Born in Monterey, California, Sammy was the son of a well known prize fighter, and was supposedly persuaded by Elvis Presley not to follow in his fathers footsteps, but to pursue a career as a singer. He spent several years singing in bar bands in the California area, before joining up in 1973 with session musician Ronnie Montrose to form Montrose. Montrose had previously worked with The Edgar Winter Group and Van Morrison, and had been trying to put a band together for many months. By all accounts it was the strength of Sammy's original material which clinched his place in the band. It was Sammy's composition "Bad Motor Scooter" which stood out on their self titled titled debut album. Sammy recorded the follow up album "Paper Money", but his progress was being stifled by Montrose, and in 1975 he quit the band. He immediately secured a solo deal with Capitol, who released the debut solo album "Nine On A Ten Scale".
By 1977 Sammy had put together a band which comprised almost entirely of former Montrose members, and he started to earn the reputation of one of the finest support acts in the States, opening for the likes of ELO, Kiss and Boston. They came to Abbey Road studios, London, in 1977 to record "Sammy Hagar" sometimes referred to as "The Red Album".
- One question about this album has never been answered...
- Were promo copies pressed up on red vinyl ??
As a teenager I have recollections of a competition in "Sounds" where the prize was a copy of the album on red vinyl. I have never seen one or spoken to anyone who has. If you have a copy of Capitol EST11599 and it is on red vinyl please, please let me know.
In 1981 Sammy signed a new deal with Geffen, and almost overnight became a headline act. Albums sales hit platinum status and the hit singles started to flow. Then in 1985, at the height of his popularity Sammy stunned the rock world when he turned his back on a solo career to join Van Halen as David Lee Roth's replacement.
- Sammy cut four studio albums - 5150, OU812, For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge, Balance and a live album, Live: Right Here Right Now before leaving Van Halen to return solo. Whether Sammy was sacked or left of his own accord is not known.
- A "Best of" double released in 2004 included four new Van Halen tracks featuring Sammy.
- In June 2009 a new album hit the racks by "Chickenfoot"
- This is a new band featuring Sammy, Michael Anthony, Chad Smith (Drummer - Red Hot Chilli Peppers) and Joe Satriani.
- They have been getting rave reviews for their warm up shows and have the credentials to be one of the biggest rock bands for ages. The band played a one off U.K. gig at the The Shepherds Bush Empire Thursday 25th June 2009, and I was there. A fantastic gig, culminating in Chad Smith trashing his kit, and throwing his tom tom in the air. Unfortunately Sammy walked straight into it..... ouch !!
- They played most of the album, and for the encore "Bad Motor Scooter" originally performed by Sammy in "Montrose" and "Highway Star" by Deep Purple.
|Sammy Hagar Ticket 1982|
|ARE THERE ANY RED VINYL PROMO COPIES OUT THERE ???|
In 2011 Sammy's book "Red" hit the shelves. It's a good read, and only took me a week to get through. Considering it can take me months to read a book that tells you something.
The book covers Sammy's life, from growing up in California, his musical career from the Justice Brothers playing in bars and clubs, making a name for himself in Montrose, going solo, Van Halen and back to solo, and his latest band Chickenfoot.
The Cabo Wabo Cantina and Cabo Wabo Tequilla businesses are also covered, so its a good all round book.
Great stories about the Sam and Dave (Lee Roth) tour, how they hated each other, but the tour made a fortune.
What went on when Sammy left Van Halen is what all fans wanted to know. The answer is lots of things contributed to that, and to me it seemed that Eddie and Alex Van Halen had been scheming behind Sammys back to get him out for a long time. Sammy slates the VH brothers but still ends up loving them dudes !