Van Halen has made it to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Let the battle begin.
The list of inductees for the 2007 class is impressive : R.E.M., Patti Smith, Van Halen, The Ronettes, and Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five.
There are some great names in that list, and some timeless recordings from them. Van Halen, on multiple levels, is the most fun. I bet VH-1 is kicking themselves for allowing this year to be the year their contract to televise the ceremony lapses . The spectacle that could ensue, when three of the most runaway egos in the history of rock collide, could be a thing of legends.
For those of you who don't know the story, Van Halen became one of the premier hard rock bands of the '80s mostly due to the showmanship of frontman David Lee Roth and the guitar acrobatics of Eddie Van Halen. After several successful albums and tours, culminating in the landmark 1984, David Lee Roth left the band and was replaced by Sammy Hagar. Much silly squabbling, name-calling, and acrimony followed — and that was just among the legions of Van Halen fans who debated the merits of the respective lineups ad nauseum.
Of course, there was a lot of sniping between the two camps. Sam and Ed took numerous shots at Dave, and Dave frequently fired back. In fact, legend has it Van Halen named their album OU812 (Oh, you ate one, too) in response to Roth's Eat 'Em and Smile. Classy.
Sammy's run in Van Halen was likely every bit as commercially successful, despite some fan bitching, and perhaps exceeded Dave's run in the minds of some critics. Everything seemed hunky dory in Camp Van Halen during the Hagar regime until it all came crashing down and Sammy either quit or was fired. Not to be outdone, Sammy and Eddie made sure the bickering that had gone on when Roth left the band was nothing compared to the infantile nonsense that occurred following Sam's ouster.