Van Halen Biography

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Birth Place: Pasadena, California, United States
Years Active: 1972–present
Genres: Hard Rock, Heavy Metal


Van Halen is an American rock band formed in Pasadena, California in 1974. They have enjoyed success since the release of their debut album “Van Halen” (1978). To date, Van Halen has sold over 80 million albums worldwide and have the most number-one hits on the Billboard Mainstream Rock chart. During the 1980s they also had more Billboard Hot 100 hits than any other hard rock or heavy metal band. According to the RIAA, Van Halen is the 19th best-selling band/artist of all time with sales of over 56 million albums in the U.S. alone, and is one of five rock bands that have had two albums sell more than 10 million copies in the U.S. In 1999, the RIAA certified their debut album diamond for ten million in U.S. sales.

In addition to being recognized for success, the band is known for the drama surrounding the exits of former members. The multiple exits of both lead singers David Lee Roth and Sammy Hagar were surrounded in controversy and mass press coverage with various contrasting press statements between the former singers and the band. More recently, bassist Michael Anthony left the band for controversial reasons after 31 years with the band. Following their 2004 concert tour the band was on a hiatus from the public until September 2006, when new bassist Wolfgang Van Halen's place was confirmed and Roth-reunion rumors 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. The tour continued into 2008.

The band signed a contract with Warner Bros. Records in 1977, and in the following year released the album “Van Halen,” featuring charting singles "Runnin' with the Devil" and "You Really Got Me."

Over the next few years, the band alternated album releases — one per year between 1979 and 1982 — and touring to increasing commercial and critical acclaim and became one of the world's most successful and influential bands.

In 1984, Van Halen released “1984,” which peaked at number 2 on the Billboard 200 and had the band's sole number one hit on the Billboard Hot 100, "Jump". Other charting singles included “Panama” (#13) and “Hot for Teacher” (#56). During the tour promoting that album, Roth left the band due to artistic and personal tensions with Eddie.

To replace Roth, Eddie picked Sammy Hagar, formerly of Montrose and at that time a successful solo artist. Van Halen's first album with Hagar, 1986's “5150,” was the band's first number one on the Billboard 200 and featured the #3 hit "Why Can't This Be Love."

The three studio albums that succeeded, “OU812,” “For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge” and “Balance,” also topped the charts supported by the singles "When It's Love," "Right Now," and "Can't Stop Lovin' You." In 1996, Hagar left Van Halen amidst much tension with the rest of the band.

Roth rejoined briefly, and recorded two songs with the band for the 1996 compilation “Best of Volume I,” but Van Halen eventually settled on Gary Cherone, frontman of the then defunct Boston-based band Extreme. Cherone's sole release with the band was “Van Halen III,” released in 1998 to mixed reviews and diminishing sales, being the only Van Halen studio album not to get a Platinum RIAA certification.

Van Halen's last release was the 2004 compilation “Best of Both Worlds,” which featured three new songs with Hagar. The band is currently prepping a 12th studio album, with Roth on the vocals and Eddie's son Wolfgang Van Halen on bass, due to release in 2011.




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