From their original existence to 1985 Van Halen rocked arenas around the world and changed rock and roll with its unique sound fueled by Eddie Van Halen’s finger tapping guitar technique and David Lee Roth’s hard edged vocals. Their 1978 debut album is considered one of the most original sounds, ever-changing rock and roll as we knew it.

“Eruption” gave guitar players fits, “Running with the Devil” is the ultimate “we sold our souls” anthem, and the final album with this lineup “1984” rocked!

In 1985 David Lee Roth left the band and was replaced by the “Red Rocker” Sammy Hagar who was already known for fronting the band Montrose and his work as a solo artist. The nucleus of the band remained with Eddie’s guitar (and the addition of his keyboard) along with brother Alex Van Halen on Drums and bassist Michael Anthony, but Sammy’s vocals created a much more pop friendly sound that gave the band new success on commercial radio.

Personally I prefer the original Van Halen (and that’s not a slam on Sammy), the band was much more motivated and hungry for success in the late 70’s and early 80’s. They sounded like nothing I’d ever heard before.

When it comes to the version I refer to as “Van Hagar” I think the band needed Sammy much more that he needed them.

Sammy Hagar is a great singer and guitar player, while Diamond Dave is really nothing without Van Halen, still I like Van Halen better.