|With inventive guitar work, a distinct pop-heavy metal sound and unmatched showmanship, Van Halen paved the future of rock in the late 1970s and has continued to redefine the genre to the present day. Bursting forth with a vibrant West Coast sound, the band has produced timeless singles such as “Jump,” “Panama,” “I’ll Wait,” “Runnin’ with the Devil” and “You Really Got Me.” Though Van Halen has seen some lineup changes through the years, the group remains renowned for its iconic live performances. Buy your Van Halen tickets now to see one of hard rock’s most legendary acts!
Rise to fame
Born in Nijmegen, Netherlands, brothers Eddie and Alex Van Halen started creating music together at a young age, and it wasn’t long before they gained popularity. Playing under a variety of different band names, the brothers soon picked up David Lee Roth on lead vocals and Michael Anthony to play bass. With Eddie on lead guitar and Alex on the drums, the band adopted the moniker Van Halen and became a staple on the club circuit in Southern California.
Kiss legend Gene Simmons helped the band record a demo in hopes of Van Halen being signed to the same label, but his management told him Van Halen would never make it. A year later, Van Halen released its eponymous debut album, which peaked at No. 19 on the Billboard charts and immediately brought the band mainstream success. Van Halen achieved even more commercial acclaim by touring with Black Sabbath, showcasing Eddie’s famous finger-tapping and Roth’s onstage antics.
The road to becoming rock legends
In 1979, the release of Van Halen II brought the band even more recognition with the single “Dance the Night Away.” The band’s sound evolved with the album 1984, released the same year as its title. It earned Van Halen a Grammy nomination and is perhaps the band’s most successful album ever. However, this era also marked the peak of creative tension within the group. Roth exited Van Halen to pursue solo projects and was replaced by Sammy Hagar, who was already seeing lots of fame as a solo artist.
Over the following years, Van Halen released a handful of commercially successful albums with Hagar on vocals. During this time, the band toured tirelessly and emphasized songs written in the Hagar era. In 1993, the band released its first ever live album, dubbed Van Halen Live: Right Here, Right Now. By 1996, tensions had risen between Hagar and Eddie, ultimately culminating in Roth returning to Van Halen to record two new songs.
This reunion was short-lived, as Eddie fired Roth and replaced him with Gary Cherone for 1998’s Van Halen III. Yet, Cherone too was soon let go, and Van Halen’s lineup remained unsure moving into the new millennium. Eddie Van Halen battled cancer as rumors of reunions circulated. Eventually, Van Halen did return both to touring and the studio, with Roth on vocals and Eddie’s son Wolfgang taking Anthony’s place on bass. Van Halen released its first LP in 14 years, A Different Kind of Truth, in 2012.