Our 10 Best Van Halen Songs With Sammy Hagar list presents ten of the best songs Van Halen released when Sammy Hagar was the group’s lead singer. When Sammy Hagar joined Van Halen in 1985 -86, the group’s sound change dramatically. Gone was the swagger of the David Lee Roth years and in came the more melodic musical pieces accompanied by more basic lyrical ideas. While so much has been made about the changes in musical direction that Sammy Hagar brought into the band because of his more extended vocal range, one can’t disregard how the subject matter also changed. As time went on, Sammy’s simple lyrics would cause some friction between himself and Eddie, but in the end it really was a trade-off because Eddie Van Halen had hired one of the greatest rock and roll singers of all time to be in this band. Just listen to Sammy Hagar sing today. He still sounds incredible.
It would have been cool if Van Halen ever got together and recorded an album both with David Lee Roth’s lyrics and attitude and Sammy Hagar’s incredible vocal range along with Michael Anthony whose great backing vocals played such a large role in the Van Halen sound. Yeah, we can only dream.
The Sammy Hagar years were so different from the David Lee Roth years. Here at classicrockhistory.com we really enjoyed both eras. I first saw Sammy Hagar open up for Boston in 1977. From that point on, I became a huge Sammy Hagar fan. When I found out that Sammy Hagar joined Van Halen, I was ecstatic. I loved every single record Sammy Hagar made with Van Halen. I also loved every single record David Lee Roth made with Van Halen. We just published our top 10 Van Halen Songs with David Lee Roth article so now it’s time to present the top 10 with Sammy Hagar. And of course like the David Lee Roth list, this won’t be easy.
Sammy Hagar and Van Halen released their first album together in 1986 entitled 5150. This album blew everyone’s minds. It was so good. No one could touch the group from a musical point at the time. You had the best singer in rock and roll teamed up with the best guitarist in rock. And of course, the rhythm section of Michael Anthony and Alex Van Halen were so in lock together on that record creating a sound that went nuclear. The group followed up their 5150 album with OU812 in 1988. Van Halen’s third album with Sammy Hagar was released in 1991 entitled For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge. This one was heavier than the first two Van Halen albums released with Sammy Hagar. It one of our favorite Van Halen records of all time.
The final studio album released with Sammy Hagar was issued in 1995 entitled Balance. In 2004, Sammy Hagar re-joined Van Halen for a brief period of time and recorded three new songs with the group that were released on the greatest hits compilation called The Best of Both Worlds.There was also the live album release entitled Live: Right Here, Right Now. And that’s all Van Halen released with Sammy Hagar as their front man.
The next set of Van Halen Songs with Sammy Hagar are ten of our favorites. They are also ten of the best recordings these four musicians ever made together. Of course there are so many more, but we limit these lists to ten because that’s what we do!
# 10 – Dreams
We open up our 10 Best Van Halen Songs With Sammy Hagar list with a big Sammy Hagar Van Halen song entitled “Dreams.” The song was released on the album entitled 5150. The album would hit number one on the US Billboard Top 200 albums charts making it Van Halen’s first number one album.”Dreams,” was the second single released from the album. This was a soaring rock and roll piece that had an amazing melody and a spectacular vocal performance by Sammy Hagar. Sammy hits the highest note of his career on this one. The lyrics were simple but they fit the piece perfectly and it worked. Eddie Van Halen continued with the addition of keyboards that were featured on the 1984 album. Hey this was the 80s and everybody used keyboards on everything. The album was released in 1986.
# 9 – Finish What Ya Started
Continuing with our 10 Best Van Halen Songs With Sammy Hagar list we take a listen to the great song entitled “Finish What Ya Started.” This one defined one of our favorite Van Halen grooves we ever heard. The guitar work at the beginning of the song is just extraordinary. There is a sense of funk in this one that we rarely heard from Van Halen. The sound of the recording is also tremendous. The song was released on the album entitled OU812. The album was released in 1988. It was the first single released from the album. The song was a hit on the US Billboard Hot 100 peaking at number thirteen.
# 8 – When It’s Love
In the number eight spot on our 10 Best Van Halen Songs With Sammy Hagar list we present the song entitled “When It’s Love.” This was Van Halen’s second highest charting song with Sammy Hagar. It wasn’t as sweet as “Dreams,” but it did have some sugar poured on the chorus. The song was released on the album entitled OU812. It was the second single released from the album. The song was a hit on the US Billboard Hot 100 peaking at number five. “When It’s Love.” would hit number one on the US Billboard Rock Tracks.
