Sammy Hagar Says He Made Van Halen ‘Better’

Scott Dudelson/Getty Images

Van Halen became a better band when Sammy Hagar replaced David Lee Roth in 1985.

At least that’s according to Hagar, who’d been an established artist for a decade prior to becoming the group’s lead singer.

“I had more experience under my belt when I joined Van Halen in 1985 than they had,” Hagar says. “They’d been together for seven years making records. I had been around for 10 years before that. I knew how to sing, I knew what Eddie Van Halen was playing, I knew which keys things were in, and the arrangement of the music. Eddie really got off on that, because he never had a musical partner with Dave.”

After being fired from the band in 1996, Hagar returned for a brief run eight years later – but the band failed to recapture the magic of Hagar’s first stint.

“The 2004 reunion was a mess,” Hagar says. “We never got back to that beginning that I loved so much.”

Despite the “mess” Hagar still believes he made the band better.


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