Craig Allen says: ‘Meet Van Halen’
Keep listening all weekend, to win tickets to see Van Halen in concert at PNC Bank Arts Center on August 9th!
Join "NJ Insiders" here at nj1015.com to get the list of songs, and times that we'll play them! Good luck!
Read on, to learn the Van Halen story!!
Born in Nijmegen, Netherlands, Edward (1-26-57) and Alex Van Halen (5-8-55) are the sons of musician Jan Van Halen.
Young Eddie first studied classical piano, although he never fully mastered reading sheet music!
Eventually, the brothers started playing music together, with Eddie on drums, and Alex on the guitar. While Eddie was delivering newspapers to pay for his new drum set, Alex would sneak over to play them. Soon, Eddie found out...and, out of frustration, he told Alex to play drums, and he would play Alex's guitar!
The brothers formed their first band, "Broken Combs" in the early 1970's, and gained local popularity playing backyard parties. The would go through several name changes (including "Genesis"), before calling themselves Van Halen, in 1974.
Eddie was the lead vocalist and guitarist. Alex played drums. Mark Stone played bass. The band initially rented a sound system from David Lee Roth...but soon decided to save money, by making Roth the lead vocalist (even though his earlier auditions hadn't gone well). In 1974, Stone was out, and Michael Anthony, from the local Pasadena band "Snake" was in. He would play bass, and add backing vocals.
Van Halen would play the clubs in Pasadena and Hollywood...to increasingly large crowds. Before each show, the band would hand out fliers at the local high schools!
Van Halen's first big break happened when they were hired to play at "Gazzarri's," a (formerly) influential club along the Sunset Strip.
Soon, the band recorded their first demo tape, at the now-gone "Cherokee Studios."
Van Halen would go on to become a major player in the Los Angeles music scene of the mid 1970's, playing at clubs like the famous "Whiskey a Go Go."
According to a January 1977 newspaper article, Gene Simmons from "KISS" saw the band, and produced a Van Halen demo tape. Simmons wanted the band's name changed to "Daddy Longlegs," but the guys said NO. Simmons cut ties with Van Halen once he took the demo to KISS management, which stated that Van Halen had "no chance of making it."
How wrong could they be?!
In mid-1977, Mo Ostin and Ted Templeman of Warner Brothers Records saw Van Halen at the "Starwood" in Hollywood. They offered the guys a recording contract.
"Van Halen," their debut album was recorded at "Sunset Sound Recorders" studio from mid-September to early October 1977. Guitar parts took a week to lay down, vocals an aditional two weeks. Interestingly, minor mistakes were left on the record, and a simple recording setup was used, to give the album a "live" feel.
"Van Halen" would reach #19 on the Billboard album chart, one of rock's best commercial debuts!
The first single, "You Really Got Me,"
...cracked the top 40 in 1978, landing at #36.
The Album Rock radio staple, "Running With The Devil" was next (#84/1978).
Van Halen followed up their debut album by spending nearly a year on the road, touring with, and opening for, Black Sabbath! The tour highlighted Eddie's guitar prowess, and David Lee Roth's on-stage antics...which would later cause tension...
In late 1978, Van Halen returned to the studio...
...recording "Van Halen II."
"Dance The Night Away" would be the band's first major hit (#15/1979).
Check out "Dance The Night Away" live...enjoy the pre-song footage!
"Beautiful Girls" (#84/1979) would be the followup single.
With the dawning of the "Big 80's," Van Halen would alternate touring with album releases.
Their "Women And Children First" album came out in 1980...
"And The Cradle Will Rock" (#55/1980) further cemented Van Halen's rock status.
During the 1981 recording of the "Fair Warning" album...
...tensions between Eddie and David Lee Roth began to escalate...with Eddie wanting more serious and complex music, and Roth's desire for pop music.
The "Diver Down" album fared better, upon hitting the record store shelves in 1982.
A cover version of the 1960's Roy Orbison classic...
