Sammy Hagar’s Impact on Van Halen: According to Sammy Hagar
Written by Logan Phillips on May 23, 2023
After David Lee Roth‘s departure from Van Halen in the mid-1980s, Sammy Hagar stepped in to fill the void, and according to him, he did more than just “steady the ship.” The singer believes that he dramatically improved Eddie Van Halen’s group, bringing a wealth of experience and expertise to the band.
In an interview with Classic Rock, Hagar confidently stated, “When I joined Van Halen in 1985, I already had more experience under my belt than they had.” He continued “They had been together for seven years making records, while I had been around for ten years prior to that.”
While Hagar had made a name for himself as the frontman of Montrose in the mid-70s, it is worth noting that Hagar at that point in time was not as popular as he had been years prior, and it was actually Eddie Van Halen’s car mechanic who recommended they audition Hagar.
Hagar says that the band was in awe of him, thinking, “Wow, here’s a professional”. He continues “I knew how to sing, I knew what Eddie was playing, I knew which keys things were in, and the arrangement of the music. Eddie really got off on that, because he never had a musical partner with Dave.” He recalls that their fandom of him spread throughout the extended family, with Eddie’s dad Jan Van Halen telling his son, “This guy sings like I play clarinet”.
Whether or not you were a fan of Van-Hagar, the stats do back up Sammy’s bragging. Because the next four Hagar-fronted Van Halen records all became huge hits, going to Number One and becoming multi-platinum successes.