# 7 – Humans Being
In the number seven position on our 10 Best Van Halen Songs With Sammy Hagar list is the song entitled “Humans Being.” The song was released on the soundtrack album to the great motion picture Twister. This is such a fantastic song. It’s almost sort of a preview of the style of music that Sammy Hagar delivered with his band Chickenfoot many years later. Nonetheless, this was a wonderful new Van Halen song released in 1997 that was only released on the Twister soundtrack and Van Halen’s greatest hits compilation.
# 6 – Cabo Wabo
Landing in the number six spot on our 10 Best Van Halen Songs With Sammy Hagar list we present the song “Cabo Wabo.” This one has a nasty groove that Alex just stares you down with. It really seems like Alex Van Halen was enjoying himself during the Sammy Hagar years from a musical standpoint. You can hear it in his playing. “Cabo Wabo,” has such a jubilant chorus that just says it’s time to party baby. The song was released on the 1988 album entitled OU812.The album was released in 1988. It was the first single released from the album. The song was a hit on the US Billboard Mainstream Rock Tracks charts peaking at number thirty one.
# 5 – Why Can’t This Be Love
At the halfway point on our 10 Best Van Halen Songs With Sammy Hagar list is the high-spirited song entitled “Why Can’t This Be Love.” This was the first single that the Sammy Hagar version of Van Halen ever released. They found their groove immediately with this killer track. This was an amazing blend of rock and roll meets pop meets commercial success. It’s what Sammy was doing with his solo career in the early 80s when he had some really big hits on his own. This sounds nothing like the Van Halen version with David Lee Roth. And that’s why a lot of old school Van Halen fans did not like it. But we did.
# 4 -Amsterdam
At the number four spot on our 10 Best Van Halen Songs With Sammy Hagar list we present the song entitled “Amsterdam.” This is where Sammy Hagar got his David Lee Roth attitude happening. Holy smokes listen to that scream from Sammy on the opening note. Have you ever been to Amsterdam? Well if you have, you will understand this song so much better because it’s one of the craziest places you can travel to. Eddie plays a monster solo on this one. It will spin your head in circles it’s so good. The song was released on the album entitled Balance. The album was released in 1995. It was the fifth single released from the album.
# 3 – Poundcake
Van Halen’s album entitled For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge was a bit like the band’s album Fair Warning There were some similarities between the two records in how the band got heavy at a different times with two different lead singers. It’s like Eddie got tired of the top 40 style stuff and wanted to rock harder at both points in his career. The For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge album was released in 1991. The song “Poundcake,” was the album’s opening track. This was a heavy dose of Van Halen that we just never get tired of listening too. It’s one of the band’s most creative openings they ever recorded. Listen to the sound of that snare drum. Yeah baby!
# 2 – Get Up
This one goes to Alex Van Halen because his performance on this one should have won a million music awards. Lord is this one hot on every single level. Listen to these guys play. When Sammy Hagar and Michael Anthony scream “Get Up,” in the chorus in perfect rock and roll harmony, your rock and roll heart explodes in one of the happiest moments it ever experienced. Yeah baby that’s what I’m talking about. “Get Up,” was released on the album entitled 5150. It was never released as a single, it would have gave too many people heart attacks. It was the third track on the album.
# 1 – Right Now
We close out our top 10 10 Best Van Halen Songs With Sammy Hagar list with the piano dominating song “Right Now.” Eddie Van Halen’s classical piano training shines clear on this one. Ask any piano player and they will tell you that the piano riff that opens and resonates through the song is a pretty challenging riff to play. Nice job Eddie. However, it wasn’t just the piano riff that made us choose this tune as the number one Sammy Hagar Van Halen song. It’s simply just a extraordinary brilliant piece of music in which the band shines their best ever on. Sammy lyrics are spot on and his vocals as always are just phenomenal. Eddie is stunning as so are Michael and Alex. The band hit it’s musical peak on this song. They delivered big time to their fans and the rest of the world in giving us one of the greatest songs the group ever released.
The song “Right Now,” was released on the album entitled For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge. The album was released in 1991. It was the third single released from the album. The song was a hit on the US Billboard Rock Tracks charts peaking at number fifty five. The song also won Video of the Year on the MTV Awards.
Song compilation by Thomas Neokleous and Brian Kachejian ) The K&N Band
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