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Sammy Hagar

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After a brief career as a boxer in the footsteps of his father, Sammy became interested in the burgeoning Southern California music scene, Hagar began singing in the late '60s, performing with various California bands including Skinny, The Fabulous Catillas, Justice Brothers, and Dust Cloud.

Former Edgar Winter guitarist Ronnie Montrose asked Hagar to join his band, Montrose, in 1973. Hagar recorded two albums with Montrose before going solo in 1976, taking the group's bassist, Bill Church. Montrose's drummer Denny Carmassi later joined Hagar's band, along with keyboardist Geoff Workman. Hagar's self-titled Sammy Hagar was his first chart entry; it eventually went gold. In 1979, he created a new supporting band featuring Workman, Church, guitarist Gary Pihl, and drummer Chuck Ruff. This lineup played on Hagar's most popular solo album, 1981's platinum Standing Hampton, plus 1982's gold Three Lock Box with only one member missing -- drummer Ruff was replaced by David Lauser. After Three Lock Box and its number thirteen hit single "Your Love is Driving Me Crazy", Hagar played several shows with guitarist Neal Schon, bassist Kenny Aaronson, and drummer Mike Shrieve; the group recorded a live album under the name HSAS, as well as a studio version of Procol Harum's "A Whiter Shade of Pale". His 1984 album VOA contained the hit single "I Can't Drive 55", which peaked at Number 26.

Hagar commenced a solo recording and touring career to increasing success, enjoying hits such as "Red", "Heavy Metal", "Three Lock Box", and perhaps his best known song, "I Can't Drive 55", a gripe against the (now-repealed) federally-imposed speed limit of 55 miles per hour on all U.S. highways. After departing ways with vocalist David Lee Roth, Eddie and Alex Van Halen looked to their music contacts for a vocalist who could rise above the shadow created by the flamboyant Roth. Riding upon their previous contact with Hagar from a previous tour, they hired Hagar to fill the opening. With Hagar at the front, Van Halen produced four multi-platinum albums:  5150, OU812, For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge, and Balance as well as many Number One hits. Yet, trouble in paradise ensued after Hagar's dispute with manager Bruce Fairbairn of Balance, and Hagar was fired from the band after a dispute with Edward Van Halen over the forthcoming Best of Volume 1, featuring tracks with Roth.

Determined to prove Eddie Van Halen wrong, Hagar went to produce five new records since departing ways with Van Halen in 1998. After the successful "Heavyweights of Roc"" tour co-headlined with David Lee Roth, Hagar started the slow process of making mends with his former Van Halen bandmates, reconstructing the bridges which had burned five years previously. In early 2004, Van Halen with Sammy Hagar was announced to the general public, culminating with a highly anticipated summer tour and a second Best of album.

The entire incident became a media sensation, ensuring that Hagar's 1997 solo album Marching to Mars -- his first in ten years -- would be greeted with much media-generated fanfare. It sold surprisingly well, peaking in the Top 20 and re-establishing Hagar as a viable solo act. With a backing band called The Waboritas in tow (consisting of guitarist Vic Johnson, keyboardist Jesse Harms, bassist Mona, and drummer David Lauser), Hagar followed the success with Red Voodoo two years later; it too sold very respectably on the strength of the single, "Mas Tequila", just missing the Top 20. Hagar's resurgence continued in the new Millennium with 2000's Ten 13 and 2002's Not 4 Sale.

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