March 26, 2009
Samuel Roy Hagar was born on Oct. 13, 1947 in Monterey, CA. Sammy’s dad was a professional boxer who held the title in the bantamweight division in the 1940’s. In his younger years, Sammy had planned on following in his father’s footsteps and he took up boxing—until the call of rock and roll seduced him. After performing with several different bands, he joined guitarist Ronnie Montrose and became the lead singer for Montrose in 1972. Their first album, self-titled “Montrose,” was released in 1973, followed by “Paper Money,” in 1974. Some of the most notable songs from these albums were: “Bad Motor Scooter,” “Rock Candy,” “Space Station #5” and “Rock the Nation.”
From there, Sammy went solo. His album “Nine on a Ten Scale” was released in 1976, with Bill Church on bass and Denny Carmassi on drums.
Sammy continued to build a name for himself in the world of rock music as he tirelessly cranked out one album after the other and enthusiastically toured to share his love of the game.
Some of his best known songs from this era are: “I’ll Fall in Love Again,” “There’s Only One Way to Rock,” “Remember the Heroes” and “Your Love is Driving Me Crazy,” along with what would come to be known as his mantra: “I Can’t Drive 55.”
During that time, his song “Red” earned him the nickname “The Red Rocker.”
A short tour with HSAS (Hagar, Schon, Aaronson and Shrieve), featuring Journey’s guitarist Neal Schon, along with Michael Shrieve on drums and Kenny Aaronson on bass, produced one album, “Through the Fire,” released in 1984.
In 1985, legendary guitarist Eddie Van Halen contacted Sammy for a jam session. It went so well that Sammy ended up replacing Van Halen’s departing lead singer, David Lee Roth. The band featured Eddie Van Halen on lead guitar, his brother Alex on drums, Michael Anthony on bass and Sammy on lead vocals. Although fans and critics were skeptical that Hagar could carry such a heavy-hitting rock band, in 1986, the newly-formed Van Halen proved themselves a volcanic force in the world of rock music as their first album, “5150” went to number one.
After more than 10 years together, things between the players began to go sour. Sammy and the Van Halen brothers went their separate ways.
Ever the entertainer, Sammy went on to create his own band with his friend, drummer David Lauser, who had been working with Sammy on his solo projects since 1981. The band also included guitarist Victor Johnson, formerly of The Bus Boys (who kicks ass, by the way), Jesse Harms on keyboards and Mona on bass. Calling themselves The Waboritas, they later became known simply as The Wabos.
Between performing and recording with The Wabos, in 2004, Sammy also did a short-lived reunion tour with Van Halen and in 2007, Eddie Van Halen, Alex Van Halen, David Lee Roth, Michael Anthony and Sammy Hagar were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Sammy and Mikey were the only members present at the ceremony to personally receive the honors.
Sammy’s most recent album, “Cosmic Universal Fashion” was released in 2008.
In June 2009, the supergroup Chickenfoot is poised to release their debut album. With Sammy as frontman, the band boasts guitar virtuoso Joe Satriani, ex-Van Halen bassist Michael Anthony and Red Hot Chili Peppers’ drummer Chad Smith.
To date, Sammy has sold more than 60 million records worldwide.
Sources: www.redrocker.com, www.billboard.com