1984 – No. 1 Chart Toppers Pop Hit: “Jump,” Van Halen. The song is the first top 10 single for the group, which has already placed 11 songs on the Hot 100.
Van Halen is an American hard rock band formed in Pasadena, California in 1972. They enjoyed success from the release of their self titled debut album in 1978 until the late 1990s when various troubles overcame the band. As of 2007 Van Halen has sold more than 80 million albums worldwide and have had the most number one hits on the Billboard Mainstream Rock chart. According to the Recording Industry Association of America, Van Halen is the 19th best selling band/artist of all time with sales of over 56 million albums in the USA and is one of five rock bands that have had two albums sell more than 10 million copies in the USA.
In addition to being recognized for quality and success, the band is known for the drama surrounding the exits of former members. The (multiple) exits of singers Sammy Hagar and David Lee Roth were surrounded in controversy and mass press coverage with various contrasting press statements between them and the band. More recently, founding bassist Michael Anthony was kicked out of the band for controversial reasons. Following their 2004 concert tour the band was on a hiatus from the public until September 2006, new bassist Wolfgang Van Halen’s place was confirmed and Roth-reunion rumours began to re-surface coinciding with the band’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction on March 12, 2007. After years of speculation, Van Halen began a tour with Roth in late 2007 across North America, which has been extended into early 2008. An album is proposed to follow
David Lee Roth – lead vocals, acoustic guitar (1974–1985, 1996, 2006-Present)
Eddie Van Halen – guitar, acoustic guitar, keyboards, backing vocals (1972–present)
Wolfgang Van Halen – bass guitar, backing vocals (2006–present)
Alex Van Halen – drums, percussion, additional studio backing vocals (1972–present)
Mark Stone – bass guitar (1972–1974)
Michael Anthony – bass guitar, backing vocals, additional live keyboards (1974–2002, 2003-2005)
Sammy Hagar – lead vocals, guitar, live acoustic guitars (1985–1996, 2003–2005)
Mitch Malloy – lead vocals (1996)
Gary Cherone – lead vocals (1996–1999)
Influence on culture, music, and business
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The Van Halen album introduced the guitar world to the band’s signature “Brown sound,” a nickname given to the result of Eddie’s guitar/amp combination and technique. With Templeman’s production, this tone was carefully defined.
The song “Everybody Wants Some!!” appears in the movie Better Off Dead. While Lane Meyer (John Cusack) works in a burger restaurant wishing he were elsewhere, he imagines the food singing and dancing to the popular track via claymation. In the 1985 movie Back to the Future Marty McFly uses a portable cassette player to torture his father by playing Van Halen at excessive volume. The music was taken from Eddie’s demo tapes.
Van Halen pioneered the modern rock music tour with their use of the concert technical contract rider. Van Halen’s use of contract riders to specify their “wish list” was new, and established practices now used throughout the music industry. As one of the first major bands with a travelling stage show, Van Halen had extensive requirements including power availability and stage construction details. Many venues were not equipped to handle the requirements, resulting in damage to band equipment, once nearly killing a roadie. The band’s demands were not limited to technical issues: their now-infamous rider specified that a bowl of M&M candies, with all of the brown M&Ms removed, was to be placed in their dressing room. According to David Lee Roth, this was listed in the technical portion of the contract to check if venue staff were correctly honouring the contract as specified. If there was no bowl of M&Ms, or if there were brown M&M’s left in the bowl, then the band knew the contract was not being fulfilled entirely correctly and had to check every detail.
On Cartoon Network in the late 1990’s there was a series called The Justice Friends, a group of superheroes who exist in the universe of Dexter’s Laboratory. One of the main characters, Valhallen (a contraction for Valhalla and Van Halen), an axe-wielding Viking God of rock with Southern Californian mannerisms, is a melding of Norse God Thor and Eddie Van Halen. His axe is shaped like a guitar to re-enforce this.
