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Van Halen is a classic rock band. Any other fans?



Van Halen is an American rock band formed in the 1970s. From their debut album, Van Halen (1978) they became an influential band in American hard rock, releasing eleven studio albums. selling more than 80 million albums worldwide earning the band the Guinness Book of World Records title for the most number one hits on the Billboard Mainstream Rock List. According to the Recording Industry Association of America Van Halen is #19 on the list of Top Selling Artists of all time (having sold more than 56 million albums in the U.S.) and is one of only five rock groups that have had two albums sell more than 10 million copies in the U.S. The band and its best known former members were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on March 12, 2007.

In addition to being recognized for their artistic contributions and success, the band is known for drama surrounding the lead singer spot. Although the core instrumentalists haven't changed (Eddie Van Halen, Alex Van Halen and until 2006, Michael Anthony on bass), the band has recorded studio albums with three different lead vocalists: David Lee Roth, Sammy Hagar and Gary Cherone. Each vocalist has departed (at least once) under cloudy circumstances. More recently Michael Anthony was replaced in the band by Eddie Van Halen's son Wolfgang, but this new lineup is not yet known to have performed or recorded.

Following their 2004 concert tour the band was on hiatus until September 2006, and since then the status of the band has been discussed by its individual members numerous times, though current details are vague. Other than three new songs in 2004, the band has released no new material since their album Van Halen III was released in 1998.


With David Lee Roth (1972 - 1985)

As Mammoth

In 1972, the Van Halen brothers formed a three-piece band called Mammoth, with Eddie Van Halen as lead vocalist and guitarist, Alex Van Halen on drums, and Mark Stone on bass. They rented a sound system from David Lee Roth, but decided they could save money by letting Roth and his P.A. system into the band. He had previously auditioned for them unsuccessfully. The band decided Stone did not suit them, and Michael Anthony was called over to David Lee Roth's father's basement (where the band rehearsed)) to see how he compared. Anthony, the bassist and frontman of the band "Snake," had seen Mammoth performing at a festival. Eddie, Alex, and Anthony jammed late into the night and hired Anthony as the band's new bassist/backup vocalist.

The band discovered that the name "Mammoth" was already being used, and renamed themselves "Van Halen." The newly-renamed band started playing clubs in Pasadena and Hollywood more frequently and to growing audiences, working hard to increase their popularity through self promotion: before each gig they would pass out flyers at local high schools in Pasadena and the vicinity. They quickly developed a cult following, and Van Halen fans soon became notorious for being troublesome. The band was denied access to an audition for a club in Pasadena because their fans were too rowdy[citation needed]. Also, when the police were called to a backyard barbecue where Van Halen were performing, a mob of Van Halen fans allegedly flipped over several police cars and handcuffed one officer to a tree

The band became a staple act on California's Sunset Strip during the mid-1970s, consistently playing at well known clubs such as the Whisky a Go Go. In 1977 Gene Simmons, of the rock band Kiss, saw one of Van Halen's shows and financed their first demo tape, flying the band to Electric Ladyland studios in New York City to record "House of Pain" and "Runnin' With the Devil". Eddie disliked his playing on the demo, because he wasn't using his own equipment and had to overdub guitar parts. Simmons wanted to change the band's name to "Daddy Longlegs" and had designed cover art (a daddy longlegs wearing a top hat), but the band stuck with Van Halen. Simmons opted to forgo any more involvement with the band, and returned to Kiss.

Later in 1977, Mo Ostin and Ted Templeman of Warner Bros. records saw Van Halen performing at the Starwood in Hollywood. Although the audience was small, the two were so impressed with Van Halen that within a week they offered them a recording contract, and in October of that year, Van Halen entered Sunset Sound Recorders studio and recorded their eponymous first album.

All of the tracks were laid down very quickly (about three weeks), with little over-dubbing or double tracking. Minor mistakes were left on the record and a very simple musical set-up was used to give the record an almost-live feel. After adding vocals, the album was essentially ready to be mixed. Despite the simple studio set-up, Van Halen featured innovations in musical technique, production, and arrangement.

Career Breakthrough

Cover from 1978 debut album Van Halen with one of the earliest pictures of the band in their original lineup as Van Halen (clockwise from upper left corner: Eddie Van Halen, David Lee Roth, Michael Anthony, and Alex Van Halen). In the centre is the band's distinctive original logo, used until 1986.Entitled Van Halen, the album was released to immediate commercial success, reaching #12 on the Billboard pop music charts, one of rock's most commercially successful debuts. It is a highly regarded hard rock album. While it included original songs by the band, such as "Ain't Talkin' 'Bout Love," "Eruption," and "Runnin' With The Devil," the album also featured covers of the Kinks' song "You Really Got Me" and John Brim's "Ice Cream Man." The band toured for nearly a year on the basis of Van Halen, opening for Black Sabbath and establishing a reputation as a talented and exciting live band. The band's early chemistry came out of a contrast between Eddie Van Halen's technical wizardry and David Lee Roth's flamboyant antics, a rivalry that would later erupt into full-blown conflict. They returned to the studio in 1979 for Van Halen II, similar in style to their debut. This album yielded the band's first hit single, "Dance The Night Away."

Over the next four years, the band alternated album releases and touring to increasing commercial and critical acclaim. By 1980, Van Halen was perhaps one of the world's most successful and influential hard rock band. Their party-loving spirit and hard rocking anthem-like sound made them popular with teenagers. Women and Children First was released in 1980, further cementing Van Halen's status with popular songs like "And The Cradle Will Rock" and "Everybody Wants Some!!". Despite success, in 1981, during the recording of their fourth album, Fair Warning, tensions began to rise. Eddie Van Halen's desire to experiment with more serious songs and complex structures was at odds with Roth's pop instincts and increasingly cartoonish, irony-laden persona. Although Roth (and producer Templeman) acquiesced to Eddie's wishes, Fair Warning was a relative sales disappointment, with no hit singles.

The following album, Diver Down, performed better, and at the end of the supporting tour the band earned a spot in the Guinness Book of World Records for the highest-paid single appearance of a music group: their inebriated, $1 million, 90-minute set at the US Festival in 1983.

Departure of Roth

Cover art for the hit single "Panama" (1984) - one of the last photos of the 1974 - 1985 lineupVan Halen's next album, 1984 (released on January 1, 1984) was their commercial pinnacle, and many claim their artistic apex as well. Recorded at Eddie Van Halen's newly-built 5150 Studios, it featured keyboards, previously heard only rarely, now fully integrated into the band's sound. The album's lead single, "Jump", featured a bouncy synthesizer hook and anthemic lyrics, and became the band's first and only #1 pop hit, garnering them their first Grammy nomination.[citation needed]. Other hit singles included "Panama," "I'll Wait," and "Hot For Teacher," and many of the songs became major music videos on the increasingly popular MTV television channel, especially "Hot For Teacher," which featured a skimpily dressed model playing the part of an elementary-school teacher and school-age boys portraying younger versions of the band members. The album 1984 was praised by critics and fans alike[citation needed], peaking at #2 on the Billboard charts behind Thriller by Michael Jackson (Eddie Van Halen played the guitar solo on the hit song "Beat It," on that album).

However, the album was also a breaking point for the original line-up. In the midst of their greatest commercial success and tour, the artistic and personal tensions among the musicians reached a breaking point. Roth was upset about Eddie playing music outside of Van Halen and Eddie sick of Roth's flamboyant behavior and cartoonish stage persona. Roth exited the band on April 1, 1985.

With Sammy Hagar (1985 - 1996)

Cover art for the hit single "Love Walks In" (1986) at start of Hagar's tenure with Van HalenEddie Van Halen first offered the lead singer position to Patty Smyth of Scandal, who turned it down. The band was then introduced to singer/guitarist/song-writer Sammy Hagar, formerly of the 1970s band Montrose, and at that time a solo artist coming off a very successful year (his 1984 album VOA had yielded the hit single "I Can't Drive 55'"). Hagar agreed to join the band. The 1986 Van Halen album 5150 was an immediate hit, becoming the band's first #1 album on the Billboard charts, driven by the keyboard-dominated singles "Why Can't This Be Love?", "Dreams" and "Love Walks In." The album included diverse songs ranging from the near thrash of "Get Up" and party rock of "Summer Nights" and "Good Enough," to the more introspective "Best Of Both Worlds" and a guitar heavy title track. 5150 is generally considered the strongest album of the "Hagar era."

The new Van Halen logo arrived in 1986 and was the logo until March 2007, when the official website's logo reverted to the band's classic logo.During Hagar's tenure, the band established a musical formula that proved commercially successful in the United States. Hagar's style enabled Van Halen to become accessible to a wider audience, with lyrics that were more conventional and refined. Eddie's keyboard work brought a wider variety of sonic textures within each song, and the production was altered toward the pop side, and the songs became longer: During the Roth era, Van Halen songs rarely stretched beyond three and a half minutes, and some albums struggled to cross the thirty minute mark. With Hagar, some songs exceeded five minutes in length. The result was markedly different from the hard charging, rollicking riffs of the group's earlier work. The mix of pop and hard rock styles created a new sound for Van Halen.

All four studio albums produced during this period reached #1 on the Billboard pop music charts. Also during this time, 17 singles breached the top 12 of the mainstream rock tracks chart. In addition, Van Halen was nominated for two Grammy Awards, winning the 1991 Best Hard Rock Performance with Vocal award for the album For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge. Van Halen continued to enjoy tremendous popular success throughout the mid-90's, while many other trends and bands fell from favor, overtaken by anti-establishment "Grunge Music." In 1995 Van Halen surprised many fans by supporting Bon Jovi on their European summer stadium tour.

The band's commercial success and new "Van Hagar" sound did little to woo a small contingent of fans that still held a strong resentment over Roth's departure and refused to embrace Hagar. Throughout the era, when questioned about ever working with Roth again, Eddie repeatedly said he was happier with Hagar at the helm and that "Roth was not coming back."

Departure of Hagar

Van Halen with Sammy Hagar (circa 1995, not long before he left)During the recording of their contribution to the film Twister, escalating tension between Hagar and the Van Halen brothers boiled over publicly as Hagar departed on Father's Day, 1996. Hagar claimed that he was fired; Eddie Van Halen claimed that Hagar quit. The media storm surrounding the dramatic exit of Hagar helped him to immediately restart his solo career. However, the publicity wasn't helpful for Van Halen, only serving to shine a bright light on the vacant lead singer spot. The commercial success that Van Halen reached with Sammy Hagar set high expectations, and fans everywhere were watching and waiting for the band's next move.

Semi-Reunion with Roth (1996)

Soon after Hagar's departure, David Lee Roth re-entered the studio with the Van Halen brothers, Michael Anthony, and producer Glen Ballard. Two songs from those sessions were added to the band's Greatest Hits album and released as singles to help promote it, This helped to bring it to #1 on the US pop charts. However unknown to Roth, Eddie and Alex were still auditioning singers secretly.

David Lee Roth with Van Halen at the MTV Video Music Awards 1996By September, David Lee Roth and the rest of the band were asked to present an award at the 1996 MTV Video Music Awards. On September 4, 1996, the four original members of Van Halen made their first public appearance together as Van Halen in over eleven years, presenting an award at the MTV Video Music Awards.

Second Departure of Roth

The band's appearance on the 1996 MTV Video Music Awards was greeted with a standing ovation, and fuelled speculation of a reunion. However, old wounds were reopened; while doing backstage interviews with the media, Roth told Eddie not to talk about personal issues such as Eddie's hip replacement. According to Eddie, Roth was rude and self-centred, causing another fallout. Several weeks after the awards show, it was discovered that Roth would not reunite with Van Halen. At this time, Roth released a media statement where he apologized to the media and the fans, stating that he was an unwitting participant in a publicity stunt by the Van Halens and Ray Daniels (their manager). The next day, Eddie and Alex Van Halen released their own statement, stressing that they were completely honest with Roth and never led him to believe that he was guaranteed to be the next lead singer.

With Gary Cherone (1997 - 1999)

The band recruited Gary Cherone, the frontman of the defunct Boston-based band Extreme. The result of their collaboration was the experimental Van Halen III. Many songs were longer and more ethereal ("Once"), more thought-provoking ("How Many Say I," with Eddie on vocals). These changes alienated

Van Halen with Gary Cheronemany fans who preferred the band's older rock while failing to attract new fans. Sales were lackluster by the band's standards — yet the VHIII album peaked at #4 on the US charts (it was Gold certified), and produced a hit, "Without You". No tracks from the album ever appeared on the pop music charts. The song "Fire in the Hole" appeared on the Lethal Weapon 4 soundtrack. Also in 1998 Eddie Van Halen performed solo guitar work in a song on The Legend of 1900 soundtrack with Roger Waters (Pink Floyd) on vocals.

Following a poorly attended but well received and widespread tour, Van Halen returned to the studio. In early 1999, the band started work on the follow up to III, rumoured to be called Love Again. Working titles of demo tracks included "Left for Dead," "River Wide," "Say Uncle," "You Wear it Well," "More Than Yesterday," "I Don't Miss You...Much," "Love Divine," and "From Here, Where Do We Go?".

Departure of Cherone

The new Van Halen album was unfinished when Cherone left amicably in November 1999. Citing musical differences, it is also likely III's sales and critical reception had an impact too. Touring with Cherone, regardless of his charisma, had proven disappointing in terms of attendance also. Unlike the previous two singers, there was no bad blood between him and the band and they remained in contact. Speculation about the return of Roth, as when Hagar left, returned.

Without a singer: Four years of silence (2000 - 2004)

From 2000 to early 2004, no official statements were made by Van Halen and no music released. However, information about members, past and present, trickled in. The Van Halen brothers continued writing at 5150 studios, Gary Cherone recorded an album and toured with new band Tribe of Judah. Hagar and Roth continued their careers.

On July 4, 2004, Roth performed with the Boston Pops at Boston's annual Pops Goes the Fourth celebration. Sammy Hagar remained active, releasing five albums and creating his own merchandising brand Cabo Wabo, which lends its name to his line of tequila, as well as his franchise of cantinas. He reunited with Montrose in 2003 and 2005 for a few performances. Hagar maintained contact with Michael Anthony, often playing with him. Despite quietness within Van Halen, Anthony stayed busy with merchandising projects (such as his signature Yamaha bass) and set up a website. He became involved with the annual music industry NAMM Show.

Eddie Van Halen had hip surgery in 1999, but recovered. In 2000, the band worked in secret with David Lee Roth at 5150, writing new music, before falling out again. Eddie kept quiet, but was at the LAPD charity golf tournament during May 2001. He gave an interview with Maximum Golf Magazine in July 2001. Little news followed, and any band progress would have been interrupted on October 15, 2001, when Eddie and his wife of 21 years, actress Valerie Bertinelli, separated (though the couple only filed for divorce on December 8, 2005). In November 2001, Anthony claimed Roth had been working with the band again for a few months, but lawyers had shut it down. Strangely, Anthony later denied this statement. More positively, Eddie successfully underwent cancer treatment and announced his recovery on Van Halen's website in May 2002. In 2002, Warner Bros. dropped Van Halen, after working with them since 1978.

Eddie's only live performances during this period was joining Mountain to play "Never in My Life" in August 2002, and a private audience jam at NAMM January 2003. (This took place at the Peavey booth. At the time, Peavey was authorized to manufacture Eddie's signature "Wolfgang" model guitar. Word quickly spread through the NAMM show that Eddie was to play at the Peavey booth and the booth became packed. Eddie showed up late and drunk. When he finally appeared, he was incoherent. Peavey founder and CEO, Hartley Peavey, was furious. Shortly after this, Peavey lost its license to produce the "official" Van Halen guitar and Fender, which had purchased Charvel-Jackson, was awarded the license, but the guitar produced was a copy of Eddie's earlier Strat-style guitars, available in three models: white with black stripes, red white and black and yellow on black).

In the summer of 2002, David Lee Roth and Sammy Hagar teamed up in the Song For Song, the Heavyweight Champs of Rock and Roll tour (also known as the 'Sans-Halen' or 'Sam & Dave' Tour). It drew very large crowds. In an interview, Roth contrasted his personality with Hagar's, saying "He's the kind of guy you go out with to split a bottle with a friend. I'm the kind of guy you go out with if you want to split your friend with a bottle." Michael Anthony guested with Hagar's band numerous times, The Waboritas, and sometimes even sang lead vocals. He never played with Roth. Gary Cherone appeared on occasion. Hagar released a live album (Hallelujah), featuring vocals by Mike and Gary, and a documentary DVD, Long Road to Cabo, about touring with Roth. Next, Hagar joined with Journey guitarist Neal Schon to form a side project, Planet Us. Along with Michael Anthony and Deen Castronovo (also of Journey) on drums. The band only recorded two songs and played live a few times before dissolving when Hagar and Anthony rejoined Van Halen.

Also in this period, rumours that Anthony had been fired cropped up - despite his name being included in messages 'from the band' on their website. His official website denied the rumours, though it was later revealed that on the Van Halen III album Anthony only recorded three tracks, and subsequently his position became tenuous (it relied on Hagar's demands that he remain in 2004). In 2006 his departure was confirmed.

Reunion with Hagar (2004 - 2005)

Van Halen during their 2004 reunion period, left to right: Alex Van Halen, Michael Anthony, Sammy Hagar, Eddie Van HalenDuring January 2003, the VHND (Van Halen News Desk) website reported a rumour that Sammy Hagar was secretly working with the Van Halens. No official confirmation came for a long time. In late March 2004, Van Halen and Sammy Hagar announced that Hagar would reunite with the band for a Greatest Hits album release and a Summer concert tour of the USA.

In July 2004, Van Halen released their second Greatest Hits compilation (a double album, unlike the first), featuring three new songs with Hagar: "It's About Time", "Up For Breakfast", and "Learning to See". These songs were newly written specifically for the compilation album by the band, though it would later be revealed Anthony had no role in their writing (despite being credited) and that Eddie Van Halen, not Anthony played bass. Though it was the only new album since the band's first Greatest Hits, no songs with Gary Cherone from Van Halen III were included. It was certified platinum in the USA in August 2004.

The summer tour grossed almost $55 million, and Pollstar listed Van Halen in the top 10 grossing tours of 2004. Most of the concerts received positive feedback from professional reviewers. On some shows, Eddie's son Wolfgang came onstage and played guitar with his father during 316 a song dedicated to his son Wolfgang, taking it's name from his birthday. However, serious problems surfaced. It was also revealed in Rolling Stone magazine that promoters had lost money on the tour. Many fans complained that tickets were overpriced (sometimes exceeding $200 for the best views), and few shows were actually sold out.

Reports from the first half of the tour were largely positive. Later however, there were stories of Eddie being drunk and playing poorly also circulated, particularly later in the tour. The most widely reported alcohol-related performance issue occurred during the band's first night in Chicago at the United Center when Eddie, staggering about, repeatedly tripped on his guitar cable, causing his guitar to become unplugged eighteen times. As a result, towards the middle of the set, Hagar asked Eddie's guitar tech to come onstage and follow Ed around to keep re-plugging the guitar. Also notable was Eddie stopping in the middle of his Eruption solo, lying down on stage and telling the audience in a slurred voice, "I'm sorry folks, I done run outta gas." He lay there for several seconds before standing back up and continuing. At the end of the bands final show of the tour, in Tucson, Eddie smashed one of his guitars on stage and quickly walked off stage.

Second Departure of Hagar

After the tour Sammy Hagar and Michael Anthony admitted that Eddie Van Halen had problems with alcohol during the tour that affected everyone involved. Hagar stated that he was "done with Van Halen" and wished that everyone would have "taken it more seriously". Despite this, Eddie later described himself as 'satisfied' with the tour.

After the tour ended, Hagar returned to his solo band The Waboritas, and Anthony appeared with him on tour occasionally. The band began to break down after Hagar left again. In December 2005 Michael Anthony revealed in an interview with Mark & Brian that he hadn't talked with the Van Halens and was unsure of their plans.

Reunion with Roth (2006 - present)

Rumours of a David Lee Roth reunion re-emerged (as they did whenever the band lacked a singer) and on January 3, 2006, Roth explained during an interview that he spoke to Alex Van Halen the previous week and a reunion was "inevitable". However, he also said that Eddie Van Halen was "off in his own little world" recently.

Following this, the press frequently interviewed the band, though Van Halen avoided reunion discussions. When asked if any problems occurred with Sammy Hagar during the 2004 tour Eddie Van Halen answered "Sammy is Sammy, and for the most part that's just fine". There was no mention of a reunion with Roth but there was a sense of 'completeness' of work with Hagar.

Roth persisted with suggestions of a reunion, saying "People want the reunion." and "No one will pay respect to what any of us do [musically] until we get the reunion out of the way.".

Roth continued to refer to a reunion, and in late May 2006 told Billboard.com "There's contact between the two camps". On June 3rd Michael Anthony began a successful tour with Hagar. They toured as "The Other Half" (a reference of them being the 'other half' of Van Halen to the Van Halen brothers), with Anthony singing lead vocals sometimes. In what may be a response to this, reminding people Van Halen still existed, on June 19, the Van Halen brothers jumped onstage with Kenny Chesney at The Home Depot Center performing "Jump" and "You Really Got Me". This unusual performance was their first since 2004. This was followed by another Eddie Van Halen performance in July 19 2006, at the House of Petals in Los Angeles, playing new material. He followed this with an announcement on July 27 2006 that some of his new music would be released on the soundtrack for pornography film Sacred Sin. This would be the first recording by the band's leader since Best of Both Worlds.

Wolfgang Van Halen, the band's bassist as of 2006, in 2004 playing guitar on stage during Van Halen's tour.

Departure of Michael Anthony

Michael Anthony's recent treatment reached the public in March 2006. He spoke to Japanese rock magazine Burrn!, claiming the brothers did not want him on the 2004 reunion - Hagar did (and wouldn't play without Anthony), but he had to agree to be paid less. He wasn't involved in the new songs on Best of Both Worlds and only recorded three tracks for III.

On September 8, 2006 Howard Stern's Eddie Van Halen live interview broke the band's long silence. Eddie said he was willing to reunite with Roth, and revealed a solo album in the works. Michael Anthony's departure was confirmed, with Eddie's son Wolfgang taking his role. Wolfgang had played guitar alongside his father on some 2004 concerts. When queried about The Other Half tour, Eddie said Anthony could 'do what he wants' now. This shocked and offended many fans. With Roth and Eddie Van Halen both wanting a reunion and the bass slot filled the stage was set. On October 25 2006 Melodirock's website announced tour plans.

Hall of Fame Induction, Reunion tour planned and cancelled, Eddie goes into rehab

On October 30, 2006 Van Halen and R.E.M. led the ballot for induction into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame. Despite having been eligible for several years, the band had yet to be balloted. In November, Eddie's spokesperson Janie Liszewski claimed the Van Halen family were writing/rehearsing for a Summer 2007 tour. Subsequently the announcement was confirmed on Billboard magazine's website on November 9th. The Van Halen website however remained in the state it had been in since the Hagar reunion.

On December 11 2006 Eddie Van Halen stated to Guitar World magazine that David Lee Roth had been directly invited to rejoin the band. However, on December 28 Roth announced that he had not talked to Eddie in two years, and a reunion with Van Halen could result in a "NASCAR-style wreck," or "Jerry Springer style fight". He did not however, say if he would rejoin the band or not.

News from the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame finally slipped out on January 8, 2007. Van Halen were to be an inductee. Along with the Van Halen brothers, former members Anthony, Hagar and Roth were to be inducted. Billboard announced on January 24 2007 that Van Halen would reunite with David Lee Roth for a US tour. This was confirmed shortly on the official Van Halen website. The Van-Halen-News-Desk announced on February 15 2007 that a Van Halen "Best Of (1978-1984)", a single-disc compilation of Van Halen's David Lee Roth era, would be released by April 3rd. This was to coincide with the Hall of Fame induction and would feature exclusive content (liner notes, remastered songs etc).

In late February 2007, updates in response to reports arrived in a flood. First, on the 21 February Melodicrock.com stated "I am told that this postponement should be just that - a temporary situation that can be sorted so that the dates that had been arranged can be re-booked" and "Also, the VHND's own sources are telling us not to worry and that the tour is indeed going to happen." Two days later The Los Angeles Times reported a very different story. It claimed the tour was shut down as was the "Best Of (1978-1984)" CD. Meanwhile, Billboard.com's sources said that the reason to postpone the 2007 summer reunion tour indefinitely was not due to any internal strife between band members - a valid concern given the band's previous reunion attempts. Supposedly the tour would happen, but exactly when was unknown. No information on if rehearsals was mentioned, and the band's official website was not updated.

As the band's Hall of Fame induction drew nearer, media focus was more on that than the reunion. Velvet Revolver would induct them into the Hall of Fame, and speak on the band's behalf. No one knew who from Van Halen would appear, and if they would perform.

Eddie checks out of rehab

Eddie Van Halen in Guitar World in May 2007, after leaving rehab healthy and free of alcohol problemsOn March 8th, 2007 Eddie left a note on the official Van Halen website saying he has entered a rehabilitation center. "Some of the issues surrounding the 2007 Van Halen tour are within my ability to change and some are not". It has never been stated exactly what other issues might have gotten in the way of the reunion although Eddie's alcohol problem seems to have been a major one. "As far as my rehab is concerned, it is within my ability to change and change for the better". Whether or not the tour will proceed and the other issues can be resolved is unknown.

March 12, 2007: The band was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame at a ceremony at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York City. Michael Anthony and Sammy Hagar were the only inductees who showed up (ironically neither are in Van Halen anymore). Michael Anthony made a point of thanking the band's third singer, Gary Cherone, who was not inducted. Velvet Revolver played a song to represent the absent members of the band, which was followed by Anthony and Hagar playing "Why Can't This Be Love" with Paul Schaffer. Afterwards, at a press conference, Hagar said that he would love to work with Van Halen again. He also said that he hopes the band would do a "Dave reunion" with Roth first.

Along with the announcement on March 8th 2007, a further change was been made to the official Van Halen website. The logo at the top of the page changed to the original band logo. This encouraged the idea of the reunion occurring later in the future, as the band went back to their roots.

On Saturday, April 21 2007 Eddie Van Halen served as an Honorary Race Official for the SUBWAY Fresh Fit 500™ NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series race at PIR . He joined Sperber on the pre-race stage greeting drivers as they were introduced. In addition to duties as a Race Official, he unveiled a limited edition Fender Stratocaster as well as a limited edition EVH brand Frankenstein replica guitar for the race's winner. On May 24th Eddie posted a note to the Van Halen website confirming that he had exited rehab.

Influence on culture, music and business

The band's most successful period, 1979 - 1985[citation needed] influenced many hard rock musicians. Both their 1978 debut and 1984 albums sold over 10 million copies. Both are regarded as milestones in rock and roll music, with widely emulated innovations (The Van Halen track "Runnin' with the Devil" and 1984's "Jump" are listed as two of the top 500 most influential songs in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame). The Kinks had a commercial revival purely because Van Halen covered one of their songs. Every subsequent Van Halen album after their debut would breach the top 6 spot on the pop charts.

The Van Halen track "Everybody Wants Some" appears in the movie Better Off Dead. While Lane Meyer (John Cusack) works in a Burger restaurant wishing he were elsewhere, he imagines the food singing and dancing the popular track via claymation.

The Van Halen track "Eruption" showcased a solo technique called tapping, utilizing both left and right hands on the guitar neck (tapping also exists and did for a long time in its more traditional one-handed form, involving just hammer-ons and pull-offs). "Eruption" propelled Eddie Van Halen to popularity among guitarists (though infact tapping had existed prior to this).[citation needed] Before the release of the first album, Eddie hid his technique by playing solos with his back to the audience.

Eddie used a volume technique in the instrumental "Cathedral". He hammered notes on the fretboard with one hand while rolling the volume knob with the other. This altered the attack and decay of the notes so they mimicked the sound of keyboards. This "volume swells" sound was originally popularized by 70's progressive rock bands like Yes and Rush, but was usually performed with a volume pedal, at a slower pace. He did two takes, and the volume knob froze completely at the end of the second take due to the heat generated from rolling it on and off so frequently. "Cathedral" also employs an electronic delay, with the delay set at 400 milliseconds (ms) and the delayed note set at the same amplitude as the original note. Most of the composition's notes come from hammering on the notes of a major 5th string barre chord (ascending and then descending) and replicating this pattern up and down the neck of the guitar. The end result of this technique made the composition sound as if it is being played on a church organ - hence, the song title.

Van Halen also introduced the guitar world to the band's signature "Brown sound," a nickname given to the sonic result of Eddie's guitar/amp combination and technique. With Templeman's warm production, Van Halen produced a distinctive and popular tone.

The second incarnation of Van Halen also saw broadened use of the Van Halen brand, as they expanded their reach into other media, with high-production films, live concert footage, and even their own cantina in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. If David Lee Roth's innovative, over-the-top style turned Van Halen from a member of the hard rock pack to its leader, Hagar's more conservative 'working man' persona turned Van Halen into a franchise and an icon. Each of the four studio albums released during the Hagar era reached number 1 on the Billboard 200 charts.

Van Halen pioneered the way for the modern "Rock and Roll Show" with their extensive use of the concert technical contract rider. Although contract riders had existed before, Van Halen's use of them to specify their "wish list" (production, transportation, personal requirements etc.) was new and established a standard practice that is now used routinely throughout the music industry. As one of the first major bands with a full stage show to appear in smaller cities, Van Halen had an extensive set of technical requirements including power availability and stage construction details that a venue had to comply with. Many venues in these markets had not previously dealt large-scale shows, and were not equipped to handle the massive stage and light show, sometimes resulting in damage to band equipment and the venue, once nearly killing a roadie. The band's demands were not limited to technical issues: their infamous contract rider specified that a bowl of M&M candies, with all of the brown ones removed, was to be available in the band's dressing room. According to David Lee Roth (from his autobiography, Crazy from the Heat), this was not due to an antipathy for brown chocolate candy, but was listed with the technical portion of the contract to check up on whether the venue and technical staff were correctly reading and honouring the technical and safety provisions in the contract. On arrival, if brown M&M's were found in the dressing room, then the band had reason to believe other parts of the contract were also not being fulfilled, and subsequently, every line of the contract was to be double-checked, to ensure safety prior to and during the show.

Influential American punk trio The Minutemen recorded a 40-second cover version of "Ain't Talkin' 'Bout Love" for their landmark double album Double Nickels on the Dime (only the third verse, a guitar solo and the "hey, hey, hey!" outro were used) - an irony considering that, according to Roth, the song originated as an affectionate parody of punk rock when it was first written.

Rapper Tone Loc used uncredited samples from Van Halen's "Jamie's Cryin'" extensively on his hit "Wild Thing," but was not sued by the band; in Alex Van Halen's words, "It was 1987, who knew?" 2 Live Crew later sampled the riff of "Ain't Talkin' 'Bout Love" for their song "The Fuck Shop" on their infamous 1989 album As Nasty As They Wanna Be. Dance music act Apollo 440 sampled the guitar intro from "Ain't Talkin' 'Bout Love" for their 1997 single entitled "Ain't Talkin' 'Bout Dub".

Eddie Van Halen is also ranked #70 on Rolling Stone Magazine's list of 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time. The solo in "Eruption" was also voted #2 on Guitar World magazine's 100 Greatest Guitar Solos.

Despite the band's clear and important influence on rock music, both collectively and, in the case of Eddie Van Halen and the first two vocalists, as individuals their fame has fallen away greatly since the mid 90s. Following Hagar's departure in 1996, the band received press attention about the controversy of his exit from the band. Since then, a poor selling album/tour (Van Halen III) with vocalist Gary Cherone, no public activity at all, and an overpriced (and thus, largely unaffordable), non-profitable reunion tour with Hagar in which Eddie Van Halen's sobriety was questionable throughout. In 2006, the band's long-time bassist Michael Anthony was forced from the band. With all the disagreements between Eddie and his vocalists, with Alex quietly backing up his brother, Anthony was often seen as the voice of reason within the band.

Their arrangement of the song "You Really Got Me" (performed by other artists) was featured in Guitar Hero II.

(Credit Wikipeadia)

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