"(Oh) Pretty Woman" would be Van Halen's biggest hit to date, landing at #12 in early 1982.
"Dancing In The Street," another cover song, would stop its chart climb at #38 (1982).
Check out "Dancing In The Street," live in 1983!
At this time, Van Halen earned a spot in the "Guiness Book Of World Records," for the highest paid single appearance by a band: $1.5 million for a 90 minute set at the 1983 "US Festival."
1984 brought the release of the Van Halen (smash) album, "1984."
Released on January 9, 1984, the album was Van Halen's commercial peak!
Recorded at Eddie's new "5150 Studios," 1984 featured more keybaords than previous Van Halen offerings....and it offered up an impressive string of HITS!
"Jump" would be the band's biggest hit...reaching #1! (1984). It also nabbed the guys a Grammy nomination.
"I'll Wait" (#13/1984).
"Hot For Teacher" (#56/1984).
The radio/chart hits off "1984" were big VIDEO hits on MTV...Praised by fans and music critics alike, "1984" would be the #2 Billboard album of the year (Behind Michael Jackson's "Thriller").
Despite the commercial success, artistic and personal tensions reached a fever pitch during the 1984 Tour!
Reasons for the band breakup vary according to who you ask...but...it came down to the band's sound and image: Roth was upset about Eddie playing music outside the band, without checking with the guys. Also, drug abuse...
Meanwhile, David Lee Roth was launching a successful solo career.
His "Crazy From The Heat" EP spawned two chart hits:
"California Girls," a remake of the Beach Boys classic went to #3 (1985).
The standard "Just A Gigolo" just missed the top-10 (#12/1985).
MGM had also offered Roth a $20 million deal for a "Crazy From The Heat" script. Roth had hoped that Van Halen would play on the soundtrack. Ultimately, the movie deal fell through when the movie studio was sold in 1986.
Back to the fractured Van Halen:
Did you know that Eddie invited Patty Smyth of "Scandal" to replace David Lee Roth? She declined the invite.
Eddie was then introduced to Sammy Hagar.
Formerly with the 1970's band "Montrose," Hagar was coming off a successful year...
His hit single "I Can't Drive 55" (#26 /1984) was produced by Ted Templeman, who had produced all the Van Halen albums up to that time.
Sammy Hagar agreed to join, and also serve as a rhythm guitarist on stage, to add to the Van Halen sound.
The 1986 Van Halen album "5150" was a huge hit...becoming the band's first #1 album!
"Why Can't This Be Love" (#3/1986).
"Love Walks In" (#22/1986).
To further introduce the new era for the band, a new Van Halen logo was put on the album cover. The new logo retained elements of the original, but now the lines extending from either side of 'VH' wrapped around, and formed a ring.
The "1986 Tour" was undertaken to support the "5150" album. Concert footage was released on VHS tape under the title "Live Without A Net."
Sammy Hagar wanted to minimize the number of earlier pre-Hagar Van Halen songs...other than the best-known. This concert practice would continue, as the Sammy Hagar-era songs continued to grow.
All four studio albums during this period went to #1 on the Billboard album charts!
From the 1988 album "0U812," "When It's Love" would peak at #5 on the singles chart (1988).
In addition, Van Halen would earn two Grammy nominations...winning the 1992 Grammy for "Best Hard Rock Performance with Vocal" for the "For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge" album.
In 1995, Van Halen released the "Balance" album, and supported Jersey's own Bon Jovi on their European tour! The live Van Halen album "Live: Right Here, Right Now" hit the record stores.
During the recording of songs for the movie "Twister," tensions between the Van Halen brothers and Sammy Hagar boiled over. Hagar left on Father's Day, 1996. Without going into all the sordid details, Hagar says that he was fired, Van Halen says that he quit.
At this time, David Lee Roth had called Eddie Van Halen to discuss what songs would be included on a planned "Best Of" compilation. They got along well, and Roth was invited into the studio. Two new songs were added to the re-releases, and the new songs were released as singles.
