VAN HALEN FACTS:
Members: Eddie Van Halen, Alex Van Halen, David Lee Roth, Wolfgang Van Halen
Hometown: Pasadena, CA
Genre: Hard Rock
Awards: One Grammy, 4 MTV Music Awards
Albums: Van Halen, Van Halen II, Women and Children First, Fair Warning, Diver Down, 1984
Hits: “Runnin’ with the Devil,” “(Oh) Pretty Woman,” “Jump,” “Panama,” “Why Can’t This Be Love,” Black and Blue”
Van Halen was one of the most successful rock bands of the 1980s and gained legions of dedicated fans that follow them to this day. When the rock music scene lost much of its steam in the late 1970s, Van Halen's exuberant energy and soaring guitar riffs made them one of the pioneers of what is now called arena rock. The band has gone through various lineups over the years, but the incendiary guitar skills of Eddie Van Halen and the smooth vocals of frontman David Lee Roth made the group legendary. Van Halen has more No. 1 hits on the Billboard Mainstream Rock chart than any band in history and is widely considered one of the top American acts of all time.
The group was actually discovered by Kiss frontman, Gene Simmons, who saw them at a Los Angeles club and personally financed their demo tape. After being signed to Warner Brothers records, the group released its self-titled debut album in 1978. The album reached No. 19 on the charts and featured the band's cover of the Kinks classic, "You Really Got Me," and "Running With the Devil."
After a series of platinum albums, Van Halen made a serious move onto the pop charts with the album, 1984. The album peaked at No. 2 on the Billboard 200 and gave the band its first No. 1 single, "Jump." Combining a catchy synthesizer with the band's fast-paced style, the track is still considered one of the best pop songs of all time.
After David Lee Roth left the band in 1985, the group quickly hired Sammy Hagar to be the front man. While critics were initially skeptical about the quick change, the band surprised everyone with three multiplatinum albums in a row. The records, 5150 and OU812, were the group's first No. 1 albums and sold extremely well throughout the United States.
After the end of the Sammy Hagar era in 1996, the group went through varying lineups and hinted at reunion tours throughout the late '90s and 2000s. In 2007, the group performed for its induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and then went on to tour for the first time in years. With a world tour planned for 2012 and the group's first album in 14 years, Van Halen looks to finally return to the top of the rock and roll world.