Van Halen

In 1974 the band Van Halen was formed in Pasadena, California. Their debut and self-titled album launched to huge success in 1978 selling more than 10 million copies. Van Halen's success in the late 70s and into the 80s launched an era in rock music, knock off bands known as hair metal bands, playing a so-called candy rock that never reached the success, mastery or quality of work of the originators.
Van Halen

The band is made up of brothers Eddie and Alex Van Halen. Eddie, the innovative and incendiary guitarist, has made the band's sound instantly recognizable. Alex has been playing drums since the bands inception right up until present day. Bassist Michael Anthony, joined the brothers in 1974 and played with them until 2006 when Eddie's son, Wolfgang, took over.
Van Halen's history is defined by two distinct eras, The David Lee Roth era from 1974-1985, and the era of Sammy Hagar that ran from 1985 to 1996. Post 1996 was relatively insignificant for the band - a failed album with Gary Cherone as lead singer in 1998 was followed by a greatest hits package in 2004 entitled Best of Both Worlds which featured their two original vocalists and nothing from Cherone.

Van Halen was hugely successful in their early years, the David Lee Roth bookend albums with, his first (Van Halen) and then last (1984), sold 10 million apiece. The six albums with Roth sold a total of 34 million copies, while the four with Sammy Hagar on vocals sold 15 million. Hagar was not a bad addition to the band. It was however, a different band with him. With Roth they were Van Halen. With Sammy they were Van Hagar. With Cerone they were a joke. 'Gary who?' you might be asking. Consider Cerone to be the George Lazenby of rock music.

Van Halen Album Sales

With David Lee Roth:
Van Halen 1984
Van Halen (1978) 10.3 million copies sold
Van Halen II (1979) 5.7 million
Women and Children First (1980) 4.3 million
Fair Warning (1981) 3.4 million
Diver Down (1982) 4 million
1984 (1984) 10 million

With Sammy Hagar:
5150 (1986) 6 million
OU812 (1988) 4 million
For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge (1991) 3 million
Balance (1995) 2 million

With Gary Cerone:
Van Halen III (1998) 600k

While not the best selling of their albums, years later Diver Down is many a fan's favourite VH record. Filled with five covers and seven originals, as many as six tracks were released as singles.

Van Halen OU812
5150, named after Eddie's home studio, was Hagar's first recording with the band and their third best selling album of all time. The album featured some hard rick tunes but also signified a change of paths for the group as the disc contained love songs and ballads. Hagar's second foray with the band, OU812 provided such hits as When It's Love and Finish What You Started, but did not have the impact of the earlier release. The debate of Roth vs Hagar was quickly put to rest. While with Hagar the band published some top 40 hits, with Roth, they became Rock Gods. The band's earlier works with Roth are today considered classics. Sales continued to dwindle with Hagar's third album on the mic. The band took a hiatus from the studio for four years. Following Balance the band put together one more studio album.

Best Van Halen Songs (in order of release date)

Runnin' With The Devil - Van Halen
Jamie's Cryin' - Van Halen
Dance the Night Away - Van Halen II
And The Cradle Will Rock... - Women and Children First
Jump - 1984
I'll Wait - 1984
Panama - 1984
Hot For Teacher - 1984
(Oh) Pretty Woman - Diver Down
Why Can't This Be Love - 5150

What is your favourite Van Halen Album? Song? Video?
Van Halen made their mark early on with radio airplay. Their albums Diver Down and 1984 took full advantage of the early MTV days and the fledgling Much Music, promoting the band to their best sales in years. Amongst their most renowned videos was 'Hot for Teacher' from 1984. The theme of the students lusting after their teacher, appealed to a new generation of Van Halen fans who were captivated by the video. The David Lee Roth directed video 'Hot for Teacher' received heavy airplay on MTV.

In 1988 the band released Finish What Ya Started from the album OU812. A good song, not quite amongst their ten best. The video itself was noticed perhaps for the incredibly beautiful women. The acoustic guitars and vocals set it apart from the usual Van Halen fair. Considering I watched the video for the third time this week, perhaps it is all about the hot women.

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