Why Sammy Hagar’s Standing Hampton Album Was A Turning Point

Standing Hampton Album Review

Feature Photo: TDC Photography / Shutterstock

Sammy Hagar released his legendary album Standing Hampton in 1982. The album was a true turning point in Sammy Hagar’s solo career. It’s actually correct to call it a solo career because Sammy Hagar was indeed the lead singer of the band Montrose about seven or eight years earlier. Of course, Standing Hampton was not Sammy Hagar’s first album, it was his sixth studio album. Sammy Hagar released his first album titled nine Nine on a Ten Scale back in 1976. It was followed up by the classic red album in 1977 titled Sammy Hagar. It was that album that had him opening up for Boston when we first discovered the red rocker. We became huge fans right away and followed his career album by album.

After the great Red album which was just simply called Sammy Hagar, the red rocker followed up with three more albums that didn’t sell very well. Musical Chairs was released in 1977, Street Machine in 1979, and Danger Zone in 1980. None of the albums were heavily promoted by his record company at the time. Sadly, despite there being some really great rock and roll music on those records, Sammy Hagar had not yet had the hit solo single that would elevate him to mass culture success. Street Machine and Danger Zone had sort of a flat sound to them. They were pure and genuine, but they just were not commercial. Danger Zone even featured Neal Schon and Steve Perry from Journey on the album. Great record, great songs, but it didn’t have that big sound that was starting to shape the decade of the 80s. Capitol Records really failed to promote it. It was time for a change.

The change had come when Sammy Hagar signed with Geffen Records in 1982. Geffen Records was also a new label, so there was a hunger there from both artist and label to make things happen.  Sammy Hagar’s first album for the label would become the Standing Hampton album. The album would present a fresh sound for Sammy Hagar. While Gary Pihl and Bill Church were still on board in the band, Sammy Hagar hired a new drummer called David Lauser who would play a significant role in changing the sound of the band. Armed with a new drummer and a new label, Sammy Hagar seemed determined to take that next step into letting the world know he had one of the most powerful voices in rock and roll.

No matter how great a band can play, or a producer can produce, an album is only as good as the songs that are written for the record. In the case of Standing Hampton, Sammy Hagar had come up with some of the best written songs of his career. The Standing Hampton album opened with one of the best songs that Sammy Hagar had ever written. The album opener “I’ll Fall in Love Again” was defined by the perfect blend of pop music meet rock and roll. Sammy Hagar’s penchant for writing rocking melodies with a bit of sugar on top really starts with this song. Sammy Hagar fans loved it.

“I’ll Fall in Love Again” was the type of song that Sammy Hagar needed to find a bigger audience. Rock radio embraced the song as it hit number two on the Billboard Mainstream Rock charts. It would be the highest-charting song from the album on the Billboard Mainstream Rock charts. A few years later the song would also be placed in the motion picture Vision Quest which starred Mathew Modine and Linda Fiorentino, The album soundtrack was a huge seller because of the Madonna song “Crazy For You.” Regardless of chart success, Sammy Hagar had found a sound that defined his talents as a rock singer that could also appeal to a mass audience.

As successful as  “I’ll Fall in Love Again” would become, it would be the album’s second track that would become one of Sammy Hagar’s signature songs.  The roaring rocker “There’s Only One Way to Rock” would satisfy the old Sammy Hagar crowd while turning many more new heads. This was a great one. It’s one of the only Sammy Hagar songs that Van Halen used to play when Sammy Hagar became the band’s lead singer. It was fun listening to Eddie Van Halen play those guitar licks. Don’t miss the video below.

After opening the album with two amazing tracks, Sammy Hagar kept the house rocking with another sensational pop-rock nugget called “Baby’s On Fire.” A straight ahead rocker, the song was fueled by great guitar licks and killer vocals, and harmonies. This was just one of those great driving songs. In fact, the entire album was just a pure joy to listen to in the cassette deck cruising around with the windows down in the summer of 82.

While the album was loaded with so many great tracks, one of the strongest cuts was the inclusion of the track “Heavy Metal,” which was used in the 1981 animated film Heavy Metal. This one easily contained one of the all time great Sammy Hagar guitar licks. The song opened up the Heavy Metal Soundtrack album as well as being included on the Standing Hampton album in a slightly different version of the song.

