Personalities | Van Halen | Eighties | Rock

(Vocal/instrumental group, 1972–present)

Van Halen stepped out of California to define the US heavy metal scene for a decade. They boasted a dashing, tuneful frontman, Dave Lee Roth (vocals), a wizard guitarist in Eddie Van Halen and poppy but rocking tunes, as 1978’s debut Van Halen I proved. Eddie’s brother Alex (drums) and Michael Anthony (bass) completed this golden gang. Van Halen II (1979) consolidated their position, entering the US Top 10, and in 1983 Eddie provided the dazzling solo to Michael Jackson’s ‘Beat It’. But it was 1984’s 1984 and its attendant pop metal smash ‘Jump’ that promoted the band to the superstar stratum. Roth soon left for a solo career, and Sammy Hagar took over with no effect on chart placings, but a diminution in charisma. When Hagar left in 1996, Roth returned to record two new songs before Extreme’s Gary Cherone briefly filled the berth. A reunion tour with Roth took place in 2007 after Eddie’s successful battle with cancer, son Wolfgang playing bass.

Styles & Forms | Eighties | Rock
Personalities | Luther Vandross | Eighties | Rock

Source: The Definitive Illustrated Encyclopedia of Rock, general editor Michael Heatley


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