Influential American punk trio The Minutemen recorded a 40-second version of “Ain’t Talkin’ ‘Bout Love” for their landmark double album Double Nickels on the Dime, though the arrangement was changed significantly to fit the time. Rapper Tone Loc used uncredited samples from “Jamie’s Cryin'” on his hit “Wild Thing,” but when asked about it later Alex Van Halen said “It was 1987, who knew?”. In 1989, 2 Live Crew sampled the riff of “Ain’t Talkin’ ‘Bout Love” for thir single “The Fuck Shop”. Dance music act Apollo 440 sampled the guitar intro from “Ain’t Talkin’ ‘Bout Love” for their 1997 single “Ain’t Talkin’ ‘Bout Dub”. Van Halen’s arrangement of the song “You Really Got Me” (performed by other artists) was featured in the video game Guitar Hero II.
Side projects and collaborations
Members of Van Halen have collaborated with ex-members numerous times, or even in each other’s side projects.
1967–1972: Eddie and Alex Van Halen begin learning instruments together, performing in various small venues. They then joined various “Top 40” cover bands.
1972–1973: Mammoth, the band which would become Van Halen rented a PA system from David Lee Roth.
In 1983 Eddie played guitar on Brian May’s Star Fleet Project album which also featured Alan Gratzer, Phil Chen and Fred Mandel.
1987: Eddie played bass on I Never Said Goodbye, Sammy Hagar’s 1987 solo album and was one of the album’s backing vocalists and producers. Eddie also contributed a small guitar part, though it was uncredited.
1987: Eddie played bass and Hagar sang/played guitar on the song ‘Winner Takes All’ for the Over the Top movie soundtrack
1991: David Lee Roth had Extreme (featuring future-Van Halen frontman Gary Cherone) as a support act on tour
1995: On the front cover of the band’s Balance album, future member Wolfgang Van Halen is pictured
1996: The instrumental track ‘Respect the Wind’, for the Twister movie was by Eddie and Alex Van Halen. This is Alex Van Halen’s only work outside of Van Halen, largely because he insists on only performing with his brother. Alex also played keyboards, usually Eddie’s role. Often considered a Van Halen song – it was not released with any contributions from Michael Anthony, or Sammy Hagar (whose exit from the band had yet to be announced)
2001: Anthony joined Hagar for a few of his concerts
2002: Hagar and Roth combined for the Song For Song, the Heavyweight Champs of Rock and Roll Tour, also known as the Sans Halen tour
2002: On the first and second of June, Anthony came onstage for several songs during Hagar’s set in the Hagar/Roth tour. He continued to appear periodically. Gary Cherone came on stage for a Boston date on August 28 during Sammy Hagar’s set, as did Anthony
2002 – 2003: Sammy Hagar and Michael Anthony were part of the Planet Us supergroup before leaving (and dissolving the band with them) for the 2004 Van Halen reunion tour
2003: Some of the recordings from Hagar and Anthony’s performances together in 2001 and 2002 were included on a new Sammy Hagar live album, Live: Hallelujah.
2004: Wolfgang joined his father on guitar in the 2004 reunion tour for some dates, before officially joining the band
2005–2006: Michael Anthony joined Sammy Hagar’s solo band at numerous live dates to jam with them during their set.
2006–2007: Sammy Hagar and Michael Anthony formed the Chickenfoot project with Red Hot Chili Peppers drummer Chad Smith though no music was released.
2006-present: Sammy Hagar and Michael Anthony’s ‘The Other Half’ tours. Gary Cherone appeared on occasion during the 2006 tour to perform too.
2007: Sammy Hagar and Michael Anthony performed ‘Why Can’t This Be Love?’ at Van Halen’s Rock ‘N’ Roll Hall of Fame induction, and spoke in several interviews together
2007–present: Vic Johnson, guitarist from Sammy Hagar’s solo band is in Michael Anthony’s new band – Mad Anthony Xpress. They are joining Sammy Hagar’s latest tour for dates when Anthony is taking part in The Other Half performances.