Van Halen III
The Van Halen brothers toyed with the idea of bringing back David Lee Roth. Roth sang on a few new cuts for Best of Van Halen, Vol. 1, so rumors flew that soon the original band would reunite. Yet nothing's easy in the Van Halen universe, and the band instead went with former Extreme vocalist Gary Cherone for Van Halen III. The result was general disappointment from the band's longtime fans and Van Halen's least successful album to date. Clearly, the stresses around the group affected its focus. The album is the safest of Van Halen's career, sounding like it was so intent on getting it right that it lost its funky side in the process. (Bassist Michael Anthony has said the album is like an Eddie Van Halen solo album, with Ed playing most of the parts.) The dry production from Eddie and Mike Post limits the album's power. That said, there are still moments here. "Without You" has tasty guitarwork. The acoustic piano ballad "How Many Say I" features Eddie on a rare lead vocal. "Fire in the Hole" captures the band's original growl.