On September 4, 1996, all four original members of Van Halen appeared onstage at the "MTV Video Music Awards." This fueled speculation that a reunon was in the works.
It was not meant to be.
A few weeks after the MTV appearance, Roth released a statement in which he apologized to the media and the fans, stating that he was an unwitting participant in a publicity stunt by Van Halen. The next day, Eddie and Alex released their own statement, claiming they had been completely honest with Roth, and had never suggested he was guaranteed to be the next lead singer.
Gary Cherone, from the band "Extreme" was the next Van Halen lead singer.
"Van Halen III" was the next album. It fared poorly in comparison to previous albums...
"Without You" was the first single.
"The III Tour" saw Van Halen touring Australia and New Zealand for the first time.
In early 1999, Van Halen returned to the studio, and began recording a new album...but the sessions were left unfinished, with Cherone's departure in November 1999. Eddie says that there was no bad blood, and that the record label had forced him to make the change.
As with Hagar's departure, Cherone's exit led to new speculation concerning David Lee Roth.
But, in fact, Van Halen would go on hiatus...there were no official statements from Van Halen until 2004!
In March 2004, Van Halen announced that Sammy Hagar would reunite with the band...and that a two CD Greatest Hits package was coming...along with a summer tour!
"The Summer 2004 Tour" grossed $55 million. This made Van Halen one of the top-10 grossing tours of the year. Professional reviews of the tour, however, were mixed. In some shows, Eddie's son Wolfgang came on stage to jam with his dad. There were also reports of Eddie being drunk...and fan videos surfaced showing "poor playing."
After the tour, things broke down again. Both Hagar and Michael Anthony stated that Eddie's alcohol problems had affected the whole band. Hagar added that he was "done with Van Halen," and he returned to his solo band. Van Halen would fade from view again...temporarily.
In late 2006, Eddie broke his long silence, saying that he was willing to reunite with David Lee Roth, A few weeks later, stating that Roth had been directly invited back. Roth countered that he had not talked to Eddie in two years, and that a reunion with Van Halen could result in a "Jerry Springer-style fight."
At this time, it was confirmed that Michael Anthony had left the band, and that Eddie's son, Wolfgang, was taking his place...
On March 12, 2007, Van Halen was inducted into the "Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame."
The Van Halen brothers, Anthony, Hagar, and Roth were inducted, though only Hagar and Anthony appeared at the induction ceremony, on behalf of the group. At a post-induction press conference, Sammy Hagar said he would love to work with Van Halen again, but that the Van Halens should tour with Roth first!
Shortly afterwards, Eddie Van Halen completed rehab...
Then, a tour was announced! The "Fall 2007 Tour" was extended into 2008...although it was interrupted, when Eddie went back into rehab. According to the band, the reunion tour with Roth was the highest grossing in the band's history, taking in almost 93 million dollars.
In 2011, Van Halen entered the studio..."A Different Kind Of Truth" was released on February 7, 2012. It was Van Halen's first studio album since 1998, and the first with Roth on lead vocals since 1984!
"Tatoo" was the first single.
Despite an average ticket price of approximately $150, Van Halen's "A Different Kind Of Truth Tour" was a commercial success, largely selling out its U.S. arena shows. Jersey's own "Kool & The Gang" were the opening act!
On April 20, 2013, the Roth-fronted Van Halen played its first show outside of North America since 1984, and their first in Australia since 1998. Several shows across Japan followed.
March 24th of this year, brought news of the band's 39-date tour..the NJ concert that you are winning tickets to see, this weekend!
In the April issue of "Rolling Stone," Eddie Van Halen states that the band will "probably hunker down and do a studio record" after the current tour wraps!
To check out more Van Halen tour dates, and Van Halen news, click here to visit their official website.
Click here to visit Van Halen's facebook site.
Enjoy Van Halen LIVE on "Jimmy Kimmel" earlier this year!