Van Halen:: Roth or Hagar


Over the weekend I found myself involved with the age old question concerning what was better – Roth era VH or Hagar era.   Let me start by saying while its all a matter of personal opinion there would surely be no Van Halen without Eddie.  Having said that, I prefer the Roth stuff, but I do appreciate the Hagar era as well. With the Roth material especially, this was a time before Rock ‘n’ Roll began to doubt itself and if there were any implications of insecurity in song, it was always insecurity overcome.  While they both liked their leg kicks, David went higher with his patented spread eagle and also took the crown for most flamboyant (see his outfits in the videos). They were both all about the ladies, the party, good times, and late nights, but Roth was sleazier and wasn’t talking about love, while Sammy talked a lot about love. Still Roth did find himself caught on the barbs of amour as he himself noted with lines like – “A man needs love to live, I’m the livin’ proof” on ‘So This Is Love’ from the 1981 album, Fair Warning.  Also of note is that with Hagar VH got a second guitar player and during this period we hear more keyboards. Nothing solved here, I know. Perhaps we can say the Hagar era was a slightly more mature and evolved take on things, whereas the Roth stuff was generally more sensory and wrapped up in the naughty frills of the temporal. Either way, they both look like they were having a lot of fun during their tenures.

Always one more, you’re never satisfied, though be prepared for some volume changes.

Ain’t Talkin’ ‘Bout Love (David)

5150 (Sammy)

Unchained (David)

Summer Nights (Sammy)

Jamies Cryin (David)

Best Of Both Worlds (Sammy)

Running With The Devil (David)

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