best of Sammy Hagar, you sure could compile a killer play list for your iPod. But some won't want to work that hard, and would have preferred it if The Essential Red Collection did all the legwork, not just because all of the hits would be in one place, but because it'd be a better comp for it. Final note: when you look at the cover, please remember that there's only one pickup on Sammy's guitar because there's only one way to rock.

Biography

Born: 13 October 1947 in Monterey, CA

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

After spending several years as the lead vocalist and rhythm guitarist for the mid-'70s hard rock band Montrose, Sammy Hagar began a solo career that produced several hits and made him an album rock favorite. Hagar became a true star once he joined Van Halen...
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The Essential Red Collection, Sammy Hagar
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