In 1984, Van Halen were one of the biggest bands on Earth. By 1985, they were on the verge of breaking up, as vocalist David Lee Roth left to pursue a solo career and try his luck in Hollywood. After a couple asks that went nowhere, they settled on former Montrose vocalist Sammy Hagar as Roth’s replacement. Replacing a vocalist, especially one with the stature of Roth, is always a dicey proposition, but did Van Halen make it work? Come explore their 1986 album 5150!
It’s time for the SHOW NOTES!
0:00: Intro and Theme Song
0:22: About me and the podcast.
0:41: Introducing our band: Van Halen!
0:55: The mythology of Van Halen’s INSTANT MASSIVE SUCCESS!!
1:16: The reality is it wasn’t quite that simple.
1:57: But when they did break, they broke big.
2:11: Why? Their singer. Also their guitar player.
2:23: The origins of Eddie Van Halen’s two-hand tapping guitar technique.
2:44: Van Halen sustain their success until 1984…
2:59: A digression into the inspiration for this episode’s intro.
3:43: HEY BROSSENTIA! Van Halen are about to run into trouble!
4:13: Specifically, now they don’t have a singer!
4:19: Ah, the first-album-with-a-new-singer. The classic Divisive Album!
4:52: Who could replace David Lee Roth? Patty Smyth?
5:14: Or how about DARYL HALL?
5:46: No, they went with Sammy Hagar instead!
6:06: Which didn’t exactly surprise Hagar. Hagar was a confident man.
6:16: There were positive signs when they demoed some new material…
6:27: Introducing this episode’s album: 1986’s 5150!
7:03: The opening of “Good Enough”, the album’s opener.
7:15: The chorus of “Good Enough”, and some discussion of the song.
7:51: A third excerpt from “Good Enough”, and discussion of this spoken-word section.
8:17: This monologue is more light-hearted than Roth’s tended to be.
8:28: Introducing the album’s first single: “Why Can’t This Be Love”
8:40: The start of “Why Can’t This Be Love”.
9:05: Discussion of the 80s keyboard-oriented smoothness of this song.
9:31: Maybe the worst lyric we’ve ever heard on this podcast, and discussion thereof.
10:03: Let’s hear it again, but this time listen to the drums!
10:16: Those electronic toms sound…a little out of place with everything else.
11:09: Of course, 1986’s popular consensus disagreed with my nitpicking.
11:20: An excerpt from and discussion of “Get Up”, song number 3 on 5150.
12:13: Introducing the second single from the album, and playing an excerpt from it.
12:47: Another excerpt from the song….
13:08: Which is obviously called….”Dreams”.
13:29: An excerpt from near the end of “Dreams”.
14:04: Discussion of the last segment of the song.
14:50: “Dreams” was a hit too, but it had a B-side….
15:01: …which was “Inside”, the album’s closer.
15:07: An excerpt from “Inside”.
15:34: What I’d actually make The Divisive Albums Podcast given a do-over.
16:19: Discussing what the band were going for with “Inside”, which was….
17:09: Did you guess “Making fun of their previous singer”? You’re right!
17:16: Turns out Roth and Van Halen were not BFFs after Roth’s departure.
17:34: Another excerpt from “Inside”
18:06: Introducing the third single from the album, “Love Walks In”
18:40: Discussing “Love Walks In”‘s chart performance, and what it portended for the band.
19:03: How’d 5150 do? It did well!
19:30: Like “Van Halen’s first #1 album” well!
19:47: Like “Crushing David Lee Roth’s competing solo album” well!
20:03: What happened after that, and Where Are They Now?
20:55: Final Thoughts
21:20: Outro and Social Media. Twitter, Website, Discord, Patreon, The Music For Two Podcast, E-Mail
Also, thanks to MercuryZelda for becoming a Patron!
The Classic Rock interview/retrospective I mentioned
A Rolling Stone interview where Sammy Hagar looks back on 5150<
Sammy Hagar’s Live from Daryl’s House appearance. The discussion about Daryl potentially joining Van Halen and the “Eddie’s funky” line come about 33 minutes in.