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5150

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Editors’ Notes

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.

Biography

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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5150, Van Halen
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