Sammy Hagar on Writing This VAN HALEN 80s Hidden Gem with Eddie Van Halen | Professor of Rock

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In 1986 Van Halen released their first album with new lead singer Sammy Hagar. 5150 became the band’s first number one album in the US and included three top 25 hits. It also contained a mind blowing rocker, Best of Both Worlds was a perfect pairing of Eddie’s guitar and Sammy’s voice that should’ve been a massive hit. Next up the story of this Van Halen classic with commentary by Sammy Hagar.

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1986 was another golden year in the wondrous decade of the eighties. IT was the year of big singles like Say You Say Me from Lionel Richie, Kyrie by Mr. Mister and Glory of Love by Peter Cetera as well as English artists who conquered the US charts like Pet Shop Boys with West End Girls, Alive, Simply Red with Holding back the years and The Human League with Human.

There were the big life changing albums like Paul Simon’s Graceland, Peter Gabriel’s So, The Smiths the Queen is Dead, Black Celebration by Depeche Mode and of course the pop explosion of Janet Jackson Control, Madonna True Blue and Whitney Houston’s debut continued to climb. the Top Gun soundtrack heated up in the summer. and Van Halen followed up their massively successful album `1984 with a new record. With the album 1984, Van Halen just missed the Number one spot because of Michael Jackson Thriller’s dominance into the year 1984.

Lead David Lee Roth left to pursue a solo career and Van Halen started looking for a new singer. We’ve covered that in depth in previous videos as Eddie considered a few different paths to go forward but in the end it was rightfully the Red Rocker, Sammy Hagar who became the new voice. The first time Sammy went down to meet with the band, He had cut off all of his hair as he had just come off his solo VOA tour. Alex Van Halen took one look at this and said and I quote: You look like somebody put a donut on your head and cut it off.” End of quote .,

As sammy would relate in his book, Red. The first time he saw alex after that comment, Alex was drunk as a skunk, he was just pounding a whole case of malt liquor. He would pass out a couple of times a day, wake up and then shot gun two of three beers, Eddie would too along with lighting up cigs. It was the rock and roll life. Eddie lived in a pretty modest house and had just converted the garage into the studio that he would deem 5150 after the police code for picking up a crazy person. According to Sammy they were recording through a homemade board that could have come out of a crackerjack box that was built by engineer don landed. Landee of course could make the board sound brilliant. Sammy would say that the studio smelt like a bar.

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