Van Halen

Formed in Pasadena in 1975 with the original lineup of brothers Alex and Eddie Van Halen, blonde bombshell vocalist Dave Lee Roth and bassist Michael Anthony, the quartet originally played under the name Mammoth, changing to Van Halen in time for their self-titled debut in 1977. Their California cool look, masterfully pulled off by shirtless Roth, set the band apart from the leather and tight panted rock schlock of the time, making a name for itself with its inventive sound and innovative guitar work. Van Halen, the band’s 1978 debut album, heralded the arrival of a hard rock band that was destined to change the musical landscape. In under two minutes, the instrumental “Eruption” introduced guitarist Eddie Van Halen’s unique skill as an innovative guitarist. Van Halen II (1979) gave the band its first hit single “Dance the Night Away” and further albums consolidated their standing, until 1982's Diver Down broadened their appeal. Their 1984 album, released in the same year, featured the Number 1 single “Jump”, bringing success on both sides of the Atlantic and the album peaked at Number 2 in the Billboard charts, just below Michael Jackson's Thriller. Roth quit the band in 1985 for a solo career. The remaining members of Van Halen recruited former Montrose vocalist Sammy Hagar as Roth’s replacement. Between 1985 and 1996, this line-up of Van Halen continued to release hit singles (“Dreams”, “Why Can’t This Be Love”, “Finish What Ya Started”) and albums, including 5150, OU812, and For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge. Hagar left the band in 1996 and was replaced by former Extreme vocalist Gary Cherone. After one studio album, Van Halen III, Cherone and Anthony left the band and the group was put on ice. After short reunions with Roth and Hagar over the next decade, Van Halen finally brought Roth back into the band full-time and released the album A Different Kind of Truth in 2012. The band toured to promote the album and would make sporadic live shows over the next few years, but a return to the studio and the stage was always shrouded in mystery. False rumors would surface every year in regards to the band’s future. However, those rumors were also mixed with similar stories about Eddie Van Halen’s health. Sadly, the rumors of his health proved to be accurate: Eddie Van Halen died of lung cancer on October 6, 2020. He was 65 years old.

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Stations Featuring Van Halen

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