Recently, I came across the torrent for “Balance” – a Van halen album from the mid-90’s Hagar region. This album was one of my favorites, and it brought an entire plethora of memories from my teenage years when i really liked and listened to alot of Van Halen.
This got me thinking… Which lead singer of Van Halen is the best? I almost titled this thread as “Roth v. Hagar”, because in all seriousness, who can even compare Gary Cherone to either of them? He was a short lived wonder and an overall bad thing to happen to the entire music industry.
So that leaves David Lee Roth and Samuel James Hagar. For me, this decision comes quickly and easily. Sammy Hagar was a much better frontman for VanHalen than Dave R. was. For me, Hagar is a better singer, songwriter, frontman, and entire persona. Obviously, Roth was the first, so he has his group of loyalist who think anybody else is garbage… But the truth is that the band is completely different with these two singers. With Roth, the songs always seemed to be sexual in nature… Either that or drugs/drinking/overall partying.
With Hagar, Van Halen’s songs take on a depth. They don’t have meaningless lyrics about wanting to have relations with your teacher. They are real, heartfelt… the songs have an emotional side that Roth’s just don’t. Obviously there are exceptions on both sides to this argument (Jump, Poundcake..etc.) but the general consensus i believe to be accurate.
Other things to consider…
- Roth’s Jumping splits
- Roth’s “spandex”
- Hagar’s Perm
- Tornadoes (only enfuego and vanbergs will get that reference)
- Eddie VanHalen
Regardless of the frontman, Eddie VanHalen is probably the best guitarist of all time… It’s hard to even consider somebody who is more of an innovator. I don’t usually like instrumental music very much… but some of the instrumental songs by Eddie VH are amazing. (Eruption and Baluchitherium for example.) Digress, the debate is not Eddie VanHalen… Who was a better frontman for VanHalen… Roth or Hagar??