Van Halen might be as famous for their drama as they are for their unapologetically hard rock. Although they had been told early in their career that were “too loud” or that they “wouldn’t go anywhere,” Van Halen stuck through and has become one of the most commercially successful bands in the history of rock. It was their larger-than-life attitudes that made them excellent showmen that also, at times, tore the band apart, as evidenced by the comings-and-goings of singers David Lee Roth and Sammy Hagar. Still, they have managed to get more #1 hit singles on the Billboard Mainstream Rock chart than any other band, and were inducted into the Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Fame in 2007.
The release of the band’s first album, Van Halen, in 1977 instantly rocketed the band into fame, but would only hint at the fame garnered with their later album, 1984. If Michael Jackson’s Thriller album hadn’t been sitting on the top of the charts, the album most likely would have shifted out of its #2 spot. Despite the success, the “David Lee Roth era” ended in 1984, and led into the “Sammy Hagar era” until 1996. The band then had ex-Extreme vocalist Gary Cherone for a few years, before taking a temporary hiatus from 1999-2003.
After series of brief reunions with both Hagar and Roth, Van Halen finally entered the studio with Roth for the first time since he re-entered the band, and February of 2012 gave us A Different Kind of Truth, their first new album in fourteen years. The album received positive reviews by critics, with many stating that it was a reminder of why Van Halen was, and still is, such an important band to rock music still today.