Sammy Hagar’s album contained ten great cuts. The album contained nine originals with the only cover song being the album closer “Piece Of My Heart,” which had been made famous by Janis Joplin a little over ten years earlier. It seemed appropriate to close with a Janis Joplin number since there has always seemed to be a piece of Janis Joplin in Sammy Hagar’s vocal performances. He seems to have been inspired by her. How could any genuine rocker not be inspired by the passion of Janis Joplin?

Sammy Hagar’s Standing Hampton album was a breakthrough album by Sammy Hagar. It helped him achieve more commercial success, but also set the tone for his next series of albums in which he managed to merge pop sensibilities with passionate rock performances that helped him find a huge audience that still follows this true legendary rocker forty years later……

Why Sammy Hagar’s Standing Hampton Album Was A Turning Point article published on Classic RockHistory.com© 2022

Classicrockhistory.com claims ownership of all its original content and Intellectual property under United States Copyright laws and those of all other foreign countries. No one person, business, or organization is allowed to re-publish any of our original content anywhere on the web or in print without our permission. All photos used are either public domain creative commons photos or licensed officially from Shutterstock under license with ClassicRockHistory.com. All photo credits have been placed at end of the article.

DMCA.com Protection Status

Add Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Beach Boys Songs
Top 10 Beach Boys Songs
Haunting Songs In Rock Music
10 Most Haunting Songs In Rock Music
David Foster Songs
Top 10 David Foster Songs
Bruce Springsteen Songs
Top 10 Bruce Springsteen Songs Loved By His Older Fans
Stevie Nicks Albums
Top 10 Stevie Nicks Albums
Our Ten Most Listened To Albums Of All Time
Our Ten Most Listened To Albums Of All Time
Thin Lizzy Albums
Top 10 Thin Lizzy Albums
Sinead O’Connor Songs
10 Sinéad O’Connor Songs We Love The Most
Ronnie Montrose Remembered 2024 Tribute Concert Review
Ronnie Montrose Remembered 2024 Tribute Concert Review
The Forgotten Pioneer: Bob Welch's Role in Fleetwood Mac
The Forgotten Pioneer: Bob Welch’s Role in Fleetwood Mac
Billy Joel's new single
Billy Joel To Release Brand New Song On February 1st 2024
Heart Plays First Concert In Almost Five Years
Heart Plays First Concert In Almost Five Years
Tim Lefebvre: 10 Albums That Changed My Life
Tim Lefebvre: 10 Albums That Changed My Life
Jeff Pilson of Foreigner Interview
Jeff Pilson of Foreigner: The ClassicRockHistory.com Interview
Rival Sons Interview
Scott Holiday of Rival Sons: The ClassicRockHistory.com Interview
Scott Ward Interview
Scott Ward: The ClassicRockHistory.com Interview
Drake Albums
Complete List Of Drake Albums And Songs
Michael Jackson Albums
Complete List Of Michael Jackson Albums And Discography
Metallica Albums Discography
Complete List Of Metallica Albums And Songs Discography
Allman Brothers Band Albums And Songs
Complete List Of Allman Brothers Band Albums And Songs
Classic Rock Bands Still Together But Overdue For A New Album
Classic Rock Bands Still Together But Overdue For A New Album
When Glam Bands Went Grunge In The 1990s
When Glam Bands Went Grunge In The 1990s
25 Most Famous Female American Singers Now!
25 Most Famous Female American Singers Now!
The Grateful Dead's Keyboard Players
A Look Back At The Grateful Dead’s Keyboard Players
Led Zeppelin Compilation Albums
Complete List Of Led Zeppelin Compilation Albums And Songs
Foghat Night Shift Album Review
Why We Loved Foghat’s Night Shift Album
Red Hot Chili Peppers - Return of the Dream Canteen Album Review
Red Hot Chili Peppers: Return Of The Dream Canteen Album Review
The Chick Corea Elektric Band The Future Is Now' Album Review
The Chick Corea Elektric Band ‘The Future Is Now’ Album Review