About Van Halen
In the late ’70s, hard rock was largely the domain of leather-clad metal aficionados and gruff growlers—until Van Halen came along to crash the party. Guitarist Eddie Van Halen and his drummer brother, Alex, initially started playing music together in the mid-’60s and graduated from gigs at backyard parties to shows in Hollywood, which led to a record deal and the band’s 1978 self-titled debut. Eddie wielded virtuosic guitar technique (the use of finger-tapping on the instrumental “Eruption”) and a melodic, fluid playing style (“Runnin’ with the Devil,” the riff-heavy “Ain’t Talkin’ ’Bout Love”) that complemented the vocal razzmatazz offered by the band’s frontman: David Lee Roth. Diamond Dave’s over-the-top stage demeanor and vocal calisthenics gave the band a theatrical edge—later abetted by playful videos—that revolutionized rock well into the ’80s. The original lineup’s popularity peaked with the keyboard-iced 1984 No. 1 hit “Jump” and the rock blockbuster 1984; Roth parted ways with the group soon after for a solo career. Former Montrose frontman Sammy Hagar stepped in and immediately guided Van Halen to four No. 1 albums in a row, starting with 1986’s 5150. After his successful commercial run, Hagar ceded the vocalist position to Extreme’s Gary Cherone in the late ’90s, but Roth eventually returned to the fold—leading to Van Halen releasing the well-received A Different Kind of Truth in 2012 and embarking on several major tours. Eddie Van Halen died in 2020 after a battle with cancer.