Van Halen is one of the most important hard rock bands to
ever grace a stage, due both to their popularity
(all but one of their albums have gone platinum) as well as
the massive influence of guitarist Eddie Van Halen, the man almost
singlehandedly rewriting the book on heavy guitar and influencing
virtually every guitarist to emerge in the eighties and beyond.
Discovered by none other than Gene Simmons in the mid-seventies,
the band quickly rose to stardom, highlighted
by the flashy guitarist
Eddie, the ultimate showman David Lee Roth, and the group's
uncanny knack for writing catchy tunes.
The band ruled the early to mid-eighties,
even surviving the acrimonious
departure of Roth, the initially controversial recruiting
of noted solo artist (and one-time
singer) Sammy Hagar ushering in a new era for the band.
Even as the band became less heavy (witness "Jump", one of the
band's biggest hit, but hardly their most metallic), fans continued
to support the group.
By the mid-nineties the luster had started to fade a bit, and
Hagar's departure marked
the second time their vocalist left under less than
Though Roth was at various times rumored to be returning, the
job eventually fell to former Extreme frontman Gary Cherone.
But the resulting album, Van Halen III, was a commercial and
critical failure, and with Cherone's hasty exit, the band went
quiet for some time as Eddie resolved personal issues.
Since then, the band has only sporadically played live (some shows
were done in 2004 with Hagar at the mic), and finally both Hagar
and longtime bassist Michael Anthony officially departed, the latter
position filled by Eddie's own son Wolfgang.
Finally, around 2011 the band began to awaken, with Roth back on
board, and 2012 marks a new beginning with a new album in February.