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Monday, January 30, 2006

David Lee Roth or Sammy Hagar?


The IPod liked Van Halen in my shuffle today, and it got me thinking about a debate I've had over the years with any Van Halen fan... which lead singer was the best? I'm not even going to include Gary Sherone, the last lead vocal who made one album with the band. I'm not sure who wasn't the right fit: Eddie Van Halen who seems clearly out of his mind anymore (God complex, anyone?), or Gary just not filling the shoes left by the last two incumbents.

So who is it for you?

I have a lot of thoughts on this, but in the end I have to admit my favorite choice is Sammy Hagar. I have seen them in concert 3 times: Once with David, twice with Sammy. David Lee Roth had a certain charisma on stage that I think was unmatched by any other concert I've ever seen; but I do feel Sammy Hagar is clearly the more musically and vocally talented of the two. My favorite Van Halen album is definitely 5150. Don't get me wrong - it's not as though DLR is without credit. They put out some very strong albums with him out front. I just think Sammy was better overall.

If I take into account their personalities now - David Lee Roth's publicity stunts (not once but twice) by claiming he was rejoining the band are disappointing. He still hasn't realized he's going bald! I do feel for him, trying to fill Howard Stern's shoes. That's got to be a lot of pressure, but he may just be crazy enough to do it.

Sammy Hagar is the guy you want as your neighbor. The one always holding the block party, right? Every interview I've seen with him leaves me thinking he's probably a pretty decent, down to earth guy. He seems pretty drama-free, and I like that. Besides, his career clearly did not end with his departure from the band (nor did the band make him). That speaks for itself.

Most people I ask choose David Lee Roth. So tell me how you see it!?


Fred said...

My vote is for Sammy. I never liked David very much, there was an aura about him that just didn't sit right with me. I think he cheapened the band.

And, my prediction is that he'll be gone from the airwaves within a year. I don't think he can pull it off.

Matt said...

I like Diamond Dave. Vocally Sammy was better, but Dave definately had more fun, and that counts for something.

Bar Bar A said...

Man...this is tough and I have debated it with my sister for years. I have to go with DLR. I LOVE Sammy and saw him in concert when he was solo and known as "The Red Rocker"- the dude kicked some serious ass and even had his red Trans Am on stage with him.

But DLR kind of defines Van Halen for me. He was arrogant but pulled it off. AND THE WAY HE MOVED - HELLO! They were the first long hair band that made it big and stayed big. They were/are different. Plus DLR touched my hand once (sigh) because I was in the front row. (sigh, sigh, sigh).

You are right though - Sammy is more talented and I'd choose to have him as a neighbor over DLR any day! Gary Sherone - I'm impressed you mention him most people forget all about him.


Teri said...

It is David Lee Roth for my choice. I just think because to me he was the original.

RT said...

I would have to say David Lee Roth. Not only was he more entertaining (as well as talented,) he defined the band. Sammy was OK, but he gave away too much to Eddie... Who clearly wasn't up to the task.

An80sNut said...

This is actually one of my favorite questions. It goes back to the "Can someone really fill someone else's shoes in a band and better them?" question I've pondered often.

I actually think that the two eras have a definitive line drawn between them stylistically. David is emotive, energetic and flamboyant while Sammy is soulful, strong and passionate. I do think that David was an amazing frontman. I also think that the band found roots and melody more with Sammy (hence a few more ballads in that era.)

So, usually, when I am forced to choose sides on this issue... I go with the versatile Sammy Hagar. I think he took them to that next plateau in songwriting and style.

Ken said...

I'll admit that when I think of Van Halen, I think of David Lee Roth. However, when I take a step back and think about it objectively, I like the music with Sammy Hagar much better.

JJ said...

Oooo excellent debate! I've been over and over this one in my own mind and I just can't decude which is my fave. I know, I know...but I'm that person who just wants everyone to get along...even when those people occupy my own mind. LOL Too close to call, imho.

Bar Bar A said...

This is a great conversation...I came back cause I had to see if Martin had a comment :)

LoraLoo said...

Fred: I do agree, I don't think DLR will make it in radio... at least not filling Howard Stern's shoes. Perhaps he should do the hair band station on Sirius radio.

Matt: Dave did have a lot of fun, I'll give you that. But Sammy gave us Cabo tequila, doesn't that say something?

Barbara: Sammy does a Ford commercial for a local dealership - he's in one of those GT40's. He looks good, but I'd look better in it. :) Gary Sherone is actually talented, but obviously not for Van Halen.

Teri: True, the DLR era was a whole different Van Halen. "1984" was the album that introduced me to metal.

rt: Tell me how Sammy gave too much to Eddie? I am not sure what happened there.

Martin: I knew you'd like this question. :) I agree with your definition of their styles, and that Sammy took them to the next level.

Ken: Sammy's version of Van Halen was simply different - and I agree, it was better!

jj: It's cool, just buy your favorite albums from both eras and everyone's royalty checks are happy. :)

New White Keds said...

I tend to agree with, surprise, Ken. When I think of Van Halen, I think of DLR. BUT, I much prefer the solo work of Sammy, thus indicating I prefer his vocal talent. Hmmm... It is a true toss up.

Nik said...

Although I love both, I gotta go with Sammy all the way! If for no other reason than those were some pretty big shoes to fill and he stepped up and did a great job. Sammy's voice is awesome and he just seems like the kinda guy you could kick back, have some drinks, and have a good time with.
I gotta say too that it's too cool to see more people on Sammy's side. Most people think I'm loony for preferring VanHagar-- but I can't help it, they just sound better to me.

LoraLoo said...

Amy: What a surprise, you agree with Ken. :)

Nik: Exactly! Yes! I am also jazzed to see some more of us out there, Van Hagar fans. :)

mackeydoodle said...

OMG....Sammy all the way!!!!! Dave is a fag!!!

LoraLoo said...

mackeydoodle: High-five! Sammy rocks!

Writeprocrastinator said...

I've seen both without Van Halen and I enjoyed DLR three times as much. To be fair, Sammy was kind of limited with the music he was doing with Neal Schon of Journey.

Still, I grew up with Dave and Dave is my preferred version of Van Halen. Van Hagar was good, but as a group they never had the harder edge and were too safe. Hell, my father listened to them.

From a sentimental stand-point, the DLR Van Halen wins hands down.

I also speak from experience when I say that if your neighbors insist on starting an audio war, "Eruption" coupled with "You Really Got Me" or "I'm On Fire" will bring them to their